Milwaukee Bucks: John Hammond’s departure affects the G-League team

Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

The Milwaukee Bucks G-League team still needs a name and a front office staff, and John Hammond leaving makes the second thing tricky.

Most if not all of the coverage on John Hammond’s sudden departure from the Milwaukee Bucks is focused on how close the move comes to the NBA Draft, and how quickly the Bucks need to replace Hammond in order to be prepared for the draft.

That’s a fair and valid angle to take, but there’s another team in the Milwaukee Bucks organization that needs even more roster construction than the Bucks–the Fox Valley G-League team still doesn’t have a head coach or general manager (or a name!) as far as anybody knows, and that team doesn’t have a single player on the roster yet.

The NBA business comes first, literally. The NBA Draft is June 22, meaning Milwaukee has less than a month to go there. The G-League expansion draft won’t take place until September, and the G-League Draft isn’t until October.

More from Bucks News

Still, there’s a lot of scouting that needs to be done on players before then, and that can’t start until the Bucks hire people to do it. Milwaukee was bringing in lots of fringe draftees for workouts, but those seem to have stopped since Hammond has left.

One possibility, although Bucks President of G-League Operations Steve Brandes didn’t seem to think it likely even before Hammond’s departure, was Justin Zanik serving as GM of the G-League team before eventually becoming GM of the Bucks NBA squad. 

Now that Zanik is a candidate to replace Hammond right now, it’s extremely unlikely he’ll be the guy to run the G-League team. The interesting question, then, is who will?

More from Behind the Buck Pass

Let’s say the Bucks wildest reported dreams come true, and they lure David Griffin to be their president of basketball operations while Zanik steps in as GM. Those two will likely have to find staff or, in Griff’s case, bring some with him–some of Hammond’s guys in the front office will likely end up in Orlando sooner or later.

In addition to gearing up for the NBA Draft and NBA free agency, the new front office also needs to figure out who’s going to coach and handle basketball decisions for the G-League team. Those decisions could’ve been being worked on right now, if not for the massive upheaval in Milwaukee at the moment.

The NBA offseason comes first, both chronologically and in importance, but there are several huge G-League questions that have to be addressed very soon. Hammond leaving when he did is going to push back Milwaukee’s ability to answer those questions, especially if the Bucks wait until after the NBA Finals to talk to Griffin.

Next: Podcast: John Hammond Emergency Episode

It would be strange to appoint anybody to a front office position without the big decision-maker around, whether that ends up being Griffin, Zanik or somebody else. This has always been an important summer for the Bucks, both on the NBA and G-League side, and now much of it will happen on the fly with a brand new front office.