BOSTON (AP) -The Milwaukee Bucks have apparently hired Detroit Pistons vice president John Hammond as their new general manager, and the news came from an unlikely source.
Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers revealed the secret before Friday night's game against Milwaukee. Told that the Bucks hadn't even made it official yet, Rivers said, ``It's official. So, let's make it official.''
Bucks spokesman Dan Smyczek said the team had nothing to announce. Coach Larry Krystkowiak said he hadn't heard the news, but that it wouldn't be a surprise to him.
``I was anticipating that something was going to happen pretty soon, but I hadn't heard any news at this point. Just trying to get a win,'' he said before the game.
Asked about reports that Hammond would be looking to bring in a veteran coach, Krystkowiak said, ``Until I hear those words from his mouth ... at that point, if that were true, I'd be disappointed.''
The 53-year-old Hammond has spent the last seven years as the No. 1 assistant to Pistons GM Joe Dumars as the team's vice president of basketball operations. Hammond also spent 10 years as a college coach and worked as an assistant in the NBA with the Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and Pistons.
``He's a great guy, he really knows the game,'' Rivers said. ``He coached the game and been upstairs - that's a great combination because he'll have feelings for coaches.
Asked if he had it on good authority, Rivers said, ``Someone relayed it to me.''
``I used to live in Milwaukee, you know,'' he said.
The Bucks were 26-52 heading into Friday night's game in Boston, clinching the third-worst record in the Eastern Conference. They let Larry Harris leave after he asked if his contract would be renewed at the end of the season.
Player personnel director Dave Babcock had been handling the day-to-day operations and draft preparation during the search for a replacement. The team's owner, Sen. Herb Kohl, said Babcock was not a candidate for the permanent job because he wanted someone who would take a fresh look.
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