Tag: Khris Middleton

Miami Heat Scrimmage

Report: Bucks get Westbrook (not that one)

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Russell Westbrook isn’t going to Milwaukee.

Charlie Westbrook, though?

Shams Charania of RealGM:

Westbrook went undrafted out of South Dakota in 2012 and has played overseas and in the D-League since.

He’ll give Milwaukee 17 players, but just 14 15 of them have guaranteed salaries. So, Westbrook will join Jorge Gutierrez and Marcus Landry (both of whose contracts are fully unguaranteed) in competing to supplant a guaranteed player for a  regular-season roster spot.

The Bucks already several players capable of playing Westbrook’s position, shooting guard: Khris Middleton, O.J. Mayo, Rashad Vaughn, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jerryd Bayless and even one of Michael Carter-Williams or Greivis Vasquez in bigger lineups. Without a clear need for him, Westbrook will really have to impress to stick past the preseason.

Bucks’ GM believes team has six-man core of the future

Giannis Antetokounmpo, LeBron James

Jabari Parker. Giannis Antetokounmpo. Greg Monroe. Michael Carter-Williams. Khris Middleton. John Henson.

Last season, with four of those six in place (Parker was injured most of the season, Monroe was in Detroit) the Milwaukee Bucks took a big step forward into the playoffs. They did it with great defense and the guidance of Jason Kidd.

Can they take another step this season? They should have an improved front line and offensive punch with Parker healthy and Monroe in the fold as a free agent. However, they Bucks sent veteran voices like Jared Dudley, how much will they be missed?

What matters more to GM John Hammond is continuity — he has a core in place now he thinks he can win with down the line. They just need time to grow and develop together. Look at what he said on The Baseline Podcast, as transcribed by Brew Hoop.

We’re trying to build around some kind of consistency with the nucleus of Michael Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Greg Monroe and John Henson. Those six guys are the young core that we look and say that’s kinda the future of this organization, and that’s not discounting anyone else. Other players have to step and become a part of that group with us. But those guys are the group we hope we can build some kind of continuity with.

While we can debate whether guys like Henson or Carter-Williams are part of the long-term core for them, Hammond is spot on about continuity. But more than just continuity of roster, there has to be continuity of system and style. You can keep the same players, but if you change coaches and systems as often as Sacramento, it’s not going to matter.

Let these guys grow together and see what they can become under Kidd. They are still a few years away from being a threat to Cleveland (if they get there at all, we’ll see where their trajectory takes them) but the Bucks have to be patient and let it all play out.

Then right about the time they move into that new downtown arena, this could be a very dangerous team.

Rudy Gobert throws shade at Team USA for excluding Derrick Favors

Minnesota Timberwolves v Utah Jazz

USA Basketball announced its expected minicamp attendees, prompting one major Utah Jazz question:

Where’s Trey Burke?

Turns out, Team USA had a late change of heart and invited Michael Carter-Williams instead. Simple enough.

But Jazz center Rudy Gobert wondered about a different Utah teammate:

That Derrick Favors didn’t make the 34-player camp speaks to the Americans’ depth. None of these players are headed to Las Vegas:

  • Kyle Lowry
  • Paul Millsap
  • Jeff Teague
  • Danny Green
  • Zach Randolph
  • Eric Bledsoe
  • Greg Monroe
  • Khris Middleton
  • Hassan Whiteside
  • DeMarre Carroll

That list doesn’t even include players like Damian Lillard and Derrick Rose, who chose not to attend. The U.S. is just loaded with talent.

It’s not hard to argue Favors should have been invited over some players who were. But try making the case he belongs on the final 12-man Olympic roster. That’s practically impossible, making this snub mostly academic.

But if Gobert wants to cape for his teammate, that’s just great.

Report: Bucks and John Henson closing in on contract extension

Milwaukee Bucks Summer Block Party and Jersey Unveiling
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Greg Monroe, Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker, Michael Carter-Williams, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

The Bucks have a nice young core signed through at least next season.

They’d like to add John Henson to the list.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Milwaukee Bucks are in advanced negotiations toward a contract extension with promising big man John Henson, according to league sources.

Henson will make $2,943,221 next season. His extension would begin in 2016-17.

If Henson’s salary in the first year of his extension exceeds $7,358,052 (250% his previous salary), that would immediately cut into the Bucks’ 2016 cap room – a fact that the Bucks should strongly consider. There’s value in locking him up now: avoiding the risk of Henson signing a huge offer sheet as a restricted free agent, preventing him from accepting the qualifying offer to become an unrestricted free agent in 2017 and keeping him happy. But even after the signing Greg Monroe, Milwaukee projects to have plenty of cap space next summer as the salary cap skyrockets. It might make sense to wait, take advantage of Henson’s low cap hold and then re-sign him next summer.

Henson could make the same salary in either scenario. He’d just have to wait a year to officially sign.

Of course, that carries risk for Henson. He could gain security by putting the Bucks’ cap concerns at ease and taking less than his market value, which far eclipses $7,358,052. Maybe that tradeoff – increasing Henson’s cap hold next summer for long-term savings with him – would appease Milwaukee.

Henson is a good defender and excellent shot-blocker. He had to play a lot of center last season, but Monroe will allow him to slide to more power forward, where Henson’s and his thin frame won’t take quite as much of a pounding.

There’s good reason for the Bucks to keep him – just less so for them to do it through a contract extension rather than a re-signing. But there’s plenty of middle ground to find a reasonable extension.

Report: Greg Monroe signing a maximum contract with Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks v Detroit Pistons

The Knicks entered free agency as favorites to land two players: Greg Monroe and Arron Afflalo.

They got Afflalo.

They’re not getting Monroe.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This is a nice signing for the Bucks. They’re taking advantage of a few market conditions that work in their favor now and only now:

1. They had max cap space due to Khris Middleton’s low cap hold. That will disappear once he officially signs his five-year, $70 million contract.

2. They also had cap space because so many of their players – including Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Michael Carter-Williams and John Henson – are on low-paying rookie-scale contracts. Those players will be in line for major raises in coming seasons.

3. They’re locking Monroe into a max in the final year of the old-TV-contract money. As the salary cap skyrockets in coming years, his deal will look even better.

4. Because the cap has not yet exploded, they’re one of only so many teams with max space now. Next year, most of the league will have max cap space, and that makes it more difficult for small-market Milwaukee to compete.

Monroe provides the center the Bucks desperately need, and he should thrive no longer playing next to Andre Drummond. The lane will be much more clear for Monroe’s post moves.

Handling Jason Kidd’s aggressive defensive schemes will be a bigger challenge for Monroe, but perhaps Milwaukee can use its length to hide him to some degree.

Monroe should feel vindicated after accepting the Pistons’ qualifying offer last summer. The risky move has paid off for him, and his next deal should pay off for the Bucks.