Bucks Rumors

Warriors’ Potential Pursuit Of Giannis Doesn’t Concern Bucks

Because he’s a superstar in a smaller market, speculation about Giannis Antetokounmpo leaving Milwaukee figures to continue until the 2019 MVP inks a long-term extension with the Bucks.

Rumors about the Warriors looming as a threat to lure Antetokounmpo to the Bay Area popped up this week during a Ramona Shelburne appearance on ESPN’s Get Up (video link). That chatter has some within the NBA worried that Golden State will again shift the league’s landscape within the next couple years. However, it doesn’t appear that Milwaukee is worried about that scenario.

“Keeping Giannis, it’s a focus obviously,” a Bucks front-office source tells Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. “But fighting the Warriors is not a focus. The Warriors are not the concern in the least. They’d have a long way to go to get him to Golden State, they’d have to give away a lot. He has never given any indication that he wants to leave Milwaukee. So a lot of that stuff, it is more chatter than anything.”

Antetokounmpo, who can’t hit the free agent market until the summer of 2021, is eligible to sign an extension with Milwaukee next offseason. The Bucks plan on offering him a super-max deal as soon as they are able to.

As for the Warriors, they currently have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and D’Angelo Russell on maximum-salary contracts, with Draymond Green making close to the max. Those four players will earn a combined $137.8MM during the 2021/22 season, so as Deveney’s source notes, Golden State would have to make some serious roster changes to realistically make a play for Antetokounmpo.

Horst: Bucks Will Offer Giannis Antetokounmpo Super-Max

Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will be primed for a massive super-max extension next summer and the Bucks are already looking forward to locking him up long-term.

At a recent town hall, GM Jon Horst addressed one fan’s question about Antetokounmpo’s contractual status.

“The answer for now is that we can’t negotiate anything,” Horst said.  “So Giannis, basically a year from now will be eligible for a super-max extension. At that time, of course, he will be offered a super-max extension.”

Antetokounmpo, 24, is coming off an incredible 2018/19 campaign in which he averaged 27.7 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 5.9 APG in 72 games for Milwaukee. As the reigning MVP, Antetokounmpo’s earning potential skyrockets and he would be in line for the largest contract in NBA history.

The Bucks could potentially offer the “Greek Freak” a five-year, $247MM extension next summer, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks. While it remains to be seen if Antetokounmpo commits to Milwaukee long-term next summer, another strong year and extended playoff push could help persuade him.

Trevor Booker Works Out For Team

Rod Thorn Expected To Join Wizards As Advisor

Hall-of-Fame NBA executive Rod Thorn is expected to join the Wizards soon in an advisory role, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link).

A former NBA player, Thorn began his post-playing career as a coach before shifting to management positions. He spent time as the Bulls’ general manager, the Nets’ GM, the Sixers’ president, and the league’s executive vice president (and later president) of basketball operations. Since 2015, Thorn has served as a special consultant to Bucks ownership.

It’s not clear how extensive Thorn’s responsibilities would be in his new position with the Wizards. The franchise has spent the last couple months reshaping its front office, with Tommy Sheppard taking over for Ernie Grunfeld as the club’s new head of basketball operations.

Former NFL executive Sashi Brown, ex-Clippers executive Johnny Rogers, and longtime NBA player Antawn Jamison are among Washington’s other recent front office additions.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo Draws Team USA’s Ire

The FIBA World Cup was bound to create some awkward moments among NBA players. One of those occurred at the end of Team USA’s 69-53 victory over Greece on Saturday, as ESPN’s Brian Windhorst details.

Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the older brother of reigning Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo, drew Team USA’s ire when he fouled Harrison Barnes from behind late in the game as Barnes went up for a dunk. Celtics forward Jaylen Brown and Giannis had to be separated afterward after exchanging words as Brown pointed toward Thanasis, according to Windhorst.

Bucks teammates Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are on Team USA’s roster.

