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Eastern Notes: Bucks, Love, Johnson

The Bucks‘ new owners, Wes Edens and Marc Lasry, along with Peter Feigin, the team’s president, have reinvigorated the franchise and have raised expectations, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes. In the near future, just making the playoffs, which seemed to be the ceiling under previous ownership, won’t be the goal, notes Zillgitt, who adds the team doesn’t need to land superstars; they need to sign talented players, similar to the Hawks signing Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver as free agents. With a promising young roster and under the leadership of Jason Kidd, the Bucks  won 41 games this season after only winning 15 times last season.

Here’s more from Milwaukee and the  Eastern Conference:

  • In the same piece, Zillgitt writes that Bucks GM John Hammond said Kidd has been an integral part of the changing culture. “These jobs are all about managing people, and he’s done a great job with that,” Hammond said. “He was a very cool customer the way he played and he coaches the same way. Keeps his emotions in check, pushes the right buttons when necessary. I know at the end of the day the vote did not go this way, but in my book, he’s the coach of the year.” Kidd finished third for the award.
  • Speaking of the Bucks’ plans for a better future, the team’s owners and state and local officials did not reach a financing deal for a new $500MM arena during a closed-door meeting last week, writes Scott Bauer of The Associated Press. The team, state and local leaders are trying to come up with a plan to split the costs of the new arena in downtown Milwaukee that would be part of a larger $1 billion entertainment district, as Bauer details. Without a new building by 2017, the NBA has said it will buy back the team and relocate it, according to Bauer.
  • Amir Johnson said he hasn’t thought about whether or not Game 4’s elimination loss Sunday was his last game with the Raptors, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun tweets. Johnson, who was linked to trade rumors earlier this season, is set to be an unrestricted free agent.

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