Jon Horst easily, quickly moves into general manager’s role with Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks new general manager Jon Horst is introduced at a news conference on Monday in Milwaukee. (AP photo)

MILWAUKEE — To Jon Horst, his interview with Milwaukee Bucks owners for the vacant general manager job felt more like an extended conversation.

He had worked in the organization as the director of basketball operations since 2008. He was usually among those in the room to give former GM John Hammond advice.

Horst, 34, might have been a surprise pick to replace Hammond among observers outside the organization. But there was a sense of familiarity when the franchise formally introduced Horst as the new general manager on Monday.

“There was a process that we went through. It may seem like a surprising outcome. I’ve been asked that question by other people,” co-owner Wes Edens said as Horst smiled next to him. “At the end of it all, it was never really a surprise for us.”

Hammond left to take the Orlando GM job on May 23. Bucks assistant GM Justin Zanik was among those interviewed in what Edens called a comprehensive process that also relied on a search firm and advice from consultant Rod Thorn, an NBA front office veteran.

The owners were familiar with Horst, though his name didn’t appear to enter the mix as a potential candidate until relatively late in the search. Horst was already involved in prep for Thursday’s NBA draft.

“People had their personal favorites for one reason or another, and we talked about that,” Edens said when asked about the deliberations. “That’s a very positive process to go through. That part of the process I feel good about, and the results I feel even better about.”