The Bucks have had one of the NBA’s busiest offseasons. They traded Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Ish Smith, waived Drew Gooden and Gustavo Ayon, let Monta Ellis, Samuel Dalembert and Mike Dunleavy Jr. walk in free agency and signed-and-traded Brandon Jennings and J.J. Redick.
That’s most of the roster turned over, yet it’s not clear the Bucks made any progress. They’ve just replaced those eight with players of similar ability.
Why? Perhaps this is a clue.
Gery Woelfel of RacineSportsZone.com:
Without an assertive leader last season, the Bucks’ locker room was a cesspool. Players didn’t get along with each other. Players didn’t along with the coaches and vice versa.One longtime NBA employee who witnessed all the shenanigans told me it was the worst locker room he had ever observed.
Milwaukee certainly hopes it has progressed off the court, but it’s not just about dumping the troublemakers. It’s about adding players like Caron Butler, who recently organized a team dinner.Woelfel:
“I just wanted to get off to a good start with my teammates,” Butler said. “I think it was a good way to build camaraderie.“All the guys showed up and we had a great dinner and talked about expectations for the season together on and off the court.“It was a good session.”It was also a tad expensive. Often times when a group of athletes congregate for a night out on the town, they’ll throw their respective credit cards into a hat. The person whose credit card is withdrawn winds up picking the tab.Not this time. The only credit card that made its way on to the table was Butler’s.
Butler has talked about being a good leader, and now he’s putting his money where his mouth is. I can’t claim to know exactly which players were causing problems last season, and subsequently, whether they’re among the jettisoned. But Butler has to be an improvement in the locker room, even if the Bucks are running in place on the court.
NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.
NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.
The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.
Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.