It’s official: Milwaukee names Jon Horst new general manager

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When the Nuggets decided to promote Arturas Karnisovas to general manager to avoid losing him to the Bucks, it seemed destined that Milwaukee would promote from within to get their new GM.

They did that Friday, but not the guy originally thought to get the job. The name that came up early was Bucks assistant GM Justin Zanik, he interviewed for the job, but the three primary owners of the team could not reach a consensus. Zanik reportedly had the backing of coach Jason Kidd, but it wasn’t enough.

At some point, the focus shifted to Director of Basketball Operations Jon Horst. He wasn’t interviewed in the first round, nor was he one of the guys named as a finalist.

As had been expected since earlier in the day, Horst has been officially named the new Bucks general manager, the team announced Friday.

“Our No. 1 priority is building a championship-caliber organization and we believe Jon is the right person to be our General Manager,” said Bucks owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan said in a statement. “He has been an integral part of basketball operations for the last nine years, and has helped advise us on every major basketball decision since we purchased the team. Jon is very talented, capable, organized and someone we have leaned on for his strategic thinking and ability to execute our vision.

“I’m extremely grateful to our ownership group for their faith and trust in me,” Horst said. “Wes, Marc and Jamie have demonstrated a commitment to building a championship-caliber team, providing the necessary tools and resources, and I’m excited to execute their vision. In my new capacity, I’m looking forward to working with Jason Kidd and the coaching staff, along with our world-class performance team, to give our talented players the support they need to bring a championship to Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin.”

Horst will be working closely with head coach Jason Kidd, who has a lot of pull in the organization. Horst had more of a behind-the-scenes role in Milwaukee, but that is about to change. Can he do the job? Great question. The Bucks reportedly will try to hire a veteran personnel person to pair with Horst. It would be a surprise if Zanik stays in the organization.

The Bucks have one of the best young rosters in the league, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Bucks also have the No. 17 pick in next week. There is a lot of potential in Milwaukee, it just needs to be guided and added to.