The Wizards are expected to make a major push to sign Joakim Noah in free agency next month, sources tell Mitch Lawrence of The Sporting News. Washington’s interest in Noah was reported earlier this week.
In addition to the Wizards, at least three other teams – the Knicks, Timberwolves, and Bucks – are prepared to make offers to Noah, who is coming off an injury-shortened season, having undergone shoulder surgery earlier in the year. The Warriors are also believed to have Noah on their list of free agent targets.
One team apparently not viewed as a serious contender to sign Noah is his current team — the Bulls. An earlier report indicated that the veteran big man may want to leave Chicago, and Lawrence hears that Noah is indeed ready to move on.
Lawrence also suggests that the Wizards may be willing to offer Noah a maximum-salary contract, though that seems awfully hard to believe, given the veteran’s age, his health issues, and his modest production over the last couple seasons. J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com (Twitter link), who thinks Washington may pursue Noah, is skeptical that the club would offer him the max, as is Ben Standig of CSNMidAtlantic.com.
With the salary cap on the rise, we’ve been bracing for months for a crazy free agent period, with salaries that exceed what we would have expected. But a four-year max contract for Noah would start at $26MM+, and wouldn’t expire until he’s 35 years old. I could potentially imagine the Wizards being willing to do a maximum-salary deal for one or two years, if they’re unable to land any other top free agent targets, but even that would be a bit of a shock.
Still, according to Lawrence, multiple NBA general managers believe Noah could draw more interest than some other top big men on the market, and at least one GM thinks the longtime Bull will be very well-compensated as long as his shoulder isn’t a concern. “If teams are convinced Noah is healthy, he will get a max deal, and Washington is panicking because Nene is done and they didn’t make the playoffs last season,” the GM tells Lawrence. “They’ll overpay for Noah — they always do.”
Bulls general manager Gar Forman denies that the team made an effort to trade shooting guard Jimmy Butler, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. “We like Jimmy Butler,” the GM said. “We didn’t shop Jimmy Butler.” Forman admits that teams called to inquire about Butler’s availability, but says Chicago “never made a single call” and called some of the trade speculation “comical,” prompting Friedell to observe that he can’t recall ever seeing the GM publicly deny a trade rumor so forcefully. Still, Forman did acknowledge that the Bulls liked Kris Dunn and had talks about acquiring him, per K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter link).
Here are several more post-draft updates from out of the Eastern Conference:
- Asked tonight about Jarrett Jack‘s $6.3MM team option, Nets general manager Sean Marks said the team is still undecided on it, per Andy Vasquez of The Record (via Twitter). Brooklyn has until next Thursday to make its decision on the veteran point guard.
- The Wizards had some interest in buying a pick in the second round of the draft, but by the time it reached that point, the players they would have been targeting were off the board, per GM Ernie Grunfeld (Twitter link via J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com).
- Three players who slid down the draft board had a chance to be selected much earlier, tweets ESPN’s Chad Ford. According to Ford, the Raptors gave serious consideration to Kentucky center Skal Labissiere at No. 9, and the Bucks talked about Michigan State big man Deyonta Davis and Washington point guard Dejounte Murray with the 10th pick. Of course, Toronto couldn’t have been overly high on Labissiere, considering the club passed on him again at No. 27.
- The Hawks added a pair of wing players in the first round of Thursday’s draft, grabbing Taurean Prince at No. 12 and DeAndre’ Bembry at No. 21. Nonetheless, free-agent-to-be Kent Bazemore continues to be a priority, according to Hawks GM Wes Wilcox, who said after the draft that Bazemore “is a huge part of what we do.” Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has the details and the quotes from Wilcox.
Arthur Hill contributed to this post.
After selecting Malcolm Brogdon with the 36th overall pick, the Bucks have sent No. 38 to the Warriors, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter links). According to Charania, Golden State is using the pick to nab UNLV shooting guard Patrick McCaw.
Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com reports (via Twitter) that the 38th overall pick has been on sale for several weeks now, so it sounds like the Warriors are simply buying it from the Bucks. Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical tweets that Golden State is sending $2.4MM to Milwaukee as part of the deal.
Per Givony, Brooklyn was rumored to have a deal lined up for No. 38 before the Nets acquired the No. 20 pick instead.
2:23pm: Charles F. Gardener of the Journal Sentinel (via Twitter) casts a different view, saying trade talks aren’t currently ongoing in Milwaukee and classifies any pending deals as “possible, but not likely.”
2:21pm: The Celtics are still desperately seeking a star player to add to their roster and are reportedly quite active on the trade front. To this end, Boston has engaged in trade discussions with the Bucks regarding Khris Middleton and Greg Monroe, Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times relayed.
According to Woelfel’s sources, the Bucks and Celtics are exploring a potential deal that would send Middleton and Monroe to Boston in exchange for the No. 16 and No. 23 picks in tonight’s NBA Draft along with another unnamed player. Milwaukee has worked out a number of players who are projected to go in the 16 to 23 range, including guard Denzel Valentine of Michigan State, guard Malachi Richardson of Syracuse, guard Dejounte Murray of Washington and North Carolina power forward Brice Johnson, Woelfel adds.