The teams didn’t hold a postgame handshake in order to avoid another confrontation. Team USA was upset that Thanasis, who signed a two-year contract with Milwaukee in July, didn’t immediately apologize to Barnes, who was uninjured.

“The [lack of apology] escalated it,” Marcus Smart said to Windhorst and other media members. “At that moment, you’ve got to take it for what it is. Regardless of whether you feel like it was wrong or right, it was wrong.”

Giannis scored 15 points but sat out the fourth quarter. Greek officials said he was rested as the team tries to qualify for the quarterfinals on Monday. He was too upset to talk to the media afterward, according to an Associated Press report.

Team USA advanced to the quarterfinals with the victory.

Bledsoe Eligible To Be Traded

  • Trade restrictions on Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe lifted this week, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. Bledsoe couldn’t be dealt for six months after he signed a four-year, $70M extension on March 4. However, there are no indications Milwaukee, one of the favorites to win the championship, is looking to move Bledsoe.

12 NBA Salary Guarantees To Watch In October

The majority of the NBA players who are currently on non-guaranteed contracts won’t have their salaries for 2019/20 become fully guaranteed until January 10. That’s the league-wide salary guarantee date and the default deadline that applies to players who haven’t negotiated an earlier salary guarantee date.

Still, some players did negotiate an earlier trigger date, and the majority of those deadlines will arrive in October. At least a dozen players around the NBA are believed to have partial or full guarantees that will go into effect in October.

Now, it’s worth noting that salary guarantee dates are somewhat malleable. If the player’s camp agrees, a team can quietly move that deadline back, giving the club more time to make a decision on whether or not to fully invest in its player for the 2019/20 season. The player doesn’t necessarily have to agree, but he may be on board with postponing that deadline if the alternative is being waived and receiving none of his salary.

Most of our information related to salary guarantee dates is coming from the salary database at Basketball Insiders, and BI hasn’t published all the details on the latest signings from around the NBA yet. In other words, there could be a few more recently-signed players who have October salary guarantee dates.

For now though, these are the 12 players believed to have salary guarantee dates coming up next month:

Full guarantees:

  1. Ivan Rabb (Grizzlies): Partial guarantee of $371,758 increases to full guarantee of $1,618,520 salary if not waived by October 19.
  2. Chris Boucher (Raptors): Partial guarantee of $125,000 increases to full guarantee of $1,588,231 salary if not waived by first day of regular season.
  3. Malcolm Miller (Raptors): Partial guarantee of $150,000 increases to full guarantee of $1,588,231 salary if not waived by first day of regular season.
  4. Duncan Robinson (Heat): Partial guarantee of $1,000,000 increases to full guarantee of $1,416,852 salary if not waived by first day of regular season.
  5. Kenrich Williams (Pelicans): Partial guarantee of $200,000 increases to full guarantee of $1,416,852 salary if not waived by first day of regular season.

Partial guarantees:

  1. Christian Wood (Pistons): $1,645,357 salary becomes partially guaranteed ($822,679) if not waived before first day of regular season.
  2. Trey Burke (Sixers): Partial guarantee of $405,000 increases to $810,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $2,028,594).
  3. Jordan McRae (Wizards): Partial guarantee of $400,000 increases to $600,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $1,645,357).
  4. Dragan Bender (Bucks): Partial guarantee of $300,000 increases to $600,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $1,678,854).
  5. Ben McLemore (Rockets): Partial guarantee of $50,000 increases to $500,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $2,028,594).
  6. Kendrick Nunn (Heat): Partial guarantee of $150,000 increases to $450,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $1,416,852).
  7. William Howard (Jazz): Partial guarantee of $50,000 increases to $250,000 if not waived by first day of regular season (full salary is $898,310).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Suns Notes: Highsmith, Baynes, Booker

The Suns are working out Haywood Highsmith this week, Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops reports (Twitter link). The small forward, who split time between the Sixers and the G League last season, recently worked out for the Bucks as well.

