Milwaukee Bucks owner Wes Edens introduces Jon Horst as GM at press conference

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

The Milwaukee Bucks officially introduced Jon Horst as general manager at a press conference alongside one of the team’s owners Wes Edens.

After a lengthy search process, Jon Horst was announced as the Milwaukee Bucks’ new general manager on Friday. On Monday morning, members of the media assembled to see him officially introduced for his first press conference.

Head coach Jason Kidd, team president Peter Feigin, and players Thon Maker, Jabari Parker, Matthew Dellavedova, Rashad Vaughn and Gary Payton II were among those in attendance, as Horst and one of the team’s co-owners Wes Edens took to the stage.

Horst and Edens addressed a host of questions about what had been a confusing process from the outside, why Horst was seen as the best candidate for the job, the next steps in the team’s collective decision-making process, and much more.

Edens also addressed the future of Justin Zanik, a leading candidate for the job and the team’s assistant GM last season, by confirming he will no longer remain with the organization.

Let’s dive in and look at some of the key quotes from the press conference:

Edens on Hammond’s departure:

"“We went into the postseason not expecting to make a change in the front office. I was called by the Orlando Magic a couple of weeks ago, and they inquired about interviewing John Hammond for the job. I talked to Marc [Lasry] and to Jamie [Dinan], and our thought was that while we were not looking to have John leave us, at the same time we weren’t willing to make him a long-term offer, which was what he was looking for. I said, I don’t believe in conscriptive labor and so if you want to talk to these guys I wouldn’t hold it against you. And one thing led to another, and John got the job in Orlando, and we were in the general manager search business.”"

Edens on the search process:

"“We ran a very comprehensive search, hired a headhunting firm, brought in a lot of folks to talk to, and had a very high quality group of people show up. When we started the whole thing we talked about it and said we think this is the best GM job in basketball. You look at the team on the court, the personnel that’s in this room, the head coach, the organization of Peter [Feigin], you know, we’ve got a tremendous organization here. We expected to get a lot of folks interested, and pretty much everyone was interested.”"

Edens on the final decision to hire Jon Horst:

"“We were blessed to have some really good candidates. Justin [Zanik] obviously who we brought in last year did a fine job. I think he’s a terrific guy, he’s got all the skills necessary to be a general manager in the league, and so he was very much considered on this. At the end, there were a lot of folks surprised we picked Jon [Horst], but we were going through the process and said Jon was a GM of the future, and when we considered it all we said the future is kind of now. He’s ready for the job. He’s a very talented, very smart, young guy in this league, but again in our financial world a lot of responsibility comes to a lot of people very young, so we don’t hold that youth against him, and we think it’s a big benefit.”"

Horst on John Hammond:

"“One of my mentors in this business, maybe my greatest, is John Hammond. So I just want to take a chance to thank him publicly, as I wouldn’t be here without him today.”"

Horst to the fans:

"“To the fans of the Milwaukee Bucks, thank you for your support. You’re a tremendous fanbase, we’re doing amazing things here with the organization, and I promise you the best is yet to come.”"

Horst on his vision:

"“We plan to build and run an operation that’s built on trust, transparency and collective creativity. I truly believe that if we follow those core beliefs we’re going to have high levels of success.”"

Horst on the team’s contact with him about this position.

"“When John Hammond took the job in Orlando, Wes and Marc immediately contacted me and told me how much they trusted me, valued me and wanted me as a part of the organization. Didn’t talk specifically about that role and what the role would be, but I knew at that time that the opportunity to work for this team and ownership like them was going to benefit me.”"

Horst on the draft:

"“One of the many benefits of me being in this position now is that I’ve been working on the Milwaukee Bucks’ draft process for this draft for over a year. So we’re in a great spot in the draft, our team has spent tremendous hours preparing for the draft and preparing for free agency, and we’re going to get 17 right, we’re going to get 48 right, and we’re doing all our due diligence.”"

Edens on Justin Zanik’s future with the Bucks:

"“He won’t remain on. In a situation like this, where you have to pick one, we talked with Justin about the job afterwards but it’s an uncomfortable situation for him. He’s a very high quality professional, he’s a very talented guy, and so he’s going to move on and Jon is going to build this thing up.”"

