Bucks Rumors

Bucks Sign Guard Rayjon Tucker

August 20: The signing is official, according to the team’s website.

August 16: Guard  Rayjon Tucker will sign an Exhibit 10 contract with the Bucks, Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets.

Right after the draft, a report surfaced that claimed Tucker would sign a partially guaranteed deal with Milwaukee.

However, nearly two months went by without a contract being inked. Last week, the Heat hosted Tucker for a three-day audition but no agreement was reached because Tucker was looking for a two-way deal and Miami wasn’t willing to offer more than an Exhibit 10 contract. The Bucks have already filled their two-way slots but Tucker has decided to join them after all.

The Bucks are also signing Jaylen Adams to a camp deal.

Tucker played for the Bucks‘ squad in the Las Vegas Summer League and averaged 10.2 PPG and 3.6 RPG in 19.8 MPG over five appearances.

The Arkansas-Little Rock product had announced prior to the draft that he would transfer to the University of Memphis, but later decided to keep his name in the draft. The 6’5″ guard averaged 20.3 points per game last season and shot 41.1% from 3-point range. He was a second-team selection on the All-Sun Belt team.

Bucks Sign Jaylen Adams To Camp Deal

August 20: The signing is official, according to the team’s website.

August 16: The Bucks are signing guard Jaylen Adams to a training camp deal, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Adams became a free agent in mid-July after the Hawks waived him before his $1,416,852 salary became guaranteed. Milwaukee’s contract offer is apparently an Exhibit 10 deal. The Bucks targeted Adams for an affiliate contract spot with their G League team, the Wisconsin Herd, Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets.

Adams signed a two-way deal with Atlanta last summer, then had it converted to a standard contract in February. He went undrafted out of St. Bonaventure.

The 23-year-old Adams appeared in 34 NBA games last season, averaging 3.2 PPG and 1.9 APG in 12.6 MPG.

Milwaukee had 16 players under contract (14 with fully guaranteed deals), along with a pair of two-way players.

The 6’2” Adams faces an uphill battle to gain a roster spot. The Bucks already have Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, Donte DiVincenzo and two-way player Frank Mason at the point.

Heat Notes: Tucker, Hard Cap, Maten, Mourning

The Heat hosted Rayjon Tucker for a three-day audition last week, according to Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. However, no agreement was reached because Tucker is looking for a two-way deal and Miami isn’t willing to offer more than an Exhibit 10 contract, which would have brought him to training camp with a $50K guarantee.

The 6’5″ guard was considered one of the NCAA’s top grad transfers after averaging 20.3 points and 6.7 rebounds per game at Arkansas-Little Rock last season. He committed to Memphis in May, but later decided to keep his name in the NBA draft.

Tucker played for the Bucks‘ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League and was reportedly going to sign a partially guaranteed deal with Milwaukee. However, that arrangement fell apart as the Bucks filled both two-way slots with Frank Mason III and Cameron Reynolds.

The Heat recently worked out former St. John’s guard Justin Simon, the authors add, and they believe other players have been given an opportunity as well.

There’s more out of Miami, all courtesy of Jackson and Chiang:

  • The hard cap that was imposed after the sign-and-trade deal involving Jimmy Butler is hampering the Heat’s efforts to sign players, according to a source who has contact with the front office. Miami doesn’t have enough money remaining to give out standard contracts, so it’s trying to convince players to agree to Exhibit 10 deals with an opportunity to earn a two-way slot. The Heat have 17 players under contract, with 12 fully guaranteed, and both two-way openings available. Forwards Chris Silva and Kyle Alexander and guard Jeremiah Martin, all of whom played for Miami’s Summer League team, have already committed to attend camp to compete for a two-way deal.
  • Duncan Robinson empathizes with former teammate Yante Maten, who was waived before his August 1 guarantee date to enable the team to re-sign Udonis Haslem. Robinson and Maten shared an apartment while playing for the organization’s G League affiliate in Sioux Falls. “I know how much he has put into this and how much this means to him,” Robinson said. “But at the same time, I know he’s a really good player and an even better person. So he’ll end up in a good opportunity. I know he will because he certainly deserves to.”
  • Trey Mourning, another member of the Heat’s Summer League team, has reached an agreement to play in Russia. He is the son of Heat executive and Hall of Famer Alonzo Mourning.

Central Notes: Bender, Thompson, Clarkson, Beasley

The Cavaliers decided not to make a stronger play for Dragan Bender because he would have required too much guaranteed money, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Bender signed a two-year, $3.5MM deal with the Bucks last month that includes a partial guarantee of about $600K. Cleveland was hesitant to give that much to a player who wouldn’t have been a sure thing to make the roster.

