- TCU sharpshooter Desmond Bane has interviewed with nearly every team in the NBA, telling reporters today that he has spoken to 26 clubs (Twitter link via Brian Lewis of The New York Post). Bane, the No. 41 prospect on ESPN’s big board, said that his agent thinks the Suns, Sixers, and Bucks have shown the most interest in him, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (Twitter link).
Potential top-10 selection Precious Achiuwa has interviewed with a number of lottery teams, Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype tweets. Achiuwa, a power forward who averaged 15.8 PPG and 10.8 MPG as a Memphis freshman last season, has talked to the Kings, Wizards, Knicks, Nets, Cavaliers, Suns, Spurs, Pistons and Thunder, among others. He’s currently listed at No. 10 overall on ESPN’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects.
We have more on the draft:
- Duke point guard Tre Jones has spoken with the Bucks, Suns, Thunder and Timberwolves, among others, according to Kennedy (Twitter link). Jones had an interview lined up with the Bulls, but it was postponed due to their coaching change. Jones anticipates he’ll be a mid- to late-first round pick. He’s currently listed at No. 34 overall by ESPN.
- Combo guard RJ Hampton, who played last season in Australia’s NBL, has talked to the Wizards, Kings, Thunder, Pistons, Suns, Trail Blazers, Knicks and Bulls, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington tweets. He posted modest stats in 15 NBL games before suffering a hip flexor injury and returning the U.S. Hampton is currently ranked No. 13 by ESPN and Hughes speculates he could be a late lottery steal like Michael Porter Jr., who sat out for a year after getting drafted by the Nuggets.
- Stanford point guard Tyrell Terry has interviewed with the Suns, Thunder, 76ers, Raptors, Knicks, Nets, Warriors, Timberwolves and Bulls, Kennedy tweets. He’s pegged at No. 42 in ESPN’s rankings. He averaged 14.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG and 3.2 APG as a freshman.
Bucks management had to be encouraged by Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s first public comments after winning his second consecutive MVP on Friday. Appearing from Greece on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” Antetokounmpo speculated about a lengthy future with the franchise (Twitter link).
“As long as everybody’s on the same page and as long as everybody’s fighting for the same thing,” he said, “fighting for the same thing every single day, which is to be a champion, I don’t see why not to be in Milwaukee for the next 15 years.”
Antetokounmpo could go a long way toward making that happen by accepting a maximum extension that the Bucks have promised to put on the table this offseason. That new contract would take effect with the 2021/22 season and could be worth more than $250MM over five years, depending on what happens with the salary cap.
If Antetokounmpo turns down the extension and opts for free agency, he’ll become the top player in what could be a loaded market next summer. The Bucks could still offer more years and a higher salary than any of their competitors, but they would prefer to get a long-term deal completed as soon as possible.
Bobby Marks of ESPN offers a preview of what the market for Antetoukoumpo might look like. He notes that Milwaukee has strung together two straight impressive regular seasons and won’t need a full roster overhaul to be in the title race. Marks suggests the Bucks might be interested in Thunder guard Chris Paul, but isn’t sure if a package of Eric Bledsoe, Robin Lopez (if he opts into his current deal), Ersan Ilyasova, D.J. Wilson and draft picks would be enough to get a deal done.
If Antetoukoumpo opts for free agency, Marks has Miami in the “driver’s seat” to land him. The Heat already have two All-Stars in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, along with a collection of young talent. They can keep their current core together by offering free agent guard Goran Dragic a one-year, $20MM contract this summer, then renouncing his rights to clear room for Antetokounmpo in 2021 and re-signing Dragic with their $4.8MM room exception.
Marks lists the Raptors, Mavericks and Knicks as other serious contenders to add Antetoukoumpo in free agency, along with the Lakers if LeBron James is willing to sacrifice $16.2MM in his 2021/22 salary.
1:05pm: Antetokounmpo has officially been voted the NBA MVP for 2019/20, the league announced in a press release. The full voting results, which include LeBron James as runner-up and James Harden in third place, can be found right here.
10:15am: Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named MVP for the second straight season, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The official announcement won’t come until 2pm Eastern Time on NBA TV, but sources tell Woj that the Bucks’ star will be the winner.
