Late Saturday night, NBA league sources told Adrian Wojnarowski that the Milwaukee Bucks have hired Justin Zanik as their assistant general manager.
Zanik, 41, has been an executive with the Utah Jazz since August of 2013, after spending over a decade as a successful player agent. He held a similar assistant role with Utah, and played crucial roles in developing the Jazz’s D-League equivalent, the Salt Lake City Stars, and in the recent NBA drafts. He is a 1998 graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in Economics.
Though it was initially reported that Zanik’s hire came with the agreement of him eventually becoming GM, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporter Charles Gardner tweeted that other sources had disputed that information:
Current Bucks GM John Hammond has a year left on his contract, and has been with the team since 2008, winning NBA Executive of the Year for the 2009-2010 season after the Bucks finished 46-36, their best finish since the 2000-2001 season. Since the start of the 2008-2009 season, the Bucks have a regular season record of 273-367 and have made the playoffs three times; they have been eliminated in the first round each time. The team has also had three main head coaches (Scott Skiles, Larry Drew and Jason Kidd) in just eight seasons.
Kidd has just one year left on his contract, but signs point to that contract being renewed after next season. In Wojnarowski’s report, he stated that league sources informed him the Kidd will be receiving a contract extension, but no specifics were mentioned.
As of late Monday night, it is still unclear as to whether or not Zanik’s contract included language dictating that he will eventually become “GM-in-waiting”. However, his skills will be aptly utilized in Milwaukee. For Utah, Zanik played a key role in both the 2014 and 2015 drafts, where the team selected Dante Exum, Rodney Hood and Trey Lyles. Additionally, he is known to be skilled in contract negotiation.