After being selected with the fourth pick in the 2016 draft, Bender put up three uninspiring years in Phoenix, including averages of 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 46 games last season. He was an unrestricted free agent because the Suns declined his fourth-year option in October.

Instead of giving money to Bender, the Cavs opted for former Clippers guard Sindarius Thornwell, who will come to camp on a non-guaranteed minimum contract. With Cleveland less than $3MM away from the luxury tax line, guaranteeing money for a player like Bender would have been risky.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Tristan Thompson and Jordan Clarkson would have been available for trades earlier this summer, Fedor adds in the same story. Both will be free agents next July, and moving their salaries ($18.5MM for Thompson and $13.4MM for Clarkson) could offer the chance for cap relief. With training camp about six weeks away, Fedor doesn’t expect the Cavaliers to move either player soon, but their names should resurface closer to the February deadline.
  • Michael Beasley‘s agreement with the Pistons is expected to be non-guaranteed, according to Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press. Beasley will battle Christian Wood, who was claimed off waivers last month, for the final roster spot. With the signing of Derrick Rose, Detroit has added the top two picks in the 2008 draft this summer.
  • Better ball movement will be an emphasis for the Bulls this year, writes Mark Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago. The team ranked near the bottom of the league last season in assist ratio, effective field goal percentage and several other key offensive categories. Chicago is counting on several offseason additions, such as the signing of Thaddeus Young, to help improve in those areas.

Hasheem Thabeet To Work Out For Bucks

The Bucks will give Hasheem Thabeet a shot at returning to the NBA, tweets Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops. A league source tells Stinar that Thabeet has a workout scheduled next week in Milwaukee. He adds that the veteran center has been training heavily over the past year and has gotten comments about his “great shape” from several NBA teams.

Thabeet is regarded as a draft bust, putting together a lackluster career after being taken by Memphis with the second pick in 2009. He spent a season and a half with the Grizzlies before a trade sent him to the Rockets. He was shipped to the Trail Blazers a year later, then signed with the Thunder. He received training camp contracts from the Sixers and Pistons in 2014, but was waived by both teams and hasn’t been in the league since. Thabeet never topped his rookie numbers of 3.1 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.

He spent part of last season in Japan, then held workouts for several NBA teams in Charlotte during All-Star Weekend. A story surfaced in early June that Thabeet, now 32, was training up to three times a day and trying to improve his offensive repertoire.

The Bucks have one roster opening heading into next month’s training camp and could give Thabeet an opportunity if he has an impressive workout. Milwaukee has 16 players under contract (14 with fully guaranteed deals), along with a pair of two-way players and the expected signing of Rayjon Tucker.

Six Teams Interested In Chasson Randle?

Free agent guard Chasson Randle has received interest from the Hawks, Trail Blazers, Heat, Bucks, Warriors and Bulls, tweets Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops.

Randle, 26, became an unrestricted free agent in June when the Wizards opted not to tender a qualifying offer. He appeared in 49 games in his lone season in Washington, posting a 5.5/1.1/2.0 line in about 15 minutes per night and shooting 40% from 3-point range. Randle played a combined 26 games for the Sixers and Knicks during the 2016/17 season before spending 2017/18 in the EuroLeague with Real Madrid.

Unless someone offers him a fully guaranteed deal, Randle will likely face a process similar to how he earned a roster spot with the Wizards. He signed a training camp contract in September, but was waived before the season began. He had a strong showing during camp with Washington’s G League affiliate in Capital City and was signed for the rest of the season in late October.

Randle was waived again on November 12, but rejoined the Go-Go three days later and re-signed with the Wizards after Austin Rivers and Kelly Oubre were traded in mid-December.

Clippers/Lakers To Headline NBA’s 2019 Christmas Day Schedule

The NBA has set its Christmas Day schedule for the 2019/20 season, according to reports from multiple ESPN writers. Adrian Wojnarowski, Tim Bontemps, and Malika Andrews have details on the five games set for December 25, 2019.

While the order and times of the games haven’t yet been confirmed, these are the five matchups we’ll see on Christmas Day this December, per ESPN’s reporting:

  • Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers
  • Milwaukee Bucks at Philadelphia 76ers
  • Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors
  • Boston Celtics at Toronto Raptors
  • New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets

The Clippers/Lakers and Bucks/Sixers matchups will pit the two current favorites from the Western and Eastern Conferences against one another. Those games figure to be the headliners of the day, with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George squaring off against LeBron James and Anthony Davis, plus Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid going head-to-head.

The Rockets/Warriors game – a rematch of the most competitive Western postseason rivalry of the last two years – should be an entertaining showdown as well, even without Kevin Durant or Klay Thompson in the picture. James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and D’Angelo Russell will still provide plenty of star power.

The defending champion Raptors will make a rare Christmas Day appearance, hosting the new-look Celtics, led by Kemba Walker. It’ll also be a rare December 25 home game for the Nuggets, who will take on the young, up-and-coming Pelicans and No. 1 pick Zion Williamson.

Which Christmas Day game are you most looking forward to in 2019? Are there any teams or matchups you’re disappointed to see (or not see) on the December 25 schedule? Jump into the comment section below to share your thoughts!

Bucks Notes: Buford, Bender, 2020 Playoff Odds

The Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks‘ G League affiliate, has hired Chase Buford as their new head coach, per the team’s website.

“Chase has had wide-ranging basketball experiences over the past seven years, both in the G League and the NBA, and we believe he’s one of the bright young coaches in the game,” said Herd GM Dave Dean. “We are excited by his approach, fresh ideas and collaborative spirit. It’s a pleasure to welcome Chase to Wisconsin and to the Bucks family.”

Buford, who is the son of long-time Spurs executive R.C Buford, most recently was an assistant coach for the Delaware Blue Coats (the Sixers’ G League affiliate). The 30-year-old coach began his professional career back in 2012 as a regional scout with the Hawks.

Here’s more from Wisconsin:

  • The Bucks have officially added Chad Forcier as an assistant coach, the team relays on its website. Forcier spent last season as an assistant coach with the Grizzlies.
  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter) has some details on Dragan Bender‘s two-year minimum salary contract with the Bucks. Bender will make $300K guaranteed in the first year, though that figure will rise to $600K if he remains on the roster through Milwaukee’s first game of the season. The second year of Bender’s deal is non-guaranteed.
  • No NBA team is a stronger favorite to make the 2020 postseason that the Bucks, according to Caesars Entertainment, as David Purdum of ESPN.com passes along. Milwaukee is listed at -5,000 to make the postseason — that means you’d need to wager $5,000 on a Bucks playoff berth to win $100. Philadelphia is the next strongest favorite at -4,000.

Frank Mason III Signs Two-Way Deal With Bucks

JULY 26: The deal is now official, the Bucks confirmed today in a press release.

JULY 20: Point guard Frank Mason III has agreed to a two-way contract with the Bucks, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Mason was waived earlier this month by the Kings and went unclaimed.

Mason, 24, was selected by Sacramento with the 34th overall pick in the 2017 draft. He had a promising rookie season, averaging 7.9 PPG and 2.8 APG, but lost his place in the regular rotation last season.

He was supposed to play for the Kings in the California Summer League, but was held out of action due to a sore right hip. Mason had a $1.62MM salary for the upcoming season but it wasn’t guaranteed.

He’ll provide depth at the point behind Eric Bledsoe, George Hill and Donte DiVincenzo.

Forward Bonzie Colson holds the other two-way spot with Milwaukee, but the team also agreed to sign Cameron Reynolds to a two-way deal, so Colson looks like the odd man out.

Bucks Sign Dragan Bender To Two-Year Deal

JULY 26, 8:09am: The Bucks have officially signed Bender, per NBA.com’s transactions log.

JULY 25, 12:20pm: The first year of Bender’s deal with the Bucks is partially guaranteed, while the second is non-guaranteed, reports Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter links).

JULY 25, 10:49am: Free agent power forward Dragan Bender won’t be returning overseas after all, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that the former lottery pick has reached an agreement on a two-year deal with the Bucks.

Guarantee details aren’t yet known, but Milwaukee can’t offer more than the veteran’s minimum, which would result in salaries worth approximately $1.68MM in 2019/20 and $1.82MM in 2020/21 for Bender.

Bender, 21, spent the last three seasons with the Suns after being selected fourth overall in 2016. However, he has failed to develop into a regular NBA rotation player, averaging 5.3 PPG and 3.8 RPG with a .394/.321/.647 shooting line in 171 games in Phoenix.

A report last week indicated that Bender was close to signing with defending EuroLeague champions CSKA Moscow. However, the verbal agreement Bender had with the Russian club was said to be contingent on him not receiving any last-minute NBA offers. Now that the Bucks have swooped in at the 11th hour, the young big man will remain stateside.

Before making their deal with Bender official, the Bucks are already carrying 14 players with fully guaranteed salaries for 2019/20. If Bender gets a guaranteed salary too, it would make him a strong favorite to fill the team’s 15th and final regular season roster spot.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.