Sources: Bucks down to three GM candidates

Adrian Wojnarowski
The Vertical

The Milwaukee Bucks have narrowed their search for a new general manager to three candidates, league sources told The Vertical.

Denver Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas, Atlanta Hawks ex-GM and current ownership adviser Wes Wilcox and Milwaukee assistant GM Justin Zanik have emerged after a round of interviews in New York this week, league sources said.

Karnisovas and Wilcox will travel to Milwaukee later this week for further meetings with Bucks officials, league sources said.

Zanik has been running the Bucks’ pre-draft process since the departure of GM John Hammond to the Orlando Magic. Karnisovas and Wilcox will be working to overcome the strong internal staff support for Zanik, but ultimately co-owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens will play the key roles in making the hire, league sources said.

Zanik has been the Bucks’ assistant GM since 2016, joining Milwaukee after three years as assistant GM with the Utah Jazz. As part of the Jazz’s front office, Zanik worked with GM Dennis Lindsey on the hiring of coach Quin Snyder and the drafting of Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood and Dante Exum. Zanik was a longtime player agent before being hired in Utah.

Wilcox replaced Danny Ferry as Hawks GM in 2015 and was part of a front office that resurrected the franchise to a 60-victory season and berth in the Eastern Conference finals that same year. Under Wilcox and president/coach Mike Budenholzer, the Hawks won 48 and 43 games the past two seasons, replenishing the roster with young players and significant assets moving forward, including 11 draft picks over the next three years.

Karnisovas was a finalist for the Brooklyn Nets GM job a year ago, but was a runner-up to Sean Marks. Karnisovas, a two-time Olympic medalist for Lithuania, has moved up rapidly in the NBA, including stops in the league office, Houston and now under GM Tim Connelly in Denver.

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