Report: Pistons denied permission to talk to Bucks GM Jon Horst for vacant prez role

Detroit Bad Boys

Things have been quiet on the Detroit Pistons’ search for a new president of basketball operations. That is partially due to the designated search firm doing a lot of work behind the scenes and some of the prospective candidates for the role were still in the playoffs.

The Milwaukee Bucks were unceremoniously eliminated in round one, and Jon Horst, their GM since 2017, is thought to be the leading candidate for the Pistons. While that might be the case, a new report indicates that the team has denied Detroit permission to talk to Horst about the president role.

Horst, a Michigan native, got his start in the executive suite as a member of the Pistons in the early 2000s. It would provide a job with expanded powers and be a homecoming personally and professionally.

The report on the Bucks’ denial comes from longtime Wisconsin-based sports reporter Gary Woelfel. He posted:

“Barring an unexpected development, Jon Horst will remain the Bucks general manager.

“Sources told me the Detroit Pistons have been denied permission to talk to Horst about their newly created president of basketball operations position.

“Sources said Horst has had more than a passing interest in the Pistons job.

“Horst is a native of Sandusky, Mich. who worked for the Pistons before joining the Bucks in 2008. He has been the Bucks GM since 2017.”

We can unpack the message in a bit, but we also have to do a bit of introspection on the messenger. Woelfel likely does have sources within the Bucks, so I don’t want to dismiss any of this out of hand. But he’s also not a regular reporter for the Bucks and hasn’t been for several years. He’s also prone to have gotten some things wrong in the past. You can search his name on Reddit or ask our friends over at Brew Hoop what they think of Woelfel’s reporting chops.

Now, let’s get to the actual report. Yes, the Pistons definitely did need to ask permission to speak to Horst about the position because Horst is under contract for two more seasons following this one, according to The Athletic. Typically, you don’t deny permission for a job that would ostensibly be a promotion, but I guess the line between president and general manager is fuzzy enough that it gives the Bucks the ability to say no.

I also find it interesting that Woelfel’s report explicitly states, “Horst has had more than a passing interest in the Pistons job.”

It makes sense that Horst might be looking for a new gig. The Bucks are old and getting older. There were also previous reports of Horst’s influence waning in the face of a superstar who threw his weight around Adrian Griffin over Horst’s preferred Nick Nurse as a Mike Budenholzer replacement and then got overruled again as he preferred Kenny Atkinson as a Griffin replacement but instead went with Doc Rivers, another personality unafraid to throw his weight around.

It’s great to be the GM who built a contending team around Giannis and delivered a championship. Less desirable is being the captain of a sinking ship and facing the prospect of potentially owning a trade of Giannis to a contender (though I think everyone hopes he is a lifer in Milwaukee).

If the Pistons are forced to move on from a potential Horst pursuit, the other candidates who have been mentioned are not bereft of experience. We have heard names like Dennis Lindsey, formerly of the Utah Jazz, Tim Connelly, should he opt out of his Minnesota Timberwolves contract amid ownership drama, Scott Perry, a man with Pistons connections most recently with the New York Knicks, and JJ Redick, who looks interested in jumping ship from ace media personality into either a coach or executive role in the NBA.

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