If Milwaukee is indeed willing to part ways with Middleton it would be reversal from previous reports that stated the swingman was “untouchable.” Middleton, 24, is signed for four more years and is owed a reasonable $55.3MM over that span. In 79 appearances this season he averaged 18.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists in 36.1 minutes per outing while shooting .444/.396/.888.
The Bucks have shown no such reluctance when it comes to dealing Monroe, with the team reportedly “anxious to move on from him.” Given the Bucks’ overall lack of athleticism, even with the presence of Giannis Antetokounmpo, the lumbering big man was never a good fit in Milwaukee. He has two seasons remaining on his current deal, though, he can choose to opt out next summer. In 79 games for the Bucks Monroe notched averages of 15.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 29.3 minutes per contest. His shooting line was .522/.000/.740.
The Pistons and the Bucks are both interested in Cavs unrestricted free agent Matthew Dellavedova, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst relayed during an appearance on ESPN colleague Zach Lowe’s podcast. “They [Cleveland] could’ve signed Matthew Dellavedova to a $2MM or $3MM a year contract and now I think someone is coming in with a $10MM offer sheet. For some reason, and I got a pretty good idea why, the Milwaukee Bucks attended Cavs games in the playoffs like they were a fan of the team. They had scouts there…[coach] Jason Kidd came to one of the games. I think the Bucks have zeroed in on Dellavedova. I think they intend to offer him a bunch of money. The Detroit Pistons were hanging around in the playoffs a lot, sending scouts. They weren’t sending scouts to evaluate J.R. Smith, I think they intend to go after Dellavedova,” Windhorst opined.
- The Celtics are going after several established veterans in trade talks, offering up the No. 3 overall pick as part of their proposed packages. So far though, they have been rebuffed by the Bulls (Jimmy Butler), Jazz (Gordon Hayward), and Bucks (Jabari Parker and Khris Middleton), says Stein.
- According to Stein, the Bulls have shown little interest in sending Butler to the Celtics, the Bucks regard Parker and Middleton as “untouchables,” and the Jazz are telling interested teams that Hayward isn’t available. The Suns have also made an effort to pry Hayward from Utah, Stein writes.
JUNE 21st, 5:18pm: The contract extension is official, the team announced. “Our goal remains to be a consistent contender for NBA Championships and we believe that Jason Kidd is the right man for the job,” said Bucks co-owner Wes Edens. “In terms of preparing, developing and relating to today’s players, we think there is no better fit to lead our young and talented roster. We are excited that Jason will continue to call Milwaukee his home.”
“I truly believe that continuity is extremely important in our business, so I’m very happy for Jason and the Bucks organization to continue the partnership we have,” said GM John Hammond. “Jason and his staff work tirelessly to help our players grow and develop and I look forward to working with them to build our roster into a consistent contender.”
JUNE 13th, 6:27pm: The extension is done and Kidd will receive $18MM over three years after completing the final season of his current deal at $5MM, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports.
2:28pm: In his full story on extension talks between Kidd and the Bucks, Wojnarowski writes that the deal would add three years to Kidd’s current contract, taking him through 2020.
2:14pm: The Bucks and head coach Jason Kidd are putting the finishing touches on a new contract, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. According to Wojnarowski, it’s expected to be a three-year, $15MM+ extension for Kidd.
Kidd, who became the Bucks’ head coach in 2014, has one year remaining on his initial contract with the team, a three-year pact which was believed to be worth in the neighborhood of $5MM annually. It sounds like the head coach’s new deal with Milwaukee will have fairly similar terms to his old one, though it’s not clear if the two sides will tack on three new years, locking up Kidd through the 2019/20 season, or if they’ll tear up the old contract and have the new three-year deal take effect next season.
In his first year with the Bucks in 2014/15, Kidd led the team to a 41-41 record and a playoff berth. The franchise took a step backward this past season in a more competitive Eastern Conference, finishing with a 33-49 record. However, with a handful of young building blocks in place, there’s still plenty of optimism for the future in Milwaukee.
In the wake of the Bucks’ disappointing 2015/16 season, Kidd received a public vote of confidence from team ownership, with co-owner Marc Lasry suggesting an extension may be on the horizon. Wojnarowski subsequently reported in late May that Milwaukee was working on a new deal for its head coach.
- While plenty of reports have suggested Thursday could be a busy trade night around the NBA, Bucks general manager John Hammond isn’t expecting much movement at the top of the board, telling reporters that “people feel good about this draft” (Twitter link).
- Hammond spoke a little more about the Bucks‘ draft and trade options, telling reporters that Milwaukee is targeting three or four players with the No. 10 pick, and hasn’t ruled out a big man at that spot (Twitter links via Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel). Hammond was also asked about rumors that the Celtics may be targeting Khris Middleton, and while he declined to comment on that report, he noted that many Bucks players have “great value around the league” (Twitter links via Gardner).
- Wes Washpun (Northern Iowa), Fred VanVleet (Wichita State), Retin Obasohan (Alabama), Marcus Georges-Hunt (Georgia Tech), Cinmeon Bowers (Auburn), and Gracin Bakumanya (Democratic Republic of Congo) participated in a workout for the Bucks today, the team announced in a press release.