The Bucks intend to sign Jorge Gutierrez to a 10-day contract in the near future, Marc Stein of ESPN.com (Twitter link) reports. The Bucks currently have 15 players on their roster, including Kenyon Martin, whose second 10-day contract is set to expire this week. Martin is expected to be signed by Milwaukee to a deal that covers remainder of the season by the end of this week. If the veteran is signed as expected, this will require the team to waive or release a player in order to add Gutierrez to its roster.
The need for a point guard arose when Kendall Marshall was lost for the remainder of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Their sudden shortage at the one spot could potentially make the Bucks regret their decision to waive Nate Wolters in order to add Martin to the team. Wolters has signed two consecutive 10-day deals with New Orleans since being released by the Bucks. Center Larry Sanders is also currently serving a drug-related suspension that will last a minimum of 10 games, further adding to Milwaukee’s roster woes.
Gutierrez has been playing in the D-League for the Canton Charge, the Cavs’ affiliate. He opted to enter the D-League after being waived by the Sixers earlier in the season. This was shortly after Philadelphia had acquired him from the Nets in the deal for Andrei Kirilenko. In 10 NBA appearances with Brooklyn this season, Gutierrez has averaged 1.6 points in 4.4 minutes per game.
In six D-League appearances with Canton this season, Gutierrez has averaged 15.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists in 35.6 minutes per contest. His slash line is .456/.143/.621.
10:12pm: Martin will be signed to a deal that covers the remainder of the season by the end of the week, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link).
JANUARY 27TH,1:23pm: Neither Martin nor Kidd acknowledged today that there’s any agreement in place for the rest of the season, as a pair of tweets from Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reveal. Kidd said team officials would discuss Martin’s situation, while the big man said he merely hopes the Bucks will re-sign him once his second 10-day contract expires at the end of Wednesday. “I know it’s a business,” Martin said. “Nothing is promised.”
JANUARY 20TH: Martin and the Bucks have already agreed in principle to a deal that covers the rest of the season, reports Shams Charania of RealGM (Twitter link). The 15th-year veteran signed his second 10-day contract with Milwaukee on Monday, and since the Bucks can’t issue any more 10-day pacts to him after this one expires, Martin figures to sign the contract for the rest of the season at that point. Charania doesn’t specify how much money is involved or whether the pact will extend into next season, but players who sign after consecutive 10-day contracts almost always do so for the prorated minimum salary.
JANUARY 16TH: The Bucks are likely to retain Kenyon Martin for the rest of the season, as David Alarcón of HoopsHype reports (Twitter link; translation via HoopsHype). Martin is on a 10-day contract that expires at the end of Sunday, and Alarcón indicates that Milwaukee wants to sign him to another 10-day pact and then ink him for the rest of the season. The 37-year-old Andy Miller client would presumably be on board with continuing to play for Jason Kidd, his long-ago teammate, in spite of reported interest from the Cavs and meetings earlier in the season with the Grizzlies and Rockets.
Martin hasn’t seen much playing time during his brief tenure with Milwaukee, totaling 15 minutes spread over three games so far. The Bucks have welcomed back Ersan Ilyasova since coming to terms with Martin, but the team is without starting power forward Jabari Parker for the rest of the season because of a torn ACL, and Larry Sanders continues to sit out with personal issues. So, Milwaukee is still thinner than expected up front.
The team let go of Nate Wolters to open a roster spot for Martin, so keeping Martin would once more limit Milwaukee’s flexibility. The Bucks are nonetheless more than $7MM shy of the salary cap, so they have the financial wherewithal to eat more guaranteed salary if they deem it necessary as they fight for a playoff spot. Milwaukee has climbed to fifth place in the Eastern Conference at 21-19.
Wisconsin governor Scott Walker said today that he’ll put a plan that would raise $220MM in public money for a new Bucks arena into the state’s budget, as expected, writes Don Walker of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. The budget requires approval from the state legislature. The money will come from a “jock tax” charged to Bucks players as well as those from visiting teams. The Bucks owners have pledged up to $150MM for the arena, and former owner Herb Kohl has put up $100MM, so it appears Walker’s plan would fill the gap needed to fully fund the building, which will likely cost $400MM-$500MM, as Walker wrote Monday.
Here’s more from the Central Division:
- The Cavaliers have assigned Joe Harris to the Canton Charge, their D-League affiliate, the team has announced. This will be Harris’ third stint in the D-League of the season.
- Brandon Jennings has undergone successful surgery to repair the damage to his ruptured left Achilles tendon, the Pistons have announced. The team didn’t put a timetable on Jennings’ return to the court, but he will certainly be out for the remainder of the 2014/15 campaign.
- Pistons president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy indicated that the team is likely to add another point guard to the roster soon, Keith Langlois of NBA.com reports (Twitter link). Detroit is reportedly eyeing Norris Cole of the Heat as a trade target
- Detroit isn’t willing to sacrifice future assets to obtain a point guard or to make a run at the playoffs this season, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports. “We want to give ourselves every chance, so we want to get some help, but we won’t mortgage anything in terms of the future,” Van Gundy said. “We’re not going to go out and give away assets, picks or anything like that. No, we’re not gonna do that.” The Pistons could look to the NBA D-League for backcourt help instead, Ellis adds. “Again, we’ve got several options,” Van Gundy said. “We haven’t decided which direction to go right now.”
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
3:11pm: Knicks president Phil Jackson inquired about Green today, tweets Marc Berman of the New York Post. Green has offers from two other teams, Berman adds.
3:06pm: The Grizzlies, Knicks, Bulls, Bucks and Blazers are expected to register interest in power forward JaMychal Green, whose 10-day contract expires tonight, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). Green is parting ways with the Spurs after the sides failed to come to terms on a new deal, according to Shams Charania of RealGM (on Twitter).
Chicago, New York and Memphis had interest when Green signed his 10-day deal with San Antonio earlier this month. The 24-year-old spent the preseason with the Spurs and was with San Antonio’s D-League affiliate in between stints with the big club. Green, who went undrafted out of Alabama in 2012, saw just 6.2 minutes per game in four appearances on his 10-day deal.
Memphis has a full 15-man roster, as our roster counts show, though Tyrus Thomas is on the fifth day of a 10-day contract. The Knicks have a pair of 10-day contracts coming off the books later this week. Bucks coach Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin, whose 10-day pact with Milwaukee expires after Wednesday, raised doubts today about a report that Martin and the team had agreed to a deal for the rest of the season, so if they split, that would leave a roster vacancy. The Bulls already have an open roster spot.
The Blazers have 15 players on deals that are guaranteed for the rest of the season, but GM Neil Olshey said on SiriusXM NBA Radio today that the team is actively seeking a way to upgrade the roster, as The Oregonian’s Jason Quick notes. However, Olshey downplayed the need for a big man, like Green, and suggested the team is looking for help on the wing instead.
The Bucks, Hornets and Sixers are exploring the idea of signing D-League point guard Gary Talton, reports Shams Charania of RealGM. The second-year pro from the University of Illinois at Chicago is first among current D-League players in assists per game, with 10.2 in 26 appearances. He’s split the season between the affiliate of the Rockets and his current team, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, who share affiliation with 13 NBA teams, including the trio of clubs Charania identifies as interested parties.
Talton went undrafted in 2013, though the Grizzlies, under former CEO Jason Levien, were among the teams to work him out prior to the draft. He had a more limited role with Houston’s D-League affiliate last season, but this year, he’s seeing more minutes and has upped his three-point percentage from 31.2% to 40.6%. He was just a 29.3% shooter from behind the arc in two seasons of NCAA play.
Milwaukee waived combo guard Nate Wolters shortly before it lost Kendall Marshall for the season with a torn ACL, though the Bucks have 14 players signed for the rest of the season and reportedly plan to give Kenyon Martin a contract for the balance of 2014/15, too. Charlotte has a full roster but is seeking point guard help in the wake of Kemba Walker‘s injury, which the team hopes will allow him to return six weeks from now. The Sixers just signed point guard Larry Drew II to another 10-day contract Monday, and they, too, have a full roster.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is expected to announce on Tuesday that he is putting together a financing plan to help build multipurpose arena in downtown Milwaukee, according to Don Walker of the Journal Sentinel. A new arena is expected to cost between $400MM and $500MM. The Bucks‘ ownership group has pledged as much as $150MM towards it and former Bucks owner Herb Kohl has pledged $100MM of his own money as well. It’s unclear how much the state’s plan will allocate towards the facility but the franchise is under mandate by the NBA to build a new arena in the city by November 2017 or the league has the right to buy back the team. Such a move would mean the possibility of relocating the Bucks would be back on the table, so the latest development is good news for the city of Milwaukee.
