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Milwaukee Bucks

Latest On Khris Middleton

There is now a growing thought that Khris Middleton could return to the floor in early- to mid-February, Marc Stein of ESPN.com reports, league sources. What’s more, Stein writes that Middleton has a shot to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

While Stein’s report offers a more optimistic timetable, the news echoes what Middleton told Steve Aschburner of NBA.com earlier this month, when the 25-year-old said he could be back ahead of schedule and potentially take the court this year at some point after the All-Star Break. There would be a minutes restriction on Middleton if he were to return, Stein reports, but there is a good chance the Bucks, who are 20-21, would eventually receive a jolt from the two-way standout swingman’s presence.

The Bucks initially expected Middleton, 25, to be out for six months when he tore his left hamstring in September. Milwaukee signed Middleton to a five-year, $70MM deal last offseason. In the first year of the deal, he averaged 18.2 points and 1.7 steals in 79 games. He was drafted by the Pistons with the 39th pick in the 2012 draft before coming to the Bucks in the Brandon Jennings deal.

Jason Terry Enjoys Elder Statesman Role

Jason Terry is comfortable playing the elder statesman role on a young Bucks team, writes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. After two years in Houston, the 39-year-old guard signed with Milwaukee in August. He is averaging just 17.6 minutes and 3.3 points per game, but he likes the chance to help young players learn the game. “No question, I’m enjoying my role,” Terry said. “What this organization and this coaching staff is creating is about teaching. When you have two young great superstars [Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker], they understand they need to surround them with veteran guys like myself. It’s been great.”

Greg Monroe Undecided On Player Option

  • Bucks center Greg Monroe is a long way from deciding whether to exercise the player option on his contract, according to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Monroe has a $17.8MM option this summer in the final year of his three-year, $50MM deal.  “I’m not thinking about anything like the off-season right now,” he told Gardner. “There is a time and place for everything. If and when I have to make a decision, that time is not right now.” Monroe, the subject of heavy trade speculation during the offseason, has boosted his stock with his play this season, averaging 10.6 points, 7.0 rebounds and 2.4 assists as the leader of the second unit.

Kevin Garnett To Work With Clippers, Bