JULY 31ST: The deal is official, the Bucks announced (on Twitter).
JULY 17TH: The Bucks and Jerryd Bayless have reached a deal, as the Phoenix native tells Mark McClune of Phoenix CBS affiliate KPHO-TV (Twitter link; hat tip to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported Tuesday that the sides were nearing an agreement, and they had been discussing a two-year arrangement between $6-7MM with no option clauses, according to Gardner.
Bayless spent the bulk of last season with the Celtics after an early-January trade brought him from Memphis, and he quickly identified Boston as a place he wanted to stay for the long term. The client of Excel Sports Management reiterated that stance on multiple occasions during what appears to have been a brief tenure with the Celtics, and coach Brad Stevens appeared to lobby the front office for his return. The Celtics had Early Bird rights on the combo guard that would have given them the means to make an offer equal to or greater than what he seems to have netted from the Bucks, but ultimately it looks like the sides couldn’t reach a deal.
Milwaukee appears to be technically operating over the cap, though the team has eyed using its flexibility to open up space and make an offer to Eric Bledsoe, among other targets. A competitive offer for Bledsoe would likely require the team to trade some of its guaranteed salary, and there have been conflicting reports about Milwaukee’s willingness to trade Ersan Ilyasova. A two-year deal for Bayless with a starting salary that’s roughly half of the $6-7MM figure that Gardner floated for the total value of the deal could be a fit for part of the $5.305MM mid-level, should the Bucks stay above the cap. Otherwise, Milwaukee would likely have to use cap room.