Bucks Rumors

Details, Reaction To Lakers Choosing Darvin Ham As Head Coach

The news broke on Friday that the Lakers had chosen Bucks assistant Darvin Ham as their new head coach. Ham was granted some power before he accepted the job on a four-year contract.

He’ll will be given a large amount of autonomy, including the ability to choose his own coaching staff, Dan Woike and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times report.. To that end, he’ll meet with current Lakers staff members next week.

Ham sold the Lakers’ brass with his ability to communicate and hold people accountable. They were so impressed by Ham that they passed over a planned interview with Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson and offered the Bucks assistant the job. Former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, the other finalist, was interviewed earlier in the week.

We have more on the Lakers’ coaching move:

  • While Ham has never been a head coach, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer gave him wide-ranging responsibilities to prepare him for a head coaching position, Jim Alexander of the Orange County Register writes. The fact that’s worked with Kobe Bryant and Giannis Antetokounmpo during his coaching career should suit him well on a team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
  • Speaking of Milwaukee’s two-time Most Valuable Player, Antetokounmpo told ESPNs Adrian Wojnarowski that the Lakers made the right choice (Twitter link). “I’m so happy for him. He’s the right fit for them,” he said. “He keeps it real with you. No BS at all. It’s about damn time. He deserves it more than anyone.”
  • Hiring someone with no head coaching experience to take over the Lakers might seem a little nuts but it could work out perfectly, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times opines. Plaschke notes that the Celtics reached the conference finals under first-year head coach Ime Udoka and the Pelicans are on the upswing with Willie Green. However, Ham will have a lot of difficult issues to fix, including the usage of Russell Westbrook.
  • The Lakers hired the best available candidate, Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes. Ham is a defensive-minded tactician who helped develop the Bucks’ championship defensive scheme. Rather than hiring a retread, they decided to step outside of their comfort zone and give a top assistant a chance to run the show.

Vet Minimum Deals Will Be Explored Again

  • Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer made a mistake playing George Hill over Jevon Carter against Boston, Eric Nehm of The Athletic opines. Budenholzer overestimated Hill’s postseason impact as he battled through an abdominal injury. Nehm explores numerous topics in his mailbag, including how Milwaukee could improve defensively in future postseasons.
  • With the Bucks near the luxury-tax threshold for the 2022/23 season, they’ll once again be looking for players who will sign at the veteran’s minimum, Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel notes. Owczarski looks at all of the team’s free agent decisions this summer, pointing out Milwaukee will only have the taxpayer mid-level exception at its disposal to sign outside free agents beyond those minimum-salary roster fillers.

2021/2022 All-NBA Teams Announced

The 2021/22 All-NBA teams have officially been announced by the NBA. For the fourth straight season, Bucks All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was unanimously selected to the All-NBA First Team by a voter panel of 100 media members. Antetokounmpo, 27, is making his sixth All-NBA team overall.

Antetokounmpo, reigning MVP Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, and Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic received the most votes. Suns All-Star shooting guard Devin Booker and Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid rounded out the list of top five vote-getters. Because the All-NBA teams, unlike the All-Star squads, require just one center per team, Embiid was relegated to an All-NBA Second Team placing.

Below is a list of the three All-NBA teams. Vote tallies are listed in parentheses next to player names. Five points were awarded to players for a First Team Vote, three points netted for a Second Team vote, and one for a Third Team vote. Antetokounmpo earned a perfect 500 points.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Jazz center Rudy Gobert and shooting guard Donovan Mitchell, Heat center Bam Adebayo and small forward Jimmy Butler, Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown, Bucks guards Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, Grizzlies shooting guard Desmond Bane, Suns small forward Mikal Bridges, Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray, and Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet all received All-NBA votes. Surprisingly, Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who played in just 29 games this season, also received a single vote.

As we previously outlined, the All-NBA selections come with significant financial ramifications. As a result of being named to All-NBA teams, Booker and Towns have become eligible for super-max extensions that would begin in 2024/25. If they’re signed this offseason, those deals would be for four years and would start at 35% of the ’24/25 cap. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN (via Twitter), they currently project to be worth $211MM apiece.

Young’s five-year contract extension, which was signed last August and will go into effect in 2022/23, will now be worth 30% of next season’s cap instead of 25% by virtue of his All-NBA selection. Based on a projected $122MM cap, that means it’ll be worth about $212MM instead of $177MM.

