The Milwaukee Bucks declined to give forward Ekpe Udoh a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent, sources told Yahoo Sports.
Udoh is a victim of his own success in the pre-draft circuit. He went No. 6 in 2010, much higher than most expected. Had he gone in his expected late-lottery range, his qualifying offer would have been lower, and he might have received it.
Now, Udoh is fighting for his NBA life.
He was a plus-minus darling with the Warriors before being traded with Monta Ellis for Andrew Bogut, but Udoh’s struggles to produce consistently in Milwaukee indicate his Golden State success was a product of circumstance. Some team might sign him and give him a limited role, but at 27, he’s running out of upside.
Udoh’s defensive tools will get him looks, but his minus rebounding and lack of refined offensive skills will give teams pause.
I expect Udoh will get another contract this summer. I’m not certain of that, though.
Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)
The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.