Fortunately, there is somebody who is probably equally qualified out there in Internetland, and one that is campaigning for the job. Bill Simmons from ESPN.com and ESPN The Magazine.
In Simmons' ESPN.com column from February 21st, Simmons said...
"By the way, I'd like to officially apply for Larry Harris' job -- a job we knew would be open three years ago after his deer-in-the-headlights performance after winning the 2005 lottery. Bucks fans, lemme remind you that I pushed long and hard for Chris Paul as the No. 1 pick of that draft. Do you think you'd enjoy rooting for Chris Paul right now? I bet you would. I love the good city of Milwaukee, I'd love to live there, and I'd love to run the Bucks. Come on, you couldn't do worse! Start bugging Herb Kohl right now and vote Simmons for Bucks GM in 2008! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN! YES WE CAN!"
Apparently, Bucks fans started to immediately throw their support at Simmons, because in his ESPN the Magazine article dated February 28th, he gives some of his qualifications...
"I lead the league in patience and common sense. I watch as much hoops as anyone. I won't get suckered by tremendous upside potential, bad character guys, contract runs, lethargic big men or anyone with the same sour puss that Bunk had when McNulty started to rig the homeless murders on The Wire. I care about chemistry and body language as much as talent; you'd never see me roll the dice with the likes of Zach Randolph or Vince Carter, and you'd never see me overpay the likes of Mo Williams just because he was putting up big fantasy numbers on a bad team.
I am, on the other hand, partial to rookies who played for winning programs, produced in college or do one thing exceedingly well (say, rebounding or long-range shooting). I wouldn't care if a prospect looked great in a workout; isn't a 30-game college season the only workout anyone needs to see? I wouldn't care if someone was two inches too short or 15 pounds too heavy, just that he was good. Kevin Love isn't even a lottery lock these days, but so what if he can't run or jump? He's a surreal cross between Wes Unseld and Bill Laimbeer. Why pass on him for some project who looks good posting up a chair?"
(and later in the article) "Know this: I would never stop badgering other GMs with trade offers. Plus, I'd win the respect of my players by kicking their butts in Madden and NBA Live on road trips. Oh, and I'd be smart enough to fire Larry Krysttsngswgwgtiak and hire Sam Cassell as a player-coach, then get Senator Kohl to overturn the unconstitutional 'No player-coaches' rule in Congress. Sam would rejuvenate the players and the city even as I saved money on a 12th man.
More important still, I'm a true fan. Know what that means, people of Milwaukee? No more JumboTron music blaring during games. Cheerleaders who are the perfect blend of 'wholesome' and 'possibly slutty after three drinks.' One free kielbasa and Miller Lite at the next game every time we get blown out by double figures at home. A suggestion box to which you can e-mail trade ideas or ways to frame Gadzuric for a crime to get him off our cap. Exciting interviews in which I say things I should never say because I just can't help myself. Maybe even—wait for it—an annual preseason game outdoors in Lambeau. (Admit it, you just pulled a Dr. Evil, pressing a finger against your mouth and saying, 'Hmmm.')"
And before you knew it, you can't shake a fired GM without reading about the Simmons for Bucks GM campaign. On February 28th, the blog The Bratwurst took up the cause and stated the following...
"He proclaims himself to be an A+ judge of talent, mostly basing his I deserve the Bucks job claim on 'because I said they should have taken Chris Paul over Bogut'. Well, that’s fine, but he also forgot to mention that he thought Orlando should take Okafor over Dright Howard , Houston should take Jay Williams over Yao Ming, and that when Boston drafted Gerald Green he was looking forward to watching 'G-Money for the next 15 years', and constantly hammered the Yi pick until he actually took the time to watch him play.
He does have some other excellent ideas, though (No more music during play? Sign me up!)
Obviously, just because he writes a well-read column doesn’t mean he’s qualified to be a GM. But he’s making a great point — why should the next GM come from Herb Kohl’s insider circle of associates?"
Great. Some dissenting opinion. Every campaign needs that. On March 3rd, the Awful Announcing blog chimmed in with...
"Last week was a monumental one for Bill Simmons in regards to the NBA. Not only did Simmons completely depress me with a great look into how the NBA can save the Sonics (they can't), but he openly campaigned to be the new GM for the Milwaukee Bucks.
I think the best part about the NBA is how most owners still think that ex-players and basketball guys will do the best to rebuild their teams. This couldn't be further from the truth. Guys like Bryan Colangelo and Sam Presti are thriving while the Isiah Thomases of the world are slowly ruining franchises."