The Bucks hope Antetokounmpo will agree to an extension this year, but Marks notes that he could elect to sign a one-year deal with an option next summer that would be worth 30% of the salary cap. He could then cash in on the super-max the following offseason, giving him five years at 35% of the cap.
Antetokounmpo could only get those figures from the Bucks, giving them a financial advantage in their hopes of keeping their franchise player. Antetokounmpo hasn’t offered much indication of his plans for the future, but he did say he won’t ask for a trade this offseason, and he met recently with team ownership to discuss the direction of the franchise.
By winning back-to-back MVPs, Antetokounmpo joins an elite list that includes 10 other players, with Golden State’s Stephen Curry the most recent to accomplish it. Antetokounmpo was also named Defensive Player of the Year, making him the third player to win that award and MVP honors in the same season, along with Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
Antetokounmpo posted his best statistical season, with career-high averages of 29.5 points and 13.6 rebounds in 63 games. He also averaged 5.6 assists per night and shot 55.3% from the floor in leading the Bucks to the league’s best regular season record. LeBron James and James Harden were the other MVP finalists.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2019/20 season. Voting was completed prior to the league’s restart in July and was based on results through March 11.
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lakers forward LeBron James, widely considered the two frontrunners for this year’s MVP award, were the only two players to be unanimously voted to the All-NBA First Team this season. Rockets guard James Harden, Lakers big man Anthony Davis, and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounded out the First Team.
The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis and LeBron scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.
All-NBA First Team
- Guard: James Harden, Rockets (474)
- Guard: Luka Doncic, Mavericks (416)
- Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks (500)
- Forward: LeBron James, Lakers (500)
- Center: Anthony Davis, Lakers (455)
All-NBA Second Team
- Guard: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers (284)
- Guard: Chris Paul, Thunder (199)
- Forward: Kawhi Leonard, Clippers (371)
- Forward: Pascal Siakam, Raptors (168)
- Center: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets (311)
All-NBA Third Team
- Guard: Ben Simmons, Sixers (61)
- Guard: Russell Westbrook, Rockets (56)
- Forward: Jayson Tatum, Celtics (153)
- Forward: Jimmy Butler, Heat (147)
- Center: Rudy Gobert, Jazz (110)
Among the players who just missed the cut were Bucks forward Khris Middleton (82 points), Sixers center Joel Embiid (79), Wizards guard Bradley Beal (32), and Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (26). A total of 11 other players also received at least one All-NBA vote — the full results can be found right here.
Today’s announcement is great news from a financial perspective for Siakam and Simmons. As a result of Siakam’s Second Team nod and Simmons’ Third Team spot, both players will earn starting salaries worth 28% of the 2020/21 salary cap, rather than 25%. Players who sign rookie scale extensions can earn maximum salaries up to 30% of the cap if they negotiate Rose Rule language into their deals.
The exact value of those new contracts will depend on where exactly the ’20/21 cap lands. Assuming it stays the same as in 2019/20 ($109.141MM), Siakam’s four-year extension would be worth $136.9MM instead of the $122.2MM it’d be worth if it started at 25% of the cap. Simmons’ five-year pact would be worth $177.2MM rather than $158.3MM.
While it’s also worth noting that All-NBA berths are of great importance to players seeking super-max contracts, there aren’t any real developments to report on that front as a result of this year’s votes. Antetokounmpo and Gobert remain eligible for super-max extensions, but they’d already qualified based on their previous accolades.
Embiid would have become super-max eligible in 2021 if he had earned an All-NBA spot, but he’ll need to make an All-NBA team next season to gain eligibility now, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.
Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our spring poll. Beal, Embiid, and Devin Booker were your picks who didn’t make the official list. Of the 12 who made it, 11 made the exact team you projected, with Paul (who made Second Team instead of Third Team) representing the only exception.
Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
While a potential Bucks trade for Chris Paul has been the subject of much speculation since Milwaukee was eliminated from the postseason last week, it’s not a foregone conclusion that the club will pursue such a deal. According to Sam Amick and Eric Nehm of The Athletic, sources with knowledge of Bucks ownership’s thinking say it’s “highly unlikely” that the team will seriously go after the Thunder point guard.
