Bucks new owners don’t take long to create a PR disaster

It’s July. The city of Milwaukee should be talking and celebrating about the Brewers and how great their season is having currently the most wins in all of baseball.

It also should be celebrating how Jabari Parker has NBA ready talent and looks like he genuinely wants to be here.

Parker news conference

Notice who is sitting next to Parker in the picture above last Friday June 27th. Larry Drew (now former Bucks coach) and John Hammond current GM or alleged “lame duck GM walking.”

 

As I spend time this week at home in Milwaukee, the talk is not even about the Brewers or Parker right now. It is about the new Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens and how they created a PR disaster not by hiring Jason Kidd but the way they went about it. This should be another shot in the arm for a franchise that really needs it. Instead it created much controversy and some concern for the long time future of this team in Milwaukee. Here is why from each perspective of the people involved in the deal:

Lasry/Edens

investors

This press conference today was a complete joke! You can see it here:

http://www.nba.com/bucks/release/bucks-complete-trade-nets-reach-agreement-kidd-become-head-coach

 

To basically admit that you contacted Jason Kidd’s agent and interviewed him for a coaching job that you did not have a vacancy for, before formally firing Larry Drew is not good “business” but shows how poor you go about doing your “business.”

These owners I know just became in charge of a professional sports franchise for the first time, however I would hope they would know how to handle decision making. The process was poor. This was briefly admitted in the news conference but not enough in my opinion. It basically was said as “my bad.”

A few days later Lasry was interviewing the coach of the Brooklyn Nets about coaching the Bucks. Never told current Bucks coach Larry Drew what he was doing. Never let GM John Hammond know what the plan is. A couple of days after that, the Bucks have a new coach.

http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24601953/report-bucks-ownership-for-totally-botching-drew-firing-kidd-hiring

My question to the new owners is this. The honeymoon is over apparently. Sure when you came onto the scene you created a buzz, said the right things, and gave a dying franchise some new life.

But how do you allow yourself to have Larry Drew and John Hammond introduce your new franchise player Jabari Parker while you are behind their backs, interviewing Jason Kidd?

Note: According to an interview on FSN Wisconsin Lasry said they met with Kidd as soon as last Thursday while the NBA Draft was happening!

The NBA basically says you have 3 years to have the finances and planning in place for a new arena.

http://www.cbssports.com/nba/eye-on-basketball/24536014/nba-can-buy-back-bucks-if-no-new-arena-construction-by-2017

 

You do not have time to create this PR disaster. You have to possibly ask the citizens of Milwaukee to spend taxes to help create revenue for a new arena. You also have to possibly lean on business leaders in the community to get funding to finance a new arena. Now with how you stabbed Larry Drew in the back, how do you gain the trust back of an already leery public about a new arena? Good Luck as I feel you damaged much of what you started building.

John Hammond

JHammond

So out of the press conference, we find out the new owners felt/were told the interview with Jason Kidd is “confidential” and then when you don’t know how to go about the business of negotiating a contract with Jason Kidd, you bring Hammond in.

I could feel the awkwardness John felt having to introduce a coach that he had no voice in choosing. (Notice how John in his talk in the beginning NEVER mentions Jason Kidd).

If I am John Hammond, I would quit. Anyone who thinks he is not a lame duck GM is fooling themselves. The question was asked if Jason Kidd wanted any part of a upper management or GM role and he did not directly respond.

John in this situation and in my opinion was set up to be the fall guy. He was forced to fire a coach he hired and forced to put the finishing touches on a deal for a coach he was not even informed was being interviewed until the last moment. How these new owners do “business” I guess.

Jason Kidd

dm_140630_nba_kidd_bucks_done

Kidd really said nothing in this press conference. It was scripted, not genuine, and left many with more questions than answers.

I think Kidd almost knew his days were numbered in Brooklyn so that he could be given a coaching job in Milwaukee cause he knows the new owners.

Kidd said the cliche things like trying to do a good job and getting good players and all. He also mentioned the words “business” several times. The most concerning thing is that he had nothing to say about the situation at hand.

Others feel the same way:

http://espn.go.com/nba/story/_/id/11168553/jason-kidd-milwaukee-bucks-puts-brooklyn-nets-rear-view

http://www.sbnation.com/nba/2014/7/2/5865001/jason-kidds-introductory-press-conference-was-strange

For the Bucks to remain in Milwaukee and possibly get a new arena before 2017, Kidd better hope he is a good coach and in a situation to bring a winner to the floor almost in the next 2 years. Sure winning cures all, but when this entire process was handled poorly from the start, you start out one step backwards before Kidd even has an opportunity to prove otherwise.

Maybe Kidd does not care and cares more that he got a better contract. Maybe the owners don’t care and this was their way of telling Milwaukee its our way or the highway. Maybe this is the plan all along to eventually get so many fans and potential tax payers for the new arena up in arms so that they/NBA do have reason to move the team….

Many what ifs which is not good. Lasry and Edens are only few months into the job of trying to create goodwill and rebuild a franchise lost between the Packers, Brewers, Badgers, and Golden Eagles….

I used to be a huge Bucks and NBA fan. The league to a degree and the team (and its former owner Herb Kohl) made me turn sour on what was once my 2nd favorite sport to follow besides baseball.

After this PR fiasco, instead of the optimism of building blocks in hopes for a new arena, there is more pessimism that it might be time to begin backing up the truck preparing the team to move. This all is debatable but judging by sports talk  some have the same feelings I do which includes die hard Bucks fans, casual Bucks fans, Wisconsin fans, and the media.

In either case, we shall find out soon enough…. For good or bad, whether you agree with me or not, NBA basketball is interesting again in Milwaukee. I just think it is for many of the wrong reasons.

 

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