Bucks Fire GM Larry Harris
By David Marcus
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Larry Harris will not be offered a new contract as general manager with the Milwaukee Bucks and has left the team, owner and Sen. Herb Kohl said.
Harris asked for an early decision on the status of his contract that would have expired in June, Kohl said. By mutual agreement, he was relieved of his responsibilities so he could pursue other opportunities.
Kohl scheduled an afternoon news conference to discuss the team's future.
"Larry Harris has served the Milwaukee Bucks since 1990 with complete dedication and loyalty," Kohl said. "I believe at this time it is in the best interest of the Bucks to proceed in another direction."
Harris didn't answer a call to his cell phone, with his voice mail message saying, "As always, have a wonderful day."
Harris never made the impact he'd hoped for after being hired as general manager in July 2003. He had been with the franchise since 1990, beginning as the scout/video coordinator under his father, then-coach Del Harris, but failed to put together a consistently winning franchise following in the footsteps of Ernie Grunfeld and George Karl.
Harris went through a stream of coaches from Terry Porter to Terry Stotts before settling on first-time head coach Larry Krystkowiak in March 2007.
Krystkowiak, though, has also been unable to produce a consistent winner. He's 23-44 this season, and 28-58 overall.
Potential replacements include TV analyst and former coach Doug Collins, Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh and former Sonics GM Rick Sund.
Harris' teams made the playoffs in 2004 and 2006, but failed to win more than one game in each first-round series.
His tenure also was marked by injuries and poor contracts for a core of now unmovable players. He committed more than $200 million to player salaries in the summer of 2005.
Harris re-signed Michael Redd to a six-year deal worth $90 million, but also chose to keep Dan Gadzuric for six years and $36 million, while signing then-Sixth Man of the Year Bobby Simmons from the Clippers to a five-year deal worth $47 million.
Simmons wasn't able to stay healthy and has largely been a role player, while Gadzuric has made just 10 starts since signing the contract and averaged less than 13 minutes a game.
Harris has had some success in the draft, selecting Andrew Bogut with the No. 1 pick in 2005 and taking 7-foot power forward Yi Jianlian with the sixth selection in 2007, but his trades were mostly busts.
Without a first-round pick in 2006, he sent frenetic point guard T.J. Ford to Toronto for power forward Charlie Villanueva, who hasn't been able to stay healthy.
That deal came after Harris sent his 2006 first-round pick and Desmond Mason for Jamaal Magloire, a trade that also failed because Magloire never seemed to fit the Bucks' uptempo style.
Of course, that style was always a work in progress, too, with the team struggling to find an identity behind a mishmash of offensive threats and a lack of defensive intensity.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)