Yes, there have been back-channel communications. Yes, there are indications and sources and talks. But free agency hasn’t officially begun and won’t until Monday. But Monday, according to an ESPN report, that’s when free agents can begin being wooed by teams and executives. Cue the Brazilian steakhouse jokes!
NBA team executives and coaches will be allowed to start talking to players around the league Monday at 10 a.m. ET, according to league sources.
Teams were notified Saturday that contact with players and free agents will be allowed Monday in advance of the scheduled opening of training camps Dec. 9.
Stein notes that oral and written deals cannot be agreed to until camp starts on Dec. 9, which is ridiculous. “You can pick her up and take her out and show her a good time and go back to her place, but you can’t date her.” Come on, now. So in short, expect Nene to rack up a ton of frequent flyer miles, and for deals to start leaking out as early as Wednesday.
It’s going to be a frantic free agency period despite the lack of talent in this group. Which once again makes you wonder what the lockout was for exactly. Nevermind, don’t ask questions. It might come back.
Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break
Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star break.
Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.
The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.
Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)