Edens on how they decided Horst was the candidate to take the job, not Zanik:

"“It’s a complicated job that’s only gotten more complicated as the sport has gotten bigger. Really you’re not going to find any one person to fit all those qualifications. That would be Superman, and there’s no Superman here, including Jon, but you try to find the person you think is the best fit for the organization in total. I think that we’re blessed to have a number of very competent people in the organization, both in the business side with Peter [Feigin], on the basketball court with Jason [Kidd], in the sports science thing with Troy [Flanagan], the player development with Craig [Robinson], Rod Thorn who’s a legend of the league as an advisor to us. We’ve got a lot of different pieces we can actually put into place, so it’s really more about the village of how we’re going to be able to support somebody, and I think because we have so many quality people here, it allowed us to have the freedom to look at somebody a little bit younger and with a little less experience. Based with all of those things, we added them all up and that’s how we ended up with Jon as our GM.”"

Horst on building his staff:

"“The approach to that process is we’ve got a draft in a couple of days that’s pretty important, we’ve got free agency, and the staff we have in place are making tremendous inroads and progress on both of those things. We’re going to continue to work, and we’ll address the staff in the coming weeks. As Wes has mentioned, I’m going to utilize Peter [Feigin] and Craig [Robinson] and Troy. We have tremendous resources that have built teams and built staffs and I’m going to utilize those people, and we’re going to identify the biggest brains, the best people, the most talented people to support me and challenge me every day.”"

Edens on the surprise factor:

"“It may seem like a surprising outcome, I’ve heard that from a lot of people, but it was never really a surprise for us. We’d interviewed Jon a year ago when we brought in Justin for the assistant GM job, and he did really, really well in that whole process. I would say surprisingly well. We hadn’t had as much exposure to him at the time, but he came in as a candidate for that and did a terrific job. We brought in Justin, we thought that was the right decision, and it was, but I think that at the end of it all it was very much a consensual decision on the part of ownership.”"

Edens on Jason Kidd’s status during discussions with GM candidates:

"“The GM candidates we all talked to think the world of Jason, as do we, so there was never really a question about bringing in or looking for a different coach or whatever. We’re very happy with the job Jason did, we gave him a long-term extension last year and we’re delighted about that, and the results at the end of the day have been terrific. We’re a results-driven organization that needs to be all about process and culture, and by the way, the process and culture has a lot to do with your results so that’s not where it starts and it’s not where it finishes.”"

Edens on the process involved in hiring Horst:

"“You know, the guys in Philly like to talk about the process a lot. Me? I like to talk about the results. I feel really good about the results on this. I mean you can have your process, but process may look like it’s a little bit sloppy, but it’s the result that matters. We got the right man for the job and there’s not a lot of hand-wringing about what we could have done differently.”"

Edens on the reported disagreements between the ownership:

"“I think it’s a strength of the organization that we feel confident enough that we can ask people what their opinions are, and we don’t always have to agree. I think that’s just a part of it, sometimes you agree, sometimes you agree to disagree and you move on. At the end of the day the ownership was very united about this. We feel great about Jon, he’s a known quantity and that’s great. We had asked people to come out here and spend time in Milwaukee, because we really respected the opinions of the people here. I didn’t expect them all to say we agree with you, and they didn’t, and it was not so much that their were people that anyone was really negative on, it was more that people had personal favorites for one reason or another, and we talked about that and that’s a very positive process to go through.”"

Edens on the style of leadership and approach they take to decisions as an organization:

"“Given the talent we have in the organization, it would be crazy not to listen to people’s opinions about what to do, which is of course what we do. So we sit around talking about the draft, it’s not just the general manager sitting in his office by himself, it’s quite the opposite. There’s a lot of people involved in that, and as owners we’re involved because we care about it, you know, which is not to be mistaken for being basketball experts. We said when we bought the team we’d hire the best possible people to run it, we’d hold them accountable, we’d give them the resources to do their job, and we’d want to have lots of open conversations about it, which we have. I think as basketball fans, we’ve become more knowledgable fans in the last couple of years, but we’re not GMs.”"

Horst on Greg Monroe and Tony Snell‘s free agency outlook:

"“Tony’s a restricted free agent, and Tony is someone who we value highly within our organization. He’s a great fit with out roster and I think we’re a great fit with his skills and abilities. Greg is of tremendous value to our roster as well, and ultimately he has a decision to make and we’ll address that accordingly.”"

Next: Win In 6 Podcast #130: Jon Horst and the end of a bizarre GM search

Stick with us at Behind the Buck Pass, as a busy first week in the job continues for Jon Horst as GM, we’ll have plenty more analysis surrounding his appointment and this press conference.