Tag: Chris Wright

NCAA Basketball Tournament - South Florida v Temple

Bucks sign Micheal Eric

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If there’s a 26-year-old who played four years at a college program that made the NCAA tournament each season and has still slipped through the cracks, it’s Micheal Eric.

Eric – a Native Nigerian – didn’t play basketball until he turned 16, and he’s suffered four significant knee injuries since 2011.

The former Temple center went undrafted in 2012 and has spent two pro seasons in the D-League. There’s a case to be made he has untapped potential he hasn’t had an opportunity to show.

The Bucks want to find out.

Shams Charania of RealGM:


Eric won’t have long to prove himself. The Bucks have 14 players with guaranteed contracts plus Chris Wright Kendall Marshall, who’s excellent value on his minimum salary.

Milwaukee will likely cut Eric before the season begins. Because Eric played for the Texas Legends last season, they still have his D-League rights, meaning the Bucks can’t waive him and assign him to their D-League affiliate. Milwaukee shares the Fort Wayne Mad Ants with 12 other NBA teams, anyway.

Eric has a chance to impress, but once again, it’s a limited one.

Bucks sign No. 31 pick Damien Inglis

2014 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
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In addition to gaining a first-round pick, the Bucks opened a roster spot with their trade of Carlos Delfino and Miroslav Raduljica for Jared Dudley.

At one point, it seemed Milwaukee might not have room for Damien Inglis. Now, the Bucks – as long as they waive Chris Wright’s fully unguaranteed contract – can fit their second rounder on their 15-man roster.

Inglis will make $820,000 this season and $855,000 next season, both full guaranteed, and has a third $980,431 unguaranteed year, according to Basketball Insiders. Those are decent raises over the minimum salary, something the Bucks – who have cap room – could offer.

But that doesn’t mean Inglis is destined for a huge year. Inglis – behind Bruno Caboclo, Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh, James Young and Dante Exum – was the draft’s sixth-youngest player. Coming from France, Inglis is still pretty raw.

Don’t be surprised to see Inglis spend time in the D-League. At least he’ll be getting an NBA salary while he develops.

Report: Rockets and Ramon Sessions interested in sign-and-trade with Bucks

Ramon Sessions, Patrick Beverley

Despite the unraveling of their depth this offseason, the Rockets are likely to make the playoffs next season.

Dwight Howard and James Harden are stars. Terrence Jones, Patrick Beverley and Trevor Ariza are solid starters.

It’s the bench that could really use work, including point guard. Houston downgraded from Jeremy Lin at backup one to recently signed Ish Smith and unproven Isaiah Canaan, neither of whom are proven rotation players.

How about Ramon Sessions, one of the best unrestricted free agents left on the market?

Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:

I get why Houston is interested in Sessions. He’s a pick-and-roll ace who can both get to the rim and distribute, though his defense is lacking.

But there are several small hurdles, which collectively add up to a decently sized impediment.

For one, there’s reaching a deal with Sessions. At this point, I figured a team could steal Sessions for a minimum contract, but if that were the case, Houston would just sign him outright. The Rockets have the bi-annual exception, which should be enough for Sessions, but they likely want to keep that available next summer. Hence, the sign-and-trade possibility – always a more-complicated option.

Houston is also over the regular-season roster limit of 15. Even if they waive the unguaranteed contracts of Alonzo Gee, Scotty Hopson and Josh Powell and the partially guaranteed contract of Robert Covington, the Rockets would have 15 players before Sessions.

That could be another reason a sign-and-trade makes sense, but the Bucks have 15 guaranteed contracts plus the desirable Kendall Marshall and expendable Chris Wright, both of whom have unguaranteed contracts. So, Milwaukee can’t mindlessly take back an extra player in a trade.

It’s tough to see all three sides making this work, but it’s easy to see why they’re trying. The Rockets could use a better backup point guard. The market has mostly dried up for Sessions. And the Bucks, who no longer have a place for Sessions, would love to get return for him. There’s definitely a chance for a deal to be reached.

Bucks sign Jerryd Bayless, Johnny O’Bryant

Jerryd Bayless

Just in case they don’t have enough borderline starters and second-round picks, the Bucks are fortifying their roster.

Bucks team releases:

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed free agent guard Jerryd Bayless

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed second round draft pick Johnny O’Bryant

Bayless has played for the Celtics, Grizzlies, Raptors, New Orleans Hornets and Trail Blazers in his six-year career. I doubt he’s found a long-term fit with his sixth team.

