Milwaukee Bucks GM John Hammond believes that head coach Jim Boylan was a victim of the the roster this past season. Hammond added that the team simply needed to move in a new direction when he addressed the media on Wednesday, shortly after the Bucks announced they wouldn't be offering Boylan the opportunity to drop his interim tag.
"Some of it was, it had to do with our roster," Hammond told the media at a press conference following the announcement. "The number of free agents that we had, that could be difficult. I personally feel that in the realm of what Jim had to do with his job, I think he did it with the best of his ability. It was just a decision we had to make."
Milwaukee's roster included restricted free-agent Brandon Jennings, who has been open about looking to sign elsewhere, and Monta Ellis, who is likely opting out of his contract. That might have hurt the Bucks to sputter during the end of the regular season, but it also might be an advantage heading to the offseason.
Hammond said the next head coach will have the opportunity of flexibility without starting from the ground up. Yahoo! Sports reported on Wednesday that former Orlando Magic and Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy is atop Milwaukee's list of coaching targets, as is Houston rockets assistant Kelvin Sampson.
"I don't think we're starting from scratch at all," Hammond said. "If you look at our roster, this thing is surely not broke right now, especially up front. I think it's intriguing. I think people are going to look at our roster and see opportunity."
Even though Jennings showed unhappiness in his comments throughout the season, Hammond said he thought "deep down in (Jennings') heart" he wanted to return. He said that the team wasn't put off by how he and Ellis played in a trigger-happy backcourt together, noting their player of the week honors won throughout the season. The Bucks have cap space, the ability to bring their own free agents back if they so choose and young pieces in the front court.
Hammond pointed to the trio of Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova and John Henson as building blocks already in place. Milwaukee, after all, made the playoffs this season -- even if it was a short run as the Miami Heat swept the Bucks in the first round.
"We still have our salary structure at a point that we can control our own destiny," Hammond said. "That's important to us.
"I hate to be simplistic," he added. "We got to find a way to win. I hate to kind of do the old Al Davis, 'Just win, baby,' but that's how we got to do it."
Source: Quotes via Bucks.com's live press conference stream