Report: Bucks owner reaches out to Junior Bridgeman as minority investor, Kareem wants gig, too

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We’ve told you before that current Milwaukee Bucks owner Herb Kohl is looking for more investors to come in, to help keep the team in Milwaukee. It’s a few years out until their lease is up (2017) but a new arena is needed there, even Commissioner Adam Silver has said as much. That leaves other cities and people looking to buy a team and move it (yes, maybe Seattle) lurking in the wings).

Among the people Kohl reached out to is former Buck player and successful entrepreneur Junior Bridgeman.

This according to the Journal-Sentinel, via Bucksketball.

A source with knowledge of Herb Kohl’s efforts to bring in new investors to the Milwaukee Bucks as a way of keeping the team in Milwaukee, said Bridgeman, one of the wealthiest African-Americans in the country, has been approached about investing in the team, and he expressed interest.

Kohl has retained Allen & Co., of New York, to locate potential investors. Bridgeman would seem to be an ideal candidate for the Bucks. He knows the game. He played in Milwaukee. And he is a successful businessman.

Bridgeman played a dozen years in the NBA and 10 of those were in Milwaukee. He still holds the record for most games played by anyone in a Bucks uniform (711).

After his playing days Bridgeman got into fast food franchising and now owns 160 Wendy’s, more than 100 Chili’s and an assortment of other restaurants. Forbes estimated his net worth at north of $200 million.

Bridgeman is currently a minority investor in the new Sacramento Kings ownership group, if he were to buy into the Bucks he’d have to sell that share. Not hard or a big deal, but a hurdle.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar does not have any role with the Bucks — but he would like one. In some capacity, not necessarily just as an investor.

That’s what he told the Associated Press.

“If I get a call, I will definitely offer my services,” said Abdul-Jabbar, the franchise’s career leading scorer with 14,211 points. “There’s nothing on the table right now. A couple of people have asked me and if I had the chance to be part of this franchise again, I would take it….

“They have to get their business model right,” Abdul-Jabbar said Monday. “I hope that the Bucks are able to sort it all out and get on a good footing. You can’t win it all unless you get the right players and you can’t get the right players unless you’re really in a good position as a business.”

We’ll see if that call comes for Kareem. His years of being aloof and unresponsive to fans and people around the league have kept him out of coaching jobs and more — people don’t go out of their way to help people who are not nice to them. But maybe the Bucks — the franchise he carried to its one and only title — would be a place to get his foot back in the door.

Rumor: Bulls’ belief in Zach LaVine waning

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Zach LaVine was the centerpiece in the Bulls’ return for trading a star. Chicago was reportedly willing to match a max offer sheet for LaVine in restricted free agency.

But maybe the Bulls have at least somewhat soured on him.

Nick Friedell of ESPN:

I don’t know why the Bulls would be down on LaVine now. I also don’t know why they were so high on him the first place.

LaVine is a good 3-point shooter and impressive dunker. But, despite his athleticism, his all-around contributions are lacking. He also hasn’t looked completely over his February 2017 ACL tear.

This leak could just be strategy. Instead of trying to scare off teams with the threat of matching any offer to LaVine, Chicago could be trying to dissuade suitors by projecting its own reluctance.

The Bulls don’t want to overpay LaVine. But they also don’t want to lose him for nothing.

Will anyone make a hard push for the 23-year-old? He surely wants a lucrative long-term contract, whether he re-signs directly with Chicago or gets an offer sheet. But, if the Bulls aren’t sold on him, I’m not sure any team will is.

LaVine’s qualifying offer will be $4,333,932. That might wind up his next salary.

PBT Extra: Grading the top of the NBA Draft

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The Phoenix Suns got it right at the top of the draft — they took Deandre Ayton.

But what of their move to trade for Mikal Bridges, the No. 10 pick, surrendering a valuable pick and the potential of Zhaire Smith for what should be a solid “3&D” wing to go with their athletic stars?

How did the Kings do at No. 2? What about Dallas’ big trade up to land Luka Doncic at three, or the Atlanta bet on Trae Young?

In this PBT Extra, I grade the top 10 picks in the draft, from the moves I like (I think Dallas did well) to ones I’m not sold on (sorry Chicago).

 

Have questions leading up to free agency? Submit your questions via e-mail for our PBT Mailbag feature. Drop us a line at pbtmailbag@gmail.com.

Lakers’ recruiting pitch for Paul George leaks

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LeBron James doesn’t want elaborate pitches in free agency.

Paul George never said that, though.

So, the Lakers are apparently planning to put some showbiz into their recruitment.

Robin Lundberg of Sports Illustrated, citing a “Hollywood source,” revealed a Lakers pitch for George. The direction:

Less Morgan Freeman/Denzel Washington, and more Jamie Foxx. A bit more edge an attitude to their voice, and a bit less aspirational

The text:

When you were just a kid

In your room
Dreaming from Palmdale

We were dreaming too.

While you dreamt, we built – built for your arrival

And while we dreamt, you built too
Becoming one of the world’s greatest.

Life’s most powerful dream are the one we realize ourselves.

The ones that turn us into legends.
That kid from Palmdale always knew it
Now the world will, too

Who wrote this, noted storyteller Kobe Bryant?

My bigger question: Did or did not the Lakers, who’ve gone to great lengths to make their interest in George known, want this to leak before the official start of free agency?

Report: No divide between Chris Paul and Rockets over contract

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That rumor of tension between Chris Paul and the Rockets over his contract?

Sam Amick of USA Today:

As for the recent report from Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard that there are rising tensions between the two sides because Paul wants the full max and isn’t sure if he’ll get it, two people with knowledge of the situation refuted the idea there is any friction between the sides.

Remember, everyone who leaks something has an agenda. But I find this report far more credible than the initial rumor.

Paul’s max projects to be about $205 million over five years. That’s a lot to commit to a 33-year-old, but Paul took a discount to facilitate an opt-in-and-trade to Houston last year. He expects to be made whole.

Until Broussard’s report, all indications were the Rockets would appease him. Barring more information, that should remain the expectation.