Here’s more from the Central Division:
- After the season ending injury to Brandon Jennings, the Pistons are seeking help at the point guard position, but they are not the only team looking for reinforcements, writes Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. Amico cites the Cavs as another team exploring the market for a point guard. Cleveland’s current back up at the position, Matthew Dellavedova, has struggled this season and the team could use someone with more consistency in that role. Amico adds that both teams are likely to go the free agent route if they do make acquisitions.
- Jordan Farmar, Marquis Teague and Peyton Siva are some of the players whom the Pistons could target to fill the void in their lineup, writes Amico in the same piece. Siva and Teague are currently playing in the D-League and earlier in the month, Farmar agreed to a buyout arrangement with the Clippers, making him a free agent. Siva and Teague would probably only warrant 10-day contracts from the team, while Farmar might require a contract that runs at least the remainder of the season, although that is just my speculation. Detroit has also been linked to Pablo Prigioni of the Knicks and Lorenzo Brown, who is playing for the team’s D-League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive.
- An internal option for the Pistons would be Spencer Dinwiddie and the team is hoping his play improves by getting regular minutes, writes Brandan Savage of Mlive.com. “I think he’ll do well,” new starting point guard D.J. Augustin said. “Spence is big guard. He played great defense on [Greivis] Vasquez. I think he’s going to get better the more he plays.”
Everyone assumes Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo will fill two of the spots on the Bucks‘ future core, but Brandon Knight may have put himself in the team’s long-term plans with his spectacular play this season, writes Bradford Doolittle of ESPN.com (insider piece). “You hear this cliché about guys always being the first one on and [last] off the court,” said Bucks GM John Hammond. “Brandon really is like that.” Knight has become the leader on the court late in games. During the last five minutes of games this season, the point guard sports a 37.1% usage rate, which is the best on the team. The Kentucky product understands the progress he made this year but he is more concerned with the team’s 22-21 record this season. “You have to learn from [mistakes],” Knight said. “We still have a long way to go in the season and a lot of home games. I don’t think we can be frustrated. The main thing is to learn from it and get better at it.”
Here’s more out of Milwaukee:
- Knight’s play might warrant him a maximum value contract this offseason, speculates Bill Simmons of Grantland.com. Simmons cites the anticipated rise of the salary cap as well as the point guard’s exceptional shooting as reason for Knight’s expected raise in salary. The 23-year-old is shooting 51.1% from the field and 40.2% from behind the arc, which ranks in the top 20 of all players in the league. Knight will be a restricted free agent at the end of this season.
- The bench unit of the Bucks deserves more recognition for the team’s improvement this season, opines John Zitzler of Basketball Insiders. The unit, led by new additions Jared Dudley and Jerryd Bayless, tops the league in many statistical categories. They rank first in the league in minutes played, averaging 22.3; assists, averaging 10.9; and steals, averaging 4.0 per game.
- Former NBA player Vin Baker believes the Bucks have a good mix of young talent, write Charles F. Gardner and Todd Rosaik of the Journal Sentinel. Baker, who was a first round draft pick of the Bucks in 1993, spoke to the team this weekend. Baker told the team “to take every day as a blessing” and to not take the opportunity for granted. Baker offered simple advice for Larry Sanders, who was absent from the team’s facilities and hasn’t played in a game in over a month. “I think the most important thing is to take life as the priority,” Baker said. “Take that first. Everything falls into place when you put life as the priority. Sanders was originally out for personal reasons but now is serving a 10-game suspension for his fourth violation of the league’s anti-drug policy of his career.
The Pistons‘ Brandon Jennings will be evaluated Sunday after leaving Saturday’s game with pain in his left leg, according to Keith Langlois of Pistons.com (Twitter links). There are fears that it is an Achilles injury, but nothing can be certain until he undergoes some tests. Jennings said he felt like he had been kicked in the back of his lower leg. “It doesn’t look good,” said Detroit coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy, who expressed concern that Jennings will be out of action long-term. The Pistons have an open roster spot and can sign a player to a 10-day contract to replace Jennings.
