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.
It’s not very often you see a trade happen during the NBA Finals. Teams that aren’t still playing are allowed to make deals as soon as their seasons are over, but it’s just not something that happens frequently. However, hours before Game 4, the Bucks traded veteran Turkish forward Ersan Ilyasova to the Pistons, according to Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Ilyasova is an interesting fit in Detroit. He can fill the same stretch-four role that Ryan Anderson played on Stan Van Gundy’s Magic teams. He’s a career 37 percent three-point shooter and shot 38.9 percent from deep last season. Given Andre Drummond’s offensive limitations and Van Gundy’s system being heavily reliant on shooters, Ilyasova is a better frontcourt partner for Drummond than Greg Monroe. This trade is just the latest indication that Monroe will not be back in Detroit next season.
For the Bucks, this is a purely money-saving deal. Caron Butler’s $4.5 million and Shawne Williams’ $1.3 million for next season are fully unguaranteed. Assuming they are waived, the Bucks open up another $5.8 million in cap space. They already had plenty of room to make moves, but this extra cap space will allow them to add pieces even after they match a max or near-max offer for restricted free agent Khris Middleton.
Shawne Williams and Joel Freeland have each been suspended one game for “head-butting each other,” the league announced on Saturday via official release.
The incident occurred near the end of Portland’s blowout win over the Pistons on Friday, and seemed completely unnecessary.
Williams took offense to a shove from Meyers Leonard, and then when Freeland stepped to Williams to stick up for his teammate, Williams went for the headbutt, and Freeland responded in similar fashion.
Neither player is of great importance to his respective team, so this matters little in the grand scheme of things.
Williams will serve his suspension Saturday when the Pistons play the Jazz, while Freeland will serve his suspension on Sunday when the Blazers face the Raptors.