While everyone was looking at Andrew Boguts’ elbow, another Bucks injury slipped under the radar.
Corey Maggette, who is counted on to be the scoring punch off the bench for Milwaukee (if not the starting small forward) underwent ankle surgery in July and may miss the entire preseason recovering, according to the Journal Times.
“I can do some things but not of the caliber I’m used to,” Maggette said during the team’s media day at the Cousins Center. “It’s going to be a slow process.”
Asked if he would play in any of the team’s eight preseason games, Maggette said, “probably not.”
Maggette had torn peroneal tendons, which are the tendons, which run along your ankle bone and prevent your ankle from turning inside too far. They help stabilize the ankle. So you want them in good working order when playing basketball. Or walking.
This likely means Carlos Delfino is the starting three for the Bucks, and Maggette may or may not be his backup opening night. But he should be backing him up not long after that.
The Bucks need Maggette — they were dead last in the league in the ratio of free throws to field goals. Meaning they didn’t draw a lot of fouls driving the lane. That is what Maggette specializes in. He averaged nearly 20 points a game last season and the Bucks could use the points and the trips to the charity stripe.
They just have to wait a little longer to get them than thought.
Tristan Thompson is a man without a contract. By not signing the qualifying offer with the Cleveland Cavaliers he put himself in limbo, the rare NBA holdout. Right now his options are to sign the deal on the table (the Cavs still have the five-year, $80 million offer out there), get the Sixers or Blazers to offer him a max contract (which neither team has shown any interest in doing), or hold out and hope the Cavaliers make a better offer. If he holds out for the entire season he becomes a restricted free agent again next summer — exactly like he is right now.
Without signing the qualifying offer and the threat of leaving, Thompson hurt his leverage.
But he has a little leverage. He and his agent Rich Paul had one other card, and it got played Saturday.
LeBron James and Thompson share an agent in Paul. LeBron has largely remained silent through this process but if he wants something in the Cleveland organization, he usually gets it. And he wants Thompson back at practices.
LeBron’s leverage is going to be put to the test. The Cavaliers have let it leak they are not that concerned about LeBron leaving them next summer over this — and they’re right. The damage to LeBron’s brand if he broke the hearts of Cleveland fans again would be crushing, unless he leaves for a very good reason. Overpaying Thompson is not that reason.
However, LeBron’s comment could push the Cavaliers to try to find a compromise.
For the Cavaliers, a lot of how they view all this comes down to their tax bill. The Cavaliers already have $94.9 million in guaranteed salary on the books, putting them $10.2 million over the luxury tax line, at a cost of more than $16.25 million. What this means if (or when) they sign Thompson is his first $10 million in salary would cost them $28.75 million in tax and every dollar above that for the next $5 million costs them $3.75-to-$1. Look at it this way, by my count $14 million this year to Thompson would cost $43.75 million in tax — the total for Thompson at that price is $58 million. While that’s not all on Thompson it’s a lot of cash, and Thompson wants a max deal that starts at more than $16 million a year.
Owner Dan Gilbert is already going to pay the highest tax bill in the NBA this season, but if he balks at those figures it’s hard to blame him.
Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:
Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.