The Milwaukee Bucks enter an off-season of uncertainty following their first round playoff loss to the Miami Heat in four games on Sunday. Every aspect of the team from coaching staff to the roster will be under close consideration from general manager John Hammond and owner Herb Kohl. Even the Bucks future in Milwaukee is likely to be discussed.
Talks will be frank and honest. The team's playoff run this year was seen as more of a fluke of the numbers than anything else, as the Bucks were the worst team on paper to have made the postseason in over a decade. A losing record, few consistent stand-out starters, lackluster coaching from interim head coach Jim Boylan, just four wins in their last sixteen games, and their first loss-by-sweep in a playoff series since the 1980s. Those factors, and more, concluded with the obvious realization that, despite their presence in the playoffs, the 2013 Milwaukee Bucks were not a caliber of team that could have, nor should have, won a title.
Let's see what's first for Hammond and Kohl. A recent bid to relocate the Sacramento Kings to Washington was not approved by the league's relocation committee just this past week, and, while no such debate is scheduled for the Bucks, it has experts talking. A Vermont sports law professor spoke to the NBA TV network about the subject, and stated that he sees the delayed nature of discussions regarding a new arena in Milwaukee as the main driver for calls for relocation. Kohl maintains that negotiations for a new venue continue to progress, and more importantly said the former senator, that he would deny any offer to buy the team if it meant moving them from Milwaukee. But, while few argue Kohl's promise to not move the team, others such as Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce president Tim Sheehy still question the necessity of building a brand new arena. Sheehy told reporters over the weekend that he isn't against the project, but that he wants to take a cautious approach before spending millions of possible tax-payer dollars.
On the organizational side of things, the Bucks will also need to work out some personnel questions. Boylan, who took over at the helm after the unexpected dismissal of former head coach Scott Skiles mid-season, finished his inaugural year with a sub-.500 22-and-28 record. It was his first top-job since the 2007 season when he similarly took over a Bulls team that had suddenly found itself without leadership. Chicago chose not to renew their relationship with the 58 year old for 2008, and now Hammond faces the same decision. No rumored names have popped-up yet, though the free agent class of coaching talent deep and the Bucks also poses a number of knowledgeable assistant.
Does Kohl Keep Boylan As Head Coach?
The prospect of Boylan staying on as head coach does not bode well if the Bucks hope to maintain some of their more dynamic talent. More than one player complained of issues with Boylan this year, including star guard Brandon Jennings, who said that he felt the coach was making an example of him in early April during a string of losses. Jennings is now a restricted free agent, as is Monta Ellis, who, along with J.J. Reddick, is one of the team's leading scorers. Both Jennings and Ellis have confirmed interest in moving, and Reddick says that his own personal troubles with Boylan are also pushing him to look at other options.
But, among the eight possible free agents that could come out of the Bucks 2013 roster, at least one has publicly announced his wishes to stay in Milwaukee. Sixth man Mike Dunleavy told reporters that he would like to come back for a third season with the team in 2014.