The Bucks are an up-and-coming young team. They won 41 games last season (good enough for the six seed in the East). With a young core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Michael Carter-Williams, and John Henson they are long, defend well, and are improving on offense.
They also have a ton of cap space. Especially after their trade of Ersan Ilyasova, they will have at least $16 million and it could be up to nearly $30 million after they waive Caron Butler and Shawne Williams (the final number depending on what happens with Jared Dudley, and re-signing Khris Middleton).
What is Milwaukee going to do with all that cash? Chase a center, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.
League sources say the Bucks want a proven center in free agency if they can score one, and have pinpointed two kinds of former All-Stars — Dallas’ Tyson Chandler and Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez — as targets for the top of their wish list.
Bucks coach Jason Kidd knows both of them well, having played alongside Chandler in both Dallas and New York and having coached Lopez with the Nets. And word is that Milwaukee intends to chase both hard come July 1 in hopes of emerging as a serious contender for at least one of them.
The Bucks need size up front, at least size they can count on more than they’ve gotten from Larry Sanders. Chander is 32 and has had injury issues before last season, but for a defensive-minded team he’s a great anchor. Plus, he’s a veteran and a real professional who could guide the young team.
Lopez is as good an offensive center as there is around the league and would provide versatility and shooting up front.
It will be a real test of coach Jason Kidd and a good young Bucks team to see if they can get in the mix on these guys. Milwaukee is not a traditional free agent magnet. But cash and the chance to win can be a strong lure.
One of the pillars of the NBA Summer League is second chances.
While we often focus on the just-drafted rookies and handful of players (at most) on each team who could make an NBA roster the next season, a lot of what happens at Summer League is often dismissed guys getting another chance to prove they deserve get paid to play basketball (in the NBA or overseas).
Count Royce White among them. The former first-round pick has said he wants to make an NBA comeback, which will start this summer in Las Vegas, very possibly with the Los Angeles Clippers, reports Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN In Minnesota.
White is the perfect candidate for a Summer League second chance. He is just 24, and his potential as a 6’8″ point forward had him drafted No. 16 by the Rockets. His talent should intrigue teams.
The challenge for teams is White has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder that includes a fear of flying, and he wanted accommodations to help him adjust. Teams felt the couldn’t, or they just wouldn’t. As one executive told Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN in talking about Larry Sanders — the Bucks star dealing with depression and anxiety issues — team’s don’t deal well with handling of mental issues.
It’s not likely White makes it all the way back to the NBA. But to give him a chance and take a look, that’s what the Summer League is for.
The Bucks reached a buyout deal with Larry Sanders a couple of weeks ago, after Sanders needed time off for both personal reasons and league-mandated suspensions for violating the drug policy earlier this season.
There were different numbers reported as to just how much Milwaukee would be on the hook for, and for how long.
But we now have some clarity on the matter, and it looks as though the Bucks will choose to take as long as allowed under the league’s collective bargaining agreement to financially sort things out.
From Gery Woelfel of JournalTimes.com:
In recent days, league sources claim the Bucks will use every year they are allotted under the NBA’s “stretch provision.” And that means the Bucks will pay Sanders in annual increments of approximately $1.9 million over a seven-year period. That amount will be applied to the Bucks’ salary cap each season through the 2021-2022 season.
The stretch provision allows teams to make their payments for twice the number of years remaining on a contract, plus an additional year. Sanders has three years remaining on his contract.
Sanders, who was twice suspended by the NBA for drug infractions – last season for five games and 10 games this season – will thus collect about $22 million – or half of his original $44 million deal.
It’s a small hit in terms of the actual cap space the agreement will take up, but it will be a long and painful reminder that the team gave Sanders too much too soon, when some signs were there that could have indicated that this might not have been the wisest of decisions.
Bucks general manager John Hammond and Bucks owner Herb Kohl made the egregious decision to give Sanders a contract extension in August of 2013.
It immediately brought wide-spread disbelief around the NBA, especially considering Sanders had only one quality season with the Bucks, had several run-ins with teammates and still had another season remaining on his contract before he became a restricted free agent.
Sanders reportedly has no interest in pursuing basketball at this time, as he looks to get his personal life in order first.
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