Milwaukee Bucks vs. Boston Celtics

Report: Bucks owner reaches out to Junior Bridgeman as minority investor, Kareem wants gig, too

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We’ve told you before that current Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl is looking for more investors to come in, to help keep the team in Milwaukee. It’s a few years out until their lease is up (2017) but a new arena is needed there, even Commissioner Adam Silver has said as much. That leaves other cities and people looking to buy a team and move it (yes, maybe Seattle) lurking in the wings).

Among the people Kohl reached out to is former Buck player and successful entrepreneur Junior Bridgeman.

This according to the Journal-Sentinel, via Bucksketball.

A source with knowledge of Herb Kohl’s efforts to bring in new investors to the Milwaukee Bucks as a way of keeping the team in Milwaukee, said Bridgeman, one of the wealthiest African-Americans in the country, has been approached about investing in the team, and he expressed interest.

Kohl has retained Allen & Co., of New York, to locate potential investors. Bridgeman would seem to be an ideal candidate for the Bucks. He knows the game. He played in Milwaukee. And he is a successful businessman.

Bridgeman played a dozen years in the NBA and 10 of those were in Milwaukee. He still holds the record for most games played by anyone in a Bucks uniform (711).

After his playing days Bridgeman got into fast food franchising and now owns 160 Wendy’s, more than 100 Chili’s and an assortment of other restaurants. Forbes estimated his net worth at north of $200 million.

Bridgeman is currently a minority investor in the new Sacramento Kings ownership group, if he were to buy into the Bucks he’d have to sell that share. Not hard or a big deal, but a hurdle.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar does not have any role with the Bucks — but he would like one. In some capacity, not necessarily just as an investor.

That’s what he told the Associated Press.

“If I get a call, I will definitely offer my services,” said Abdul-Jabbar, the franchise’s career leading scorer with 14,211 points. “There’s nothing on the table right now. A couple of people have asked me and if I had the chance to be part of this franchise again, I would take it….

“They have to get their business model right,” Abdul-Jabbar said Monday. “I hope that the Bucks are able to sort it all out and get on a good footing. You can’t win it all unless you get the right players and you can’t get the right players unless you’re really in a good position as a business.”

We’ll see if that call comes for Kareem. His years of being aloof and unresponsive to fans and people around the league have kept him out of coaching jobs and more — people don’t go out of their way to help people who are not nice to them. But maybe the Bucks — the franchise he carried to its one and only title — would be a place to get his foot back in the door.

Kings’ new arena to be on street named after David Stern

SACRAMENTO, CA - OCTOBER 30:  NBA Commissioner David Stern received the key to the city from former NBA player and now Mayor of Sacramento Kevin Johnson during an NBA gam between the Denver Nuggets and Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena on October 30, 2013 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Former NBA commissioner David Stern pitted Sacramento and Seattle against each other. Sacramento made a more lucrative offer, so it kept the Kings.

For that, the Kings are honoring Stern.

Ailene Voisin of The Sacramento Bee:

The Kings will announce Tuesday that they are naming the street leading to the front door of the new downtown arena in honor of former NBA Commissioner David Stern, whose persistent, decades-long efforts helped keep the franchise in Sacramento.

Officially, the address of the Golden 1 Center – to be submitted to the city Tuesday for approval – is 500 David J. Stern Walk.

“When I learned we would have the option of naming the road, it was a no-brainer for me,” Kings principal owner Vivek Ranadive told The Sacramento Bee on Monday. “There were no other names on my list. David took the NBA to the global level and started the WNBA, but he is about so much more than basketball. He is one of the greatest leaders in the world, and on top of that, the team would not be in Sacramento without David Stern.”

OK.

Michael Jordan made a big philanthropic donation, but don’t confuse it with a political stand

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Dave Zirin is one of my favorite twitter follows and a great writer on the intersection of sports and politics for The Nation (and his podcasts are fantastic).

Speaking with Dan Patrick Tuesday (video above) he hit the nail on the head with Michael Jordan’s $2 million donation Monday — it was a great bit of philanthropy, but it wasn’t political. Jordan said he could no longer try to stay silent on racial issues, but he didn’t take a side, he didn’t make a donation to Black Lives Matter or any other movement pushing for one side or the other in this debate. He put money into trying to build a bridge between police and poorer, minority communities. That’s a good thing, but it’s not a political stance (there is no “anti better police relations” movement).

Jordan should be congratulated for what he did, but we have graded Jordan’s “political” action on a curve because he doesn’t make political moves.

Report: Victor Oladipo seeking max contract extension from Thunder

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 22:  Victor Oladipo waits for a free throw during the game against the Charlotte Hornets at Amway Center on January 22, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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The Thunder dealt with the Magic to get Victor Oladipo.

Now, it’s time to negotiate with Oladipo, who’s eligible for a rookie-scale contract extension.

How much does he want?

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

(for now) seeking the maximum salary, sources say.

Why shouldn’t he?

C.J. McCollum just got a max extension, and while I’d prefer McCollum over Oladipo, their value is comparable. McCollum is a superior shooter, but Oladipo is more advanced defensively. Two factors working in McCollum’s favor — youth and a shortage of good shooting guards in the NBA — also apply to Oladipo.

Perhaps, the max rules kept McCollum from earning more. Even if he’s not quite as valuable as McCollum, Oladipo still might deserve the max. That’s a pitfall (feature?) of the system.

But a difference between the Trail Blazers’ and Thunder’s cap outlooks could be key.

If he doesn’t sign an extension, Oladipo will count $13,105,921 against the cap to begin next offseason. Oklahoma City can hold him at that number, use its other cap space then exceed the cap to re-sign him with Bird Rights.

If he signs an extension, he’ll count all offseason at his 2017-18 salary — which is projected to have a max of about $24 million.

Because Oklahoma City is more likely than Portland to have 2017 cap space, that difference matters considerably. The Thunder could use an extra $11 million of flexibility, especially as they handle Russell Westbrook‘s free agency.

Oladipo almost certainly won’t sign an extension that starts at less than his $13,105,921 cap hold. So, any extension will cut into the Thunder’s 2017 space. But he could take enough of a discount to make it worth their while over the life of the deal.

There’s plenty of time for compromise. Oladipo’s extension deadline is Oct. 31.

For now, Oladipo should keep asking for the biggest payday.

Report: Warriors center Anderson Varejao likely out for Olympics

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 31: Dan Clark #13 of Great Britain shoots over Anderson Varejao #11 of Brazil in the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match between Great Britain and Brazil on Day 4 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Basketball Arena on July 31, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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Warriors center Anderson Varejao left his native Brazil to have his back examined in the United States before the Rio Olympics.

The prognosis doesn’t sound good.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

That’s a bummer for Varejao, who was clearly looking forward to playing in his home Olympics. At least Brazil still has plenty of talent — including Nene, Leandro Barbosa, Raul Neto and Marcelo Huertas — to compete for a medal.

The Warriors certainly hope Varejao heals in time for the season. They might have to depend on him to back up Zaza Pachulia if rookie Damian Jones isn’t ready and they want to limit the pounding Draymond Green takes at center.