“Right Now”: John Hammond on what John Hammond will do

When? “Right now.” As of this minute. Generally, it could mean “this morning” or “until after lunch.” More loosely, “right now” could mean today, this weekend or this week. Next month is pushing it, especially if, like me, you’re a long sufferinig Bucks fan.

New Bucks GM John Hammond said “right now” quite a lot last weekend in his first interviews in Milwaukee. As he begins to diagnose the causes of what appears to be one of the worst cases of bad chemistry in Milwaukee sports history, Hammond’s “right nows” could very well change day to day, hour to hour. 

Right now, as of this minute, he could very well be on the phone with Larry Brown, trying to find out what Bucks players Brown would still want around when, if hired to coach the Bucks, Brown’s inevitable wanderlust kicks in and he’s ready to move on. Or discussing with former Pistons and Pacers coach Rick Carlisle which Bucks he’d like on his side in a brawl with an arena full of beerthrowing fans. “I can make Yi Jianlian mean,” Carlisle promises, doing his best Clint Eastwood squint. (As it turned out, Hammond was on the phone with Scot Skiles).

What we do know is that “right now” John Hammond thinks it’s “unfair” to say whether or not our Bucks, the team that Slickless Larry built, could be a playoff team. This was asked by Doug Russell of Sports Radio 1250 WSSP, part of the podcast interview that you can hear for yourself on the sportsbubbler main page. The Bucks? Playoff potential?

“Well, I think right now, it would be unfair to say that, because then I think you’re taking probably unfair shots at the players and the coaches, and I wouldn’t do that,” Hammond said. “Maybe there are a number of circumstances. … There could be more than one. Injuries have occured within this team that are major factors for any team that plays within a tough, 82-game NBA schedule. I don’t know if you want to say [there is playoff potential], but I do think there are pieces here that you can put a playoff team on the floor.”

Right now, Hammond sees a team with problems that he’s “not sure there is a simple answer to.”

Krystowiak’s future? ESPN had him fired a month ago when the senator dismissed Larry Harris. “Sources” said Kohl wanted a more experienced coach, after three young coaches in five years. How about Larry Brown? He’s one of the oldest coaches out there! And he wants a job – even went so far as to contact the Bulls (through a third party) about their vacancy after this season. JS columnist Michael Hunt is already wishing Krystkowiak well.

Many of us have read the Marc Stein story (ESPN again) in which “sources” expect Hammond to push for Rick Carlisle as his new coach, building on those other “sources” who said Kohl wants to shut down his young coaches program. Nevermind that in all likelihood Herb gave full basketball decision making authority to Hammond as he lured Hammond away from the Pistons. The owner may no longer be calling the shots. ESPN never was.

What does Hammond say about Krystowiak’s future? “Premature” to say. “Unfair to say, right now.” Too early to set a timetable for a definitive decision, even to say a month from right now.

That’s no ringing endorsement for Krystkowiak by any means but, right now, who’s to say? If Hammond can’t find the right coach (I’m not convinced Brown or Carlisle would be the right coach), or if Krystkowiak makes a strong case that other major moves are necessary, Krystkowiak could keep his job. Not likely, but not impossible. Right now, Hammond isn’t saying. (He was waiting until the season ended before handing Larry K the pink slip).

At Hammonds introduction to Milwaukee at a Saturday press conference a reporter asked if Hammond would consider Michael Redd a “cornerstone” of the franchise.

“I think you have to, right now.”

Right now.

The reporter follow up and ask about tomorrow, next week or next season.

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