Sources: Bucks hiring Jazz's Justin Zanik as GM-in-waiting

Adrian Wojnarowski

The Milwaukee Bucks are hiring Utah Jazz executive Justin Zanik as the franchise's general manager-in-waiting, league sources told The Vertical.

Justin Zanik has worked as the Jazz's assistant general manager. (Getty Images)
Justin Zanik has worked as the Jazz's assistant general manager. (Getty Images)

Zanik, an assistant general manager with Utah, will join the Bucks with a similar job title – and an agreement that he will eventually become the successor to Milwaukee GM John Hammond, sources said.

Zanik has constructed a strong reputation within the league as a front-office executive and previously a player agent. Milwaukee was aggressive in pursuing him to eventually lead the franchise's basketball operations.

Hammond was part of the Bucks' ownership process that identified Zanik and recruited him to Milwaukee, league sources said.

A timetable on the succession plan is still unclear, sources said. Utah GM Dennis Lindsey was agreeable in letting Zanik make the move because the initial assistant GM role comes with the provision that Zanik will become the Bucks' top basketball executive, league sources said.

Zanik's hiring is another in a sequence of significant franchise moves that co-owners Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry have made since the $550 million purchase of the Bucks in 2014. The Bucks hired Jason Kidd as coach, and are working with the city and state to move into a new downtown arena.

The Bucks are moving toward a contract extension with Kidd as coach, league sources said.

Zanik's ascent has been rapid within the Jazz organization and the rest of the league. He joined the Jazz front office in the summer of 2013 after a nine-year run as a player agent with Andy Miller at ASM Sports. Zanik had been a player agent for 15 years. Zanik worked closely with Lindsey on player personnel – including the drafting of Rodney Hood and Dante Exum – and the hiring of Jazz coach Quin Snyder. Zanik oversaw the Jazz's NBA Development League affiliate, a project that Milwaukee is expected to undertake in the future.

Zanik, who has strong family ties to the Wisconsin area, will transition from the Jazz to the Bucks soon, league sources said. Zanik graduated from Northwestern University with an economics degree.

Hammond has been Milwaukee's GM since 2008, a tenure that has included three playoff appearances and his selection as the NBA's Executive of the Year in 2010. Hammond drafted franchise cornerstone Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Hammond's contract has one year remaining, sources said.

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