Tag: Johnny O’Bryant

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Bucks GM touts Giannis Antetokounmpo’s ability to play center


Bucks coach Jason Kidd kicked around the idea of playing Giannis Antetokounmpo at point guard last year, though didn’t really go anywhere beyond the preseason. Antetokounmpo spent most of his minutes on the wing.

He could reach the other end of the positional spectrum this season.

Milwaukee general manager John Hammond on The Baseline NBA Podcast (hat tip: Frank Madden of Brew Hoop):

I love the thought of small-ball for us. Potentially, if there’s ever a matchup situation where you say “OK, they’re going to go small, how do we match up with that”” whoever that team may be, I think you play Giannis Antetokounmpo at center. And he’s 6-foot-11, so it’s not really small-ball per se, but his ball skills and know-how of how to play will give us the ability to do that. And I think that could be a really fun team to watch someday if you do look at small-ball theory.

Antetokounmpo played 98% of his minutes last season with at least one teammate – Zaza Pachulia, Larry Sanders, John Henson, Johnny O’Bryant, Miles Plumlee, Kenyon Martin, Ersan Ilyasova – who was clearly more of a center than him. Even in the other 2%, Antetokounmpo didn’t handle center responsibilities clearly more frequently than players like Jared Dudley and Jabari Parker.

So, this would be a big shift for the third-year player.

But Antetokounmpo has the tools to make it work. He has tremendous length and good shot-blocking timing. The Bucks like to switch and trap, so he wouldn’t have to defend like a traditional center, either. Offensively, he could pull opposing bigs all the way to the 3-point arc and slash and dish against a strained defense.

Antetokounmpo doesn’t have the bulk to play center over long stretches, but against the right opponents, he could do it. As the league gets smaller, it’s a nice option for Milwaukee.

And it’s darn sure exciting to watch a player who can legitimately play any position 1-5.

Report: Bucks signing Chris Copeland to one-year contract

Indiana Pacers v Milwaukee Bucks

Chris Copeland came a long way just to make the NBA.

He got stabbed late last season, but that scary incident won’t derail his pro career.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

Given Copeland’s minimum salary is $981,348, it seems the Bucks had to dip into their $2,814,000 room exception.

That’s good value, and he makes an already deep team even deeper. Copeland is a stretch four who could see minutes behind Jabari Parker and John Henson depending what looks Jason Kidd wants to give.

Speaking of Kidd, he played with Copeland on the Knicks. This isn’t the first time Milwaukee has added an apparent Kidd favorite, but this signing makes more sense than others (looking at you, Kenyon Martin).

Copeland gives the Bucks 15 players with guaranteed contracts, meaning Jorge Gutierrez and his unguaranteed deal probably gets squeezed out – though Milwaukee could eat the salary of someone like Damien Inglis or Johnny O’Bryant.

Report: Bucks signing Kenyon Martin to 10-day contract

New York Knicks v Boston Celtics - Game Four

Jason Kidd has attempted to distance himself from the Nets (while still saying a lot about them) since leaving Brooklyn for Milwaukee.

But the Bucks coach can’t completely break ties with the franchise.

He’s reuniting with former Nets (and Knicks) teammate Kenyon Martin, a deal that has been in the works.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Milwaukee Bucks are signing former All-Star power forward Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Bucks have committed to add Martin to their roster this week, perhaps as early as Thursday, after letting a player go to open up a spot.

It’s hard to see whom the Bucks would drop to open a roster spot. They have a deep team, 1-15.

Nate Wolters is on a minimum contact with next season unguaranteed, and he has fallen from the rotation. But he made my All-Rookie second team just last year. It seems far too soon to give up on him.

Damien Inglis won’t play this season due to injury. But you don’t draft a young, raw player at No. 31 and waive him during his first season – unless his injury is that devastating.

Another player the Bucks took high in the second round, No. 36 pick Johnny O’Bryant III, could be a candidate if not for the same reason they’re signing Martin. They need big-man help.

Kendall Marshall is also on an expiring minimum contract. I don’t think Milwaukee would waive him, but I didn’t think the Lakers would last summer, either. I’d guess that move says more about the Lakers than Marshall, but it’s possible teams that see him up close don’t value him quite as much as outsiders do.  Considering the Bucks guaranteed Marshall’s salary for this season well before necessary, I doubt they’ll waive him.

Perhaps, they won’t need to waive anyone.

As Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated pointed out, Milwaukee could qualify for a hardship waiver.

The NBA allows teams to temporarily add a 16th player if three conditions are met:

1. The team has four injured or ill players.

The Bucks seem to qualify:

Sanders, whose reason for absence has been mysterious, is the only potential hiccup.

2. The injured or ill players miss at least three games.

No problem there, as long as Sanders qualifies for the first condition. Parker, Sanders, Ilyasova and Inglis have each missed more than three games.

3. The injured or ill players “will continue to be unable to perform playing services due to injury or illness.”

This will be the toughest condition to meet.

Parker and Inglis are out for the season, so that’s easy. But the Bucks have not set clear public timetables for Ilyasova’s and Sanders’ returns.

Ultimately, this will be Adam Silver’s call, and he can assign a physician to assesses the players and provide guidance.

