View Full Version : Larry Harris (son of Del Harris) named GM of Bucks

07-02-2003, 11:06 PM

Harris officially Bucks' GM
Last Updated: July 1, 2003

St. Francis - Larry Harris didn't get to do much acting in his two-day stint as "acting" general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks. Now he has four years to act.

First hired by the Bucks as a regional scout in the Dallas area in 1988 when his father, Del Harris, was running the Bucks' basketball operations, Larry Harris completed a long, steady climb Tuesday when he was named the team's general manager.

Harris had been named acting GM on Sunday when the Bucks announced that Ernie Grunfeld had been released from the final year of his contract. In the end, that "acting" part of the title was just temporary. Very temporary.

Sen. Herb Kohl, who pulled the Bucks off the selling block on Sunday, said there were no other candidates for the job. Harris, who was the assistant to Grunfeld the past two seasons, said there was nowhere else he wanted to work.

"I couldn't be more pleased with this announcement," Kohl said. "Larry is a guy that I've known now for 15 years, all the years he's been associated with the Bucks. He's a fellow who is extremely experienced in all aspects of our basketball operation and of professional and amateur basketball throughout the country and throughout the world.

"He's held all the jobs leading up to his general manager's job with the Bucks. There isn't a person in the organization that doesn't feel extremely good about Larry Harris the professional and Larry Harris the person."

Thanks to Kohl
Harris began his remarks by thanking Kohl for two things: the promotion and the decision to not sell the team. That made plenty of sense; without the latter decision, the promotion probably wouldn't have happened.

A week earlier, rumors were flying that Kohl was about to sell the team to a group headed by just-retired NBA legend Michael Jordan. Had that happened, Jordan seemed certain to bring in a management team of his own, which probably would have ended Harris' association with the team.

"There are certain things you can control, and I couldn't control that," Harris said. "If that's what happens, that's what happens. But I always felt confident that as long as Herb was here I would have a role in this organization."

And his role now is much bigger. Big enough that Harris, his wife JoLayne, son Zachary and daughter Janaya returned to Milwaukee a day earlier than planned after attending the weekend wedding of his younger brother Stan in Houston.

"To be honest, on Sunday when they said, 'We're going to name you acting general manager,' I was elated," Harris said. "Then, three hours later when I called and found out Herb's taken the team off the market, we were on the road traveling 70 mph and I couldn't yell loud enough. I would have jumped out of the car. It was that much excitement and emotion built all in one and I could say, 'You know what, the dream has come true.'

"And having been here this whole time and having put a lot of time and energy into this product and developing and building this team, to get a chance to run it now is truly remarkable."

Payton first priority
Harris will have his mettle tested quickly. Tuesday was also the opening day of the NBA's free-agent season, and one of Harris' first priorities is to try to re-sign guard Gary Payton.

Harris said he called Payton's agent late Monday night as the date became July 1 in the Eastern time zone.

"Last night, obviously, was the first time to be able to call them," Harris said. "It was a good conversation. We were the first ones to call; I called at 11 o'clock. We spoke for a good amount of time. Dialogue is open and things are progressing."

The Bucks traded point guard Sam Cassell to Minnesota last week. If they don't re-sign Payton, they would only have first-round pick T.J. Ford as a point guard on their roster and would have to look for another in free agency.

Before his departure, Grunfeld had listed re-signing Payton as the team's top priority. Harris didn't say anything different Tuesday.

"We hope to have him back," he said. "When we made the trade on the trading deadline, our intentions were we hope to have him back here. I think the thing is, going forward, the trade of Sam Cassell really put us in a position of adding a power forward (Joe Smith), but also giving us the flexibility to go in a number of directions.

"I would say this: We hope to have Gary back, but there are obviously other options in what we can do with our roster, and hopefully those things you will be happy with come Nov. 1."

So Harris has some immediate challenges. And he says he's ready for them.

"Having grown up on the bottom floor of an organization and working your way up is obviously the most gratifying," Harris said. "I'm very honored that the senator has seen my 15 years of work and has seen that I'm ready for this challenge. And I definitely am ready for it."

07-03-2003, 04:18 AM
that's cool for both del and larry. seems like gm-ing/coaching is a popular father/son activity.

07-03-2003, 11:25 AM
I wonder if they will genetically suck on defense too?