The Milwaukee Bucks entered the offseason with both players in their starting backcourt becoming free agents — Monta Ellis is unrestricted and unlikely to return, while Brandon Jennings is restricted, and the team’s stated plan is to keep him by matching any offer he receives if necessary.
Replacing Ellis was the first order of business, however, and it appears the Bucks have done so with a less dynamic player, but at a far more reasonable price.
From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
Free agent guard O.J. Mayo has agreed to a three-year, $24 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.
Mayo, 25, will be a replacement for the loss of guard J.J. Redick and the expected departure of Monta Ellis.
Mayo should be a nice piece to pair alongside Jennings, provided Milwaukee gets the consistent level of effort out of him that’s been lacking to this point in his career.
Mayo started out last season playing at a borderline All-Star level for the Mavericks while Dirk Nowitzki was out of the lineup due to injury. He averaged 20.9 points on 49.3 percent shooting over the first month of the season, but by March that dipped to 11.8 points per game, and all the way to 8.6 points per game over the final eight games of the season.
Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle had completely lost faith in Mayo by the end of the season, and ripped him publicly and comprehensively near its end once he had apparently had enough.
There was no chance Dallas was going to bring Mayo back in free agency, but perhaps another fresh start with the Bucks in a different situation will be a better match.
Once again, Kobe Bryant‘s career arc is being compared to Michael Jordan’s.
There’s a lot of reason’s that’s flawed — starting with Kobe being drafted on to a Lakers team that had Shaquille O’Neal and was already considered NBA elite, as opposed to Jordan working to build a franchise up. That said, Kobe has invited the Jordan comparison at times and it has been a constant through is career. Fair or not.
Kobe is coming back this fall after seasons of injury to the NBA and those comparisons continue — now to the Wizards’ version of Jordan. And Kobe is not at all fond of that, as he told Sam Amick of the USA Today.
“This is uncharted territory,” he said. “My 37 (years old) isn’t MJ’s 37 (when he returned after taking two seasons off to play for the Washington Wizards), you know what I mean? Nor is it the same team or the same system that he was playing in. It’s much, much different. There’s really no barometer, no (precedent) for training physically, for recovery. It’s uncharted territory.”
Kobe is right. Jordan had four+ seasons off by the time he was 37 and was not coming off multiple major surgeries.
Kobe is entering his 20th NBA season and what any real basketball fan should wish for him is health. Let him play one full season (with limited minutes and nights off), let him get to the final game of this season next April and make his own decision on his future. Let him leave the game on his own terms.
That said, if Kobe can average Jordan’s numbers at that age — 22.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game — it will be a major accomplishment, and the Lakers will have a better record than many of us expect.
And Kobe may want to play a 21st season as well.
MILAN (AP) — The Boston Celtics eased to a 124-91 victory over Olimpia Milano at the Mediolanum Forum on Tuesday, comfortably winning the first of a double-header in Europe as part of the NBA Global Games.
Isaiah Thomas led the way for the Celtics with 18 points, including nine in his first seven minutes after coming off the bench midway through the first quarter.
Jared Sullinger added 14 points, as did Avery Bradley, who also had four three-pointers, while David Lee weighed in with 13 as well as seven rebounds and three assists.
Alessandro Gentile – who is reportedly wanted by the Houston Rockets, who hold NBA rights to the 22-year-old – top scored for Milano, with 19 points.
Next up for the Celtics is Real Madrid in Spain on Thursday.