Jokic had already met the super-max requirements prior to this announcement, since he won last year’s MVP award — he’s eligible to sign a five-year, super-max extension this offseason and has said he plans to do so. Doncic, who signed a maximum-salary contract extension last summer, also previously met the super-max criteria by earning All-NBA nods in 2020 and 2021.

Notable players who are not eligible this offseason for super-max deals include Morant and Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine. As Marks tweets, Morant needs to make the All-NBA team again in 2023 to qualify for a starting salary worth 30% of the cap (instead of 25%) on his next deal.

LaVine, a free agent this offseason, would have been eligible to earn up to 35% of next season’s cap from the Bulls if he had made an All-NBA team, but will instead be able to earn no more than 30% of the ’22/23 cap on his next contract.

With their inclusions, Morant, Booker, and Young are making their All-NBA team debuts. Meanwhile, on the other side of the NBA aging curve, two 37-year-old veterans further cemented their Hall of Fame credentials during the 2021/22 season. James made his 18th All-NBA team, while Paul was named to his 11th All-NBA team.

Draft Notes: Sochan, Murray, Daniels, Walton, Mayer

Jeremy Sochan doesn’t mind being thought of as irritating, writes David Aldridge of The Athletic. The Baylor forward, who has gone from a fringe first-rounder to a likely lottery pick in a matter of months, sees aggressive, annoying defense as his ticket to success in the NBA.

“I’ve always had that little edge,” he said. “My mom, she was my first coach, and to this day, she tells me defense comes first. … She used to tell me to be cheeky, being able to see the play two steps ahead. So, I feel with that, being cheeky, maybe getting into people’s spaces, can separate their games, and they can play worse. There’s examples: Draymond (Green), Patrick (Beverley), Jrue (Holiday), so there’s so many. I feel like I can be one of those in the next step.”

Sochan was the main attraction Friday in Chicago at an eight-player workout staged by Tandem Sports + Entertainment. At least nine NBA teams had representatives at the session, according to Aldridge, including the Spurs and Knicks, who both interviewed Sochan during the Draft Combine. San Antonio holds the ninth pick and New York has No. 11, which is about the range where Sochan is expected to be taken.

“We did a little bit (of defense) at the end, with the two-on-two, the screen work, but you can’t really show too much,” Sochan said after the session ended. “I feel like they’re going to have that in mind, and when I go to team workouts, I’ll be able to show a little bit more of that. And whoever picks me, I’ll be able to show that in practices and games.”

There’s more on the draft:

  • Iowa’s Keegan Murray will turn 22 before he plays his first NBA game, but he doesn’t believe his age will discourage teams from drafting him, according to James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. “I’d say I’m a 21-year-old in an 18-year-old’s body,” Murray said. “In high school, I was a 5-foot-10 sophomore and ended up growing to 6-foot-8 my senior year of high school. So I’m a late bloomer in that sense, so for me, I’m young. I feel young. … If you’re comparing me on age and not what I do on the court, then maybe that’s another conversation. I feel like my ceiling is as high as anyone else in the draft.”
  • Dyson Daniels is starting to get some consideration as a top-five pick after an outstanding pro day at the combine, tweets Jonathan Givony of ESPN. The Australian swingman, who played with G League Ignite this season, impressed scouts with his shooting and “immense potential,” according to Givony.
  • North Carolina guard Kerwin Walton worked out for some teams this week, but he may decide to return to college and transfer, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Walton’s workouts included the Timberwolves and Bucks, and he has an upcoming session with the Hornets, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link).
  • Baylor’s Matthew Mayer plans to take his name out of the draft and transfer to another school, per Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog“I’ve decided that I’m coming back to college, but don’t know where,” he said.

Marcus Smart, Mikal Bridges Head All-Defensive Team

Marcus Smart, Mikal Bridges, Rudy Gobert, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jaren Jackson Jr. comprise the 2021/22 All-Defensive First Team, the NBA announced in a press release.

Smart, who was voted Defensive Player of the Year, received the most points with 198 (99 first-place votes), but he was left off of one voter’s ballot. It’s his third All-Defensive nod, all First Team.

DPOY runner-up Bridges was second with 193 points (it’s his first All-Defensive team), followed by third place finisher Gobert (171), a three-time DPOY who has now been voted to the First Team for the sixth straight season.