If Milwaukee can add Martin without waiving anyone, sure, why not? He’ll add a little depth and toughness to a team jockeying for playoff position.

But if the Bucks must waive someone, I’d be against this move. Everyone on their roster is more valuable than the 37-year-old journeyman, and they’re still building toward their future. Ten days of Kenyon Martin isn’t worth even a small sacrifice in long-term outlook.

67RIEFNS No. 35: K.J. McDaniels testing the second-round system

2014 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot

The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order.

Unlike first-round draft picks, second rounders don’t have a set salary scale. They’re free to negotiate with the team that drafted them for any contract between the NBA minimum and maximum as long as the team has enough room.

Obviously, they typically get much closer to the minimum. High second-round picks often get a couple seasons guaranteed, the first season slightly above the minimum salary with an unguaranteed third year if the team has enough cap space. It can vary quite a bit.

Players have one – rarely used – source of leverage. In order to maintain exclusive negotiating rights with a player, a team must extend him a required tender. A required tender is a one-year contract. That’s the only criterion. So, of course, those required tenders are usually for a minimum salary and fully unguaranteed.

That way, if a team fails to offer a satisfactory multi-year deal, the player can always accept the required tender and become a free agent after only one season (or sooner, if waived). It’s a last resort.

It’s also the route K.J. McDaniels took.

McDaniels left Clemson early, and I considered him a worthy of a late first rounder. Instead, he slipped to No. 32, where the 76ers drafted him.

Philadelphia wanted to sign McDaniels – according to his agent, Mark Bartelstein – to a four-year contract with the first two seasons guaranteed and the second two unguaranteed.

We don’t know exactly how much money the 76ers offered McDaniels in each season of the deal, but they gave another second-round pick – Jerami Grant – a contract that fit that format. Grant will make $377,543 more than the rookie minimum ($507,336) this season and the minimum in the three subsequent seasons. Presumably, McDaniels – picked seven spots higher than Grant – would have gotten at least that much.

Essentially, if Grant is a bust, Philadelphia will have to pay him more than they were required to offer. If he succeeds, the 76ers will have him at a discount on the latter seasons of the deal. It’s a low-risk, high-reward bet by Philadelphia. In exchange, Grant – who has never played professionally – gets more guaranteed money.

Given a similar choice, McDaniels opted for the one-year, unguaranteed tender.

McDaniels is the only 2014 second rounder to sign with an NBA team without receiving any guaranteed salary. His 2014-15 salary is also lower than the players drafted around him.

Here are all 17 second-round picks who’ve signed with their 2014-15 base salary (blue) and total guarantee (red):


Pick Team Player 2014-15 salary Total guarantee
31 MIL Damien Inglis $820,000 $1,675,000
32 PHI K.J. McDaniels $507,336 $0
33 CLE Joe Harris $884,879 $1,729,938
34 NYK Cleanthony Early $507,336 $1,352,395
35 UTA Jarnell Stokes $725,000 $1,570,059
36 MIL Johnny O’Bryant III $600,000 $1,445,059
38 DET Spencer Dinwiddie $700,000 $1,545,059
39 PHI Jerami Grant $884,879 $1,729,938
40 MIN Glenn Robinson III $507,336 $250,000
42 HOU Nick Johnson $507,336 $2,332,826
44 BRK Markel Brown $507,336 $507,336
45 BOS Dwight Powell $507,336 $507,336
46 LAL Jordan Clarkson $507,336 $507,336
47 NOP Russ Smith $507,336 $507,336
49 CHI Cameron Bairstow $507,336 $932,336
56 ORL Roy Devyn Marble $884,879 $884,879
60 SAS Cory Jefferson $507,336 $75,000

Salary data via Basketball Insiders

McDaniels picked the right team to take this chance.

Players with unguaranteed contracts are usually the first cut when a team need to hit the roster limit, but the 76ers are so far below the salary floor, they can waive players with guaranteed contracts over those with unguaranteed contracts without financial consequence.

The tanking 76ers also have a barren roster, making it easier for McDaniels to earn playing time. He’s going to become a free agent by next summer, and he should have a chance to establish his value on the court.

This is probably a near-perfect storm, and I don’t see many second-round picks accepting the required tender. But it’s interesting to see just McDaniels take this path, and if he succeeds, others could follow.

Bucks reserve center Johnny O’Bryant likely out 6 weeks at least with knee sprain

2014 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
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Johnny O’Bryant was already going to struggle to get minutes in Milwaukee. Larry Sanders, Ersan Ilyasova, Zaza Pachulia and John Henson will soak up most of the minutes at the four and five spots, where O’Bryant is trying to fit in.

But this is a still a setback for the rookie second round pick out of LSU.

He has a grade III sprain of the medial collateral ligament (MCL) in his right knee, the Bucks announced. The team would not put a timetable on his return, but usually 6-8 weeks is the norm with this kind of injury.

That has O’Bryant out until early December at best. It’s hard for rookies to find minutes once the season gets going as it is, this has him starting farther behind.

O’Bryant has the physical tools to play in the NBA, the question was how he’d adjust, especially defensively, and could he maintain his focus (a concern coming in). He’s going to answer most of the questions about him in practice anyway, if he does well there he’ll get some run.