There’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- Dion Waiters may have a productive NBA career, but it was time for him to leave the Cavaliers, writes Jason Lloyd of The Akron Beacon Journal. Cleveland had been listening to offers for Waiters for more than a year, according to Lloyd, but couldn’t find the right deal until the January 5th trade that sent him to Oklahoma City. LeBron James was a defender of Waiters when he returned to the Cavaliers, but gave up by the end, Lloyd writes. “I ain’t really care what nobody say,” said Waiters, who will return to Cleveland with the Thunder on Sunday. “It ain’t affect me. I slept good every night.”
- The Hawks and Lamar Patterson are still watching each other closely, reports KL Chouinard of Hawks.com. Patterson, a second-round pick by Atlanta last year, just missed making the team’s roster out of training camp and is spending this season in the Turkish Basketball League. He still talks to many of the Hawks players and hopes to eventually be part of the team. “I’m over here working, just trying to become the best player I possibly can,” Patterson said. “Hopefully I can suit up in a Hawks uniform next season.”
- Former Buck Carlos Delfino hopes to resume his NBA career next season, tweets Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times. Delfino, who also played for the Pistons, Raptors and Rockets, underwent foot surgery in December of 2013. Milwaukee traded his rights to the Clippers on August 26th, 2014, but Los Angeles waived him three days later.
Heat team president Pat Riley denies a report from last week indicating that the team proposed a deal that would send Chris Andersen, Norris Cole and Josh McRoberts to the Nets for Brook Lopez, notes Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald. Riley insists the Heat haven’t made any offers to any team, and that while the Heat have had conversations with other clubs, they aren’t active on the market, as Jackson transcribes in a second piece. The executive doesn’t feel the team needs an upgrade to make the playoffs and indicated that he would only commit to salary beyond next season for a star, Jackson adds.
Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- Bucks coach Jason Kidd doesn’t believe that Kobe Bryant‘s latest injury will be a career-ending one, Charles F. Gardner of The Journal Sentinel writes. Kidd also spoke about how his own career ended, which he says was on his own terms, Gardner notes. “I would say, yes, in a way I did get to go out on my terms, but I had no gas left in the tank,” Kidd said. “It was an easy call. I got to make the call, but the car had no gas. A lot of times for athletes, we want to be able to go out on our own and not with an injury. You want to play and you want to leave feeling you’ve given everything to the game.“
- Knicks rookie coach Derek Fisher didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to get his players emotionally ready to compete, Marc Berman of The New York Post writes. “Probably what jumps out the most is you still have to work pretty hard to motivate and inspire guys at this level,’’ Fisher said. “Something a guy who came into the league in 1996, that wasn’t required. If you weren’t self-driven and self motivated, you couldn’t get on the floor. As a player for 18 years, my brain worked that way. It’s one area that continues to evolve — find ways to help my guys be more inspired and more motivated.’’
- With the highly touted NBA draft class of 2014 not quite living up to the hype thus far, David Thorpe of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) looks at a number of rookies who have stood out. These players include Nikola Mirotic (Bulls), Jerami Grant (Sixers), and Elfrid Payton (Magic).
- The Cavs assigned Joe Harris to the Canton Charge, their D-League affiliate, the team announced.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
SATURDAY, 11:12am: The signing is official, the Pelicans have announced via a press release.
8:58pm: Karnes has confirmed the deal via his Twitter account.
THURSDAY, 8:52pm: The Pelicans are expected to sign guard Nate Wolters to a second 10-day contract, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (Twitter link). The first is set to expire at the end of Friday. New Orleans will have to decide whether to keep the 23-year-old for the rest of the season at the end of his next 10 days with the team, since clubs can only sign any one player to two 10-day contracts in a single season.
Wolters has seen fewer minutes per game for the Pelicans than he did with the Bucks before they released him to sign Kenyon Martin instead, but that figures to change with New Orleans starting point guard Jrue Holiday sidelined for two to four weeks. The Pelicans have given Wolters 10.5 MPG, but the Jared Karnes client started 31 games as a rookie last season for Milwaukee.
A need at the point guard position has cropped up for the Bucks since they let Wolters go, as Kendall Marshall tore his ACL last week, knocking him out for the season. Still, Milwaukee apparently intends to keep Martin around as its 15th man, as the Bucks have reportedly agreed to a deal for the rest of the season with him, even though his second 10-day contract just began on Monday. Wolters has been occupying the 14th spot on the New Orleans roster, so the Pelicans remain flexible.