As Amick and Nehm explain, the exorbitant cost of Paul’s contract ($41.4MM in 2020/21, with a $44.2MM player option for ’21/22) is one factor working against a trade. There also may be concerns about bringing a strong personality like CP3’s onto a roster that already has a superstar leader in Giannis Antetokounmpo, according to The Athletic’s duo. All indications are that Milwaukee would prefer to look elsewhere for upgrades, per Amick and Nehm.
Here’s more on the Bucks from The Athletic’s latest report:
- The reported three-hour lunch meeting between Antetokounmpo and Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry last Friday also included Bucks senior VP Alex Lasry (Marc’s son), Giannis’ brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo, and their agent Alex Saratsis, league sources tell Amick and Nehm. According to The Athletic, all parties left that meeting “in good spirits and with a sense of synergy.”
- While Antetokounmpo’s future remains unknown, a source with knowledge of the Bucks’ perspective tells Amick and Nehm that they’ve long had confidence that the reigning MVP will ultimately sign a super-max contract to stay with the franchise.
- The Bucks were more concerned about their outside shooting issues in the playoffs than about the defense the Heat employed against Antetokounmpo, per The Athletic. That’s one reason why Eric Bledsoe – who has made just 22.9% of his three-pointers during the last two postseasons – could find himself on the trade block this offseason.
- Head coach Mike Budenholzer had been prepared to significantly increase Antetokounmpo’s workload for Game 4 against Miami (and beyond) if he had stayed healthy, according to Amick and Nehm. Based on how the series played out, Budenholzer may be more open to a minutes bump for his stars earlier in next year’s postseason.
- The safest bet regarding Giannis Antetokounmpo is that he stays put with the Bucks, either through a Designated Veteran Extension this offseason or re-signing on a shorter deal next year, according to Danny Leroux of The Athletic. Leroux looks at all the options and possibilities regarding Antetokounmpo’s future in the wake of the Bucks’ surprisingly early playoff exit.
After Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported over the weekend that Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo met with franchise co-owner Marc Lasry to discuss the direction of the franchise, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has provided a few details on that meeting.
According to Wojnarowski, the three-hour lunch meeting covered both the 2019/20 season and how the Bucks can improve their roster going forward, with the two men brainstorming personnel moves that might be possible this offseason. Lasry confirmed to Antetokounmpo that the Bucks are willing to spend into the luxury tax to make upgrades, Woj notes.
The Bucks’ approach to Malcolm Brogdon‘s free agency last offseason would seem to contradict the assertion that the team is ready and willing to cross the tax threshold, but Milwaukee was known to have some long-term health concerns about Brogdon. Team ownership may also be more comfortable paying an annual tax bill once Giannis has been locked up long-term.
According to Wojnarowski, Antetokounmpo and Lasry agreed to talk again after the reigning MVP returns from vacation.
While speculation figures to run rampant this offseason about Antetokounmpo’s future and the possibility of him changing teams, he said at season’s end that he has no intention of asking to be traded. The Bucks will also retain the ability to pay him significantly more on a long-term deal than any other team can, regardless of exactly how much their super-max extension offer ends up being worth.
Giannis’ current contract runs through the 2020/21 season.
Speculation has been rampant about Antetokounmpo’s plans for the future, especially after Milwaukee was knocked out of the playoffs in the second round. Earlier today, Antetokounmpo unfollowed hundreds of people on Twitter and Instragram, including teammates and the Bucks’ team account, Haynes adds.
This offseason, Antetokounmpo will be eligible to sign a super-max extension that could pay him as much as $254MM over five years. Only the Bucks can offer him that much, but Antetokounmpo hasn’t decided if he wants to make a long-term commitment to Milwaukee. His contract expires after the 2020/21 season, and several teams are already maximizing cap space in case he becomes available.
Another option is to ask for a trade while he still has a year left on his current deal, but Antetokounmpo said last week he doesn’t plan to do that.
“Some see a wall and go in (another direction). I plow through it,” he said after the Bucks were eliminated. “We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season.”