On the same day, The Bucky Channel blog throws full support behind Simmons...
"It started as a throwaway joke in one of his columns. It turned into a few dozen emails from Bucks fans begging him to do it. It progressed into a column / full out campaign for the job, which in turn created buzz and backlash from assorted members of the blogosphere. Well Sports Guy, we've heard you loud and clear. And while it may turn out to be a horrible disaster, most of us dont care. We're ready for you to be the next General Manager of the Milwaukee Bucks.
I grew up on the likes of Todd Day, Eric Murdock, and the rest of the interchangeables for the purple and green. I still remember the day I found out the Bucks actually won the NBA title once, and even more amazed when I found out we once had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. I lived through the Chris Ford and Mike Dunleavy eras, watched us continually fall to the Pacers in the playoffs, suffered heartbreak when Glenn Robinson missed a 12 footer in the '01 Eastern Conference Finals, and witnessed George Karl implode the team in the mid-90's.
Now Bill, if you are going to give this a shot, you have to know something about Bucks fans. Even though he has a terrible basketball sense, and is clueless about what's happening on the court in front of him sometimes, you have to realize that Bucks fans love Herb Kohl. We need him. Without Herb taking a stand a few years ago, we'd most likely be in the exact same situation the Sonics are right now. Herb is the only thing keeping the Bucks in Milwaukee."
When the Bucks finally did fire Larry Harris on March 18, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel had a poll question "ESPN.com columnist Bill Simmons recently joked that he was going to campaign to be the Bucks' GM. Should Sen. Kohl hire him?" Out of 1327 responses, a whopping 72% of respondants said that they should.
Simmons has clearly talked to his wife about this. She wrote a column of NCAA picks, and said of a potential match-up (that in hindsight we know didn't happen)....
"USC (6) over Wisconsin (3): This is the real-life matchup and result if Bill takes the Milwaukee Bucks GM job: I will be choosing Southern California over Wisconsin and living off 50 percent of Bill's salary."
She originally sounded like LA was where she was staying, but later in the same column she said...
"Marquette (6) over Cornell (14): Maybe I could talk myself into the Bucks GM thing if we lived somewhere near Marquette; I always thought it seemed like a nice school. Also, I'd be considered a twig if we lived in Wisconsin. Everyone would tell me how skinny I was all the time and ask me where I worked out and what I did. I could introduce the women there to pilates and explain to them the dangers of brats and cheese curds. I like the thought of being regarded as an exercise pioneer even if it wasn't true."
In Simmon's column from yesterday (March 24), he once again declares his candidacy, but is worried about the lack of contact from the Bucks...
"I spent the weekend lounging around the Sports Guy Mansion, watching college basketball and waiting for the Milwaukee Bucks to contact me about their suddenly vacant GM job. You're not going to believe this, but they never did.
If you're a Bucks fan, here's what should scare you a little:
(A) Not only are the 2008 Bucks headed for the lottery again, but there isn't a single player on their roster who could be the best player on a championship contender.
(B) If you're expecting the lottery to change things, know that there isn't a prospect in the 2008 draft who could be the best player on a championship contender with the possible exception of Michael Beasley (who has a little too much Glenn Robinson/Derrick Coleman in him for my liking).
(C) You can't sign a free agent who could be the best player on a championship contender because your previous GM killed your cap space for the rest of the decade.
(D) Of the available GM 'candidates,' there isn't a single one that could get their fans excited or even somewhat interested in any conceivable way.
(E) As tragic and depressing as this sounds, other than winning the 2008 lottery, framing LeBron James for a crime or bringing Don Nelson back to Milwaukee, the only realistic way that the Bucks could generate some local and mainstream buzz would be to make me a candidate. Think about it. They interview me and 'Bucks Interview Sports Columnist for GM Job' becomes a national story, not because it's me, but because it would lead to a weeklong debate about whether a sports columnist could successfully run an NBA team. Name me another realistic move that the Bucks could make right now that would crack the first 10 minutes on 'PTI,' generate 100 comments on a sports blog or lead a sports radio show. You can't.
Anyway, since the Bucks refuse to acknowledge my candidacy, it looks like I'm going to have to shift to Plan B: Openly and frequently torturing them. Stay tuned."
Like Simmons said, stay tuned. This could turn out to be interesting. More interesting than any other name I've heard.