Boston ran out of room for the combo guard after drafting Marcus Smart and James Young in the first round, leaving Bayless to fend for himself in free agency.

Bayless, just 25, has regressed to the mean after a breakout 2011-12 season with the Raptors and solid play in Memphis the following year. His outside shot is solid, and he passes reasonably well. But in a crowded backcourt that also includes Giannis Antetokounmpo, O.J. Mayo, Brandon Knight, Nate Wolters and Kendall Marshall, Bayless might fall out of the rotation.

Or he might start.

Such is the life of a Buck, a club O’Bryant joins after being selected No. 36 in the draft.

The 6-foot-9, 256-pound O’Bryant follows undersized and wide LSU big men Brandon Bass and Glen Davis to the NBA.

Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:


That’s probably an unguaranteed third year rather than a team option, but either way, O’Bryant did well for himself to get drafted slightly higher than expected and in the range where he could command two guaranteed seasons.

Bayless and O’Bryant give the Bucks 16 players – not including No. 31 pick Damien Inglis. The French forward told KL Chouinard of Bucksketball, “I’m moving to Milwaukee right after the Summer League.”

Chris Wright’s contract is fully unguaranteed, so Milwaukee could easily waive him to open a roster spot, but waiving Khris Middleton or Kendall Marshall (claimed off waivers from the Lakers) – two other players with fully unguaranteed contracts – wouldn’t be as painless.

So maybe Inglis is spending another year overseas, but if he’s still headed to Milwaukee, another shoe beyond the Bucks waiving Wright will have to drop.

Rockets try for Marcus Camby, settle for Dexter Pittman

Dexter Pittman

Dwight Howard – out injured. Greg Smith – out injured.

That left the playoff-bound Rockets with Omer Asik as their only healthy center – though they expect Howard to return before the postseason.

At minimum, Houston could use a little a little more depth at the position. In case Howard’s injury becomes more serious or Asik suffers a setback, it’d be helpful to have another option in the high-stakes playoffs.

Well, the Rockets found it.

Jonathan Feigen of Ultimate Rockets:

the Rockets on Thursday signed center Dexter Pittman out of the NBA Development League for the remainder of the season and next season, with next season non-guaranteed. The team waived Smith to open the roster spot.

“We were holding on as long as we could, “Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. “We wanted Greg to come back healthy. We thought that was our best option, but at this point, it looks like he will miss the season. We needed to have someone who could play the five against certain lineups if Dwight or Omer would take an injury. Dexter right now is the best 5 in the D-League, we think.”

The Rockets reached out to Marcus Camby several weeks ago, a person with knowledge of the conversation said, but were told that Camby would not be available this season.

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The Rockets are zeroing in, from both directions, on No. 4 seed in the Western Conference. Pittman could eat up some minutes if Houston clinches its slot before the regular season ends, something Smith could not do.

Pittman has struggled in four NBA seasons with stops in Miami, Memphis and Atlanta. The 6-foot-11, 285-pound center is a limited players who, even within those strictures, doesn’t do anything all that well.

Perhaps, he’s turned a corner, though. He was scoring more per minute and at a higher efficiency and blocking more shots than he had in any of his previous D-League stints. Considering he’s 26, Houston should hope he’s already progressed, because time is running out for him to break through.

Speaking of time running out, I’m a bit surprised the Rockets contacted Camby. They released him before the season because he couldn’t get healthy, and considering he’s already 40, it seems particularly risky to chance him holding up even for just a playoff run.

On the other hand, 23-year-old Smith has a potentially solid future and makes an intriguing waiver-wire option.

In 81 games the last two seasons, including 10 starts, he’s averaged 13.7 points on 62.3 percent shooting and 10.4 rebounds per 36 minutes. He’s played just 14.9 minutes per game in that stretch, so there are questions about whether that production is sustainable, but I think someone will pay for a chance to find out.

Smith will become a restricted free agent after the season, and he’ll be eligible for a $1,148,163 qualifying offer. A team that claims him would also get his early bird rights. Total cost: $23,202 – Smith’s salary paid by his team the rest of this season.

Because Smith has a minimum contract, any team with a vacant roster spot can claim him.

The Bucks, with the NBA’s worst record, get priority. They have a full roster, but they could easily waive a pending free agent – Chris Wright? – they don’t plan to re-sign.

The 76ers have No. 2 priority, and my hunch is Smith won’t get past them. They also have a full roster, but with their tanking strategy, they can easily waive someone to make room. Philadelphia general manager Sam Hinkie previously worked for the Rockets, so he should know Smith well.