Antetokounmpo, the ’19/20 DPOY, was voted to his fourth consecutive First Team. He was also selected to the Second Team in ’16/17, so it’s his fifth nod overall.

Jackson, who led the league in blocked shots per game at 2.27, makes his first All-Defensive Team, edging Bam Adebayo by just one point (153 to 152) for the First Team. It’s the third straight season Adebayo has been selected to the Second Team.

Jrue Holiday earns his fourth All-Defensive honor, now owning two Firsts and two Seconds. He also earned a $120K bonus for his efforts, per Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link), which will increase the Bucks‘ luxury tax payment to about $52MM.

Matisse Thybulle was selected to the Second Team for the second straight year, while Robert Williams earns his first nod. Williams has a $223,215 bonus attached to his rookie scale extension, but he won’t earn it for his efforts this season because he’s in the final season of his rookie contract. However, the award will change his cap hit for ’22/23 (up to $10,937,502), because he’s now considered likely to achieve an All-D nod again next season, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks relays (via Twitter).

Draymond Green, the ’16/17 DPOY, was the final selection to the Second Team. It’s his seventh All-Defensive Team overall (four Firsts, three Seconds). Green is now second among all active players in All-Defensive Team awards, only trailing Chris Paul (nine). He was previously tied with LeBron James at six.

Here are both All-Defensive teams in full, with their voting point totals noted in parentheses. Players received two points for a First Team vote and one point for a Second Team vote.

2021/22 All-Defensive First Team:

2021/22 All-Defensive Second Team:

A total of 24 other players received votes: 10 guards, 11 forwards and three centers. Among the group that missed the cut, Fred VanVleet was the top guard with 41 points, Evan Mobley was the top forward with 13, and Joel Embiid was the top center with 33. The full results can be found here.

One thing worth noting, which I personally disagree with: media members with ballots are asked to select two guards, two forwards and one center for each team, and vote for players “at the position they play regularly,” which is counterintuitive in the modern NBA, where positions increasingly matter less and less. “Players who received votes at multiple positions were slotted at the position at which they received the most voting points,” per the release.

Forcing voters to shoehorn players into positions is a poor process. For example, Adebayo starts at center, but is listed as a forward; Bridges is listed at guard, but starts at small forward. I’m not saying those players were undeserving, far from it — but it’s an irritating and outdated inconsistency.

In my opinion, the best defensive players should be on the All-Defensive teams, regardless of position. I’d also like to see a third All-D team so more recognition is given to players for their efforts on the less glamorous end of the court.

Ham, Stotts, Atkinson Are Finalists For Lakers’ Coaching Job

Bucks assistant Darvin Ham and former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts have advanced to the final round of interviews for the Lakers‘ head coaching job, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Former Nets coach and current Warriors assistant Kenny Atkinson is also among the Lakers’ finalists, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), who says the next round of meetings is expected to occur in person in Los Angeles.

Charania doesn’t definitively state that the Lakers have eliminated all but those three candidates, but his wording suggests that’s the case. Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin, Bucks assistant Charles Lee, and former Warriors coach Mark Jackson were among the other candidates who reportedly interviewed with L.A.

Ham, a veteran assistant on Mike Budenholzer‘s staff in Milwaukee, is said to be a “serious candidate” for the Hornets’ head coaching vacancy as well. Ham has received consideration from multiple teams with head coaching openings in recent years and interviewed with Sacramento before the Kings hired Mike Brown.

Stotts, who is also in the mix for the Charlotte job, spent 10 years in Portland before he and the organization reached a mutual agreement to part ways after the end of the 2020/21 season. Stotts ranks second on the Blazers’ all-time wins list with 402 and previously had brief head coaching stints in Atlanta and Milwaukee.

Atkinson led the Nets to 118-190 (.383) record from 2016-20, though that underwhelming mark was due in large part to the fact that he took over a rebuilding team. He took Brooklyn to the playoffs in 2019, but was let go the following season after the team added Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Like the Lakers’ other two finalists, he is believed to still be a contender for the Hornets’ job.

The Lakers are seeking a head coach who can lead the team back to the postseason – and, ideally, title contention – following a disappointing 2021/22 campaign that resulted in Frank Vogel‘s ouster.

