Bucks extend John Hammond through 2016-17

The Milwaukee Bucks announced today that John Hammond’s contract through the 2016-17 season. Per Bucks PR:

The Milwaukee Bucks have extended the contract of General Manager John Hammond, the team announced today. The agreement will keep Hammond in his position with the Bucks through the 2016-17 season.

“A great deal of our team’s success and progress is due to the vision and hard work of John,” said Wes Edens, Bucks owner. “He’s assembled a talented and competitive roster and we’re very pleased that he will continue to lead basketball operations. With John and Coach Kidd at the helm, our young team has a very bright future.”

The news could surprise some and come as predictable to others.

First, the surprise aspect of it. There were rumors a few months back that Hammond and the Bucks were unlikely to remain together over the long haul. The rumors were spurred in large part by a report on OnMilwaukee.com that Hammond was going to be fired this summer. Of course, that never came to pass. But the whole concept didn’t seem absurd. When Jason Kidd arrived in Milwaukee, he came with rumors that he was seeking more control in Brooklyn before he lost a power struggle. He’s consistently denied any of those rumors, but most of the players acquired by the Bucks since Kidd arrived had some connection to either Kidd or his agent, Jeff Schwartz. Certainly, I’ve speculated openly about who was truly managing the acquisitions in Milwaukee. They all seemed too coincidental to me.

But coincidences are possible. As is collaboration. Ruling out the possibility that Hammond and Kidd are working together to put together the best roster than can would be foolish. Maybe Kidd has some influence, and Hammond has the final decision. Whatever system is in place right now seems to be working. Milwaukee far out-performed expectations last season and made a big splash in free agency this past summer when it acquired Greg Monroe. Hammond hasn’t had a load of difficult decisions to face since the new owners arrived. But snagging Jabari Parker and Monroe on the heels of his very successful Brandon Jennings for Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton trade surely have made him a guy that’s tough to get rid of.

Too tough to get rid of. Hammond has certainly made his mistakes over the years, and even in what’s been a largely uneventful off-season, he’s made a couple of minor moves that raised some eyebrows, but he’s been good about pushing the team in the direction ownership has wanted it to go over the years. It’s tough to blame him too much for some of the problems that plagued the Bucks as the Herb Kohl era wound down, just as it’s a little tough to credit him too much for the current mini-resurgence under Kidd. He seems to just do his job, which can be a useful way to go about one’s business.

So onward the Bucks will march, with Hammond, Kidd and the new ownership group all publically in lock step.

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