Here’s more from Phoenix:

  • The Suns traded for Aron Baynes early in the summer and Gina Mizell of The Athletic hears that Phoenix is hopeful that he’ll serve as a mentor for Deandre Ayton. Mizell discussed Baynes with The Athletic’s Jared Weiss, who believes the big man’s skill set meshes well with Ayton’s and that the veteran center will be a positive influence in the locker room.
  • In the same piece, Weiss argues that new addition Dario Saric is the best frontcourt partner for Baynes. The scribe compares the Baynes-Saric fit to the Marcus Morris-Baynes combo in Boston last season.
  • Devin Booker decided not to play for Team USA so he could get healthy for the upcoming NBA season, though the decision didn’t sit well with everyone. ESPN’s Nick Friedell believes Booker’s move was “awful,” as he explained on The Jump.

NBA Teams With Full 20-Man Rosters

Training camps are still several weeks away from opening, but a number of NBA teams have already reached their 20-player offseason roster limits, either officially or unofficially.

Offseason rosters are fairly fluid. Teams will often sign a player to an Exhibit 10 contract to ensure he’ll receive a bonus if he spends time with their G League affiliate, then waive him days later. So the clubs with full 20-man rosters now won’t necessarily bring those specific 20 players to training camp. Still, it appears that at least a handful of teams may be done making roster moves until camps open.

With the help of our roster count tracker, here’s a breakdown:

Officially full 20-man rosters:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • Utah Jazz

While the Cavaliers are carrying 19 players on standard contracts and just one on a two-way deal, the six other teams listed here have an 18/2 split and probably won’t have their camp invitees compete for a two-way slot.

Still, a few roster decisions are likely in store for some teams on this list. The Grizzlies, for instance, are carrying 17 players with full or partial guarantees, and probably won’t still have Andre Iguodala on their roster by the time they set their 15-man regular season roster.

Unofficially full 20-man rosters:

  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Minnesota Timberwolves

Each of these three teams technically has 19 players under contract, with one roster spot still open. However, Kobi Simmons is expected to fill that final spot for the Hornets, Michael Beasley will do so for the Pistons, and Tyus Battle will be the Timberwolves‘ 20th man.

Very unofficially full 20-man rosters:

  • New Orleans Pelicans
  • New York Knicks

The Pelicans have 18 players under contract, but various post-draft reports in June indicated that they’d sign Jalen Adams, Aubrey Dawkins, and Javon Bess at some point. It’s possible one or more of those reports was erroneous, or the agreements fell apart. For now though, we’re assuming some combination of those players will fill out New Orleans’ 20-man roster.

The Knicks are in a similar boat, with 16 players officially signed and five other contract agreements reported. Deals with Kris Wilkes, V.J. King, and Amir Hinton were reported in June, while July and August reports indicated that New York would also sign Kenny Wooten and Lamar Peters. We’re still waiting to see if the team finalizes all those signings.

Sterling Brown Unlikely To Accept Settlement Offer

According to Alison Dirr of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the City of Milwaukee has authorized its city attorney to offer a $400K settlement to Bucks guard Sterling Brown regarding the lawsuit he filed against the city in response to police officers using a taser on him over a parking violation last year.

However, according to The Associated Press, it’s unlikely that Brown will accept the settlement, per one of his lawyers, because the settlement offer does not include an admission of liability by the city. Per the attorney, Brown will only consider settlement offers that include such an admission.

“I fully anticipate that any settlement that doesn’t include an admission that they violated Mr. Brown’s civil rights will go nowhere,” attorney Mark Thomsen said (via Dirr). “We can’t heal in this city without that.”

It’s commonplace as a condition in most if not all civil settlement agreements for neither party to admit liability. However, given the video evidence in this case, the fact that the police chief issued an apology for the incident, and Brown’s relatively lessened need for financial compensation, it’s no surprise that Brown is adamant that the city accept legal responsibility for the incident.