2022 NBA Draft Picks By Team

Not only did the Thunder move up in Tuesday’s draft lottery to claim this year’s No. 2 overall pick, but they’re also one of just three teams with four picks in the 2022 draft. No team’s 2022 selections are more valuable than Oklahoma City’s — in addition to the second overall pick, the Thunder control No. 12, No. 30, and No. 34.

The Spurs and Timberwolves also each own four 2022 draft picks, with San Antonio controlling three first-rounders and No. 38, while Minnesota has No. 19 and three second-rounders.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, four clubs don’t currently own any 2022 draft picks. The Lakers, Suns, and Jazz are three of those teams, and either the Sixers or the Nets will be the fourth, depending on whether Brooklyn decides to acquire Philadelphia’s first-rounder or defer it to 2023.

To present a clearer picture of which teams are most – and least – stocked with picks for the 2022 NBA draft, we’ve rounded up all 58 selections by team in the space below. Let’s dive in…


Teams with more than two picks:

  • Oklahoma City Thunder (4): 2, 12, 30, 34
  • San Antonio Spurs (4): 9, 20, 25, 38
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (4): 19, 40, 48, 50
  • Orlando Magic (3): 1, 32, 35
  • Sacramento Kings (3): 4, 37, 49
  • Indiana Pacers (3): 6, 31, 58
  • Portland Trail Blazers (3): 7, 36, 57
  • New Orleans Pelicans (3): 8, 41, 52
  • Charlotte Hornets (3): 13, 15, 45
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (3): 14, 39, 56
  • Memphis Grizzlies (3): 22, 29, 47
  • Golden State Warriors (3): 28, 51, 55

Teams with two picks:

  • Houston Rockets: 3, 17
  • Detroit Pistons: 5, 46
  • Washington Wizards: 10, 54
  • New York Knicks: 11, 42
  • Atlanta Hawks: 16, 44

Teams with one pick:

  • Chicago Bulls: 18
  • Denver Nuggets: 21
  • Brooklyn Nets: 23
    • Note: The Nets have the option of deferring their acquisition of this Sixers pick to 2023. That decision must be made by June 1.
  • Milwaukee Bucks: 24
  • Dallas Mavericks: 26
  • Miami Heat: 27
  • Toronto Raptors: 33
  • Los Angeles Clippers: 43
  • Boston Celtics: 53

Teams with no picks:

  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Philadelphia 76ers
    • Note: The Sixers will retain their first-rounder if the Nets defer their acquisition of that pick to 2023. That decision must be made by June 1.
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Utah Jazz

And-Ones: Musa, Scola, Mannion, Nigeria

Former Nets wing Dzanan Musa, a first-round pick in 2018, has been named the Most Valuable Player of Liga ACB, Spain’s top basketball league, for the 2021/22 season, per an official press release.

Fans, reporters, players, and coaches vote on the award, and Musa was the top pick among all four groups, earning the maximum 100 points. Ex-NBA forward Nikola Mirotic finished fourth with 30 points.

After appearing in just 49 games in his two seasons with Brooklyn from 2018-20, Musa returned to Europe and has played in Turkey and Spain over the last two years. He averaged 20.1 PPG, 5.1 RPG, and 3.1 APG on .494/.381/.787 shooting in 29 Liga ACB games (32.0 MPG) for CB Breogan this season.

Former NBA forward Mirza Teletovic stated earlier this year that he’s confident Musa, who just turned 23 years old this month, will return stateside sooner or later.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Veteran forward Luis Scola, who played in the NBA from 2007-17, will exercise his option to assume majority ownership of the Italian team Pallacanestro Varese, the club announced in a press release. Once the paperwork is official, Scola will own 51% of the franchise’s shares.
  • Former Warriors guard Nico Mannion is drawing some interest from NBA teams as a possible Summer League player, tweets George Zakkas of SDNA in Greece. Mannion remains under contract with Virtus Bologna in Italy for the time being.
  • Having opened a league office in Lagos earlier this year, the NBA is on the lookout for the next Giannis Antetokounmpo in Nigeria, according to Lindsay du Plessis of ESPN, who spoke to NBA Africa VP Gbemisola Abudu about NBA Nigeria’s goals in the country.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic takes a look at what the offseason for the holds for the four teams eliminated in round two, examining the key areas for the Grizzlies, Bucks, Sixers, and Suns to address this summer.

Darvin Ham “Serious Candidate” For Hornets’ Coaching Job; Terry Stotts To Interview

Bucks assistant Darvin Ham will get a second interview with the Hornets for their head coaching vacancy and has become a serious candidate for the position, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Former Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts will also interview this week, sources tell Charania (Twitter link).

Ham, 48, has been an assistant in Milwaukee since 2018 and coached under Mike Budeholzer in Atlanta as well. He is a perennial candidate for open head coaching jobs and interviewed for the Kings’ position that ultimately went to Mike Brown.

Stotts, 64, spent 10 years in Portland before he and the organization reached a mutual agreement to part ways after the end of last season. He ranks second on the Blazers’ all-time wins list with 402.

A recent Substack report by Marc Stein indicates that Mike D’Antoni, currently serving as a coaching advisor with the Pelicans, is in “a strong position” to be Charlotte’s next head coach. Even though defensive lapses were one factor that led to James Borrego‘s dismissal, the front office is seeking a veteran head coach and is intrigued by what LaMelo Ball could do as the focal point of D’Antoni’s offense.

Stein notes that D’Antoni has a strong relationship with Hornets president of basketball operations Mitch Kupchak, who previously hired him with the Lakers. Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com also identified D’Antoni as the frontrunner for the job last week.

Charlotte has cast a wide net in its search for Borrego’s replacement, with former Lakers coach Frank Vogel the most recent big name to interview. The team has also reportedly talked to Kenny AtkinsonSean SweeneyCharles Lee, and David Vanterpool.

You can follow all the latest coaching rumors in our head coaching search tracker.

Bucks Notes: Middleton, Portis, Connaughton, Matthews

The Bucks‘ defense performed relatively well in their second-round series vs. Boston, holding a Celtics team that led the NBA with a 122.6 offensive rating after the All-Star break to a 108.8 mark in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. However, Milwaukee’s own offense struggled — the team ranked third in the league with a 114.3 offensive rating in the regular season, but its 99.7 second-round mark ranked last by a wide margin among the eight remaining clubs.

One reason for Milwaukee’s offensive struggles was Khris Middleton‘s absence due to an MCL sprain. The Bucks were left wondering after Sunday’s Game 7 loss whether they’d be the ones advancing to face Miami in the Eastern Finals if their second-leading scorer had been available vs. Boston.

“Obviously, we weren’t trying to make excuses, ‘We don’t have Khris, and oh, it’s going to be tough for us.’ No, no, no,” Giannis Antetokounmpo said on Sunday, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “I think everybody went out there and competed, gave everything they had and that’s what we did from Game 3 against Chicago until Game 7 against Boston. But, if we had him, maybe it would have been a different story. But we didn’t.”

“We could’ve used him,” Jrue Holiday said of Middleton. “We definitely could’ve used him. He makes big shots and big plays on both ends, but especially the offensive end. Yeah, we missed him, but we also want him to be OK for the future, too. Yeah, he’s missed.”

Middleton confirmed on Monday that his MCL injury was a Grade 2 sprain and said it will heal on its own in the offseason without any surgical intervention (Twitter links via Eric Nehm of The Athletic and Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Middleton added that he wanted to play in Games 6 and 7 vs. Boston and didn’t experience any setbacks, but team doctors said the risk was too high for him to return so soon (Twitter link via Owczarski).

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • Asked about his upcoming player option decision, Bobby Portis spoke at length about how much he has enjoyed his two years in Milwaukee, but deferred to his agent on his contract situation. “That’s on the organization and my agent to figure that out,” Portis said (Twitter link via Nehm). “I don’t really discuss numbers or contracts or none of that. I love it here. I love being a Buck, but it definitely comes down to them making it work.” The Bucks would have Early Bird rights on Portis, who has certainly outplayed his $4.56MM option.
  • In his preview of the Bucks’ offseason, ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) takes a closer look at Portis’ free agency, noting that the Bucks could offer him up to about $22.6MM over two years using the Early Bird exception. Marks also explores potential new contracts for Pat Connaughton, who can reach free agency by turning down his player option, and Middleton, who is extension-eligible.
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype previewed the Bucks’ summer too, examining the upcoming free agent and extension decisions facing the team.
  • Veteran wing Wesley Matthews told reporters on Monday that he’ll definitely continue his NBA career and would like be back with the Bucks (Twitter link via Owczarski). The 35-year-old said that he hopes not to have to wait until December to sign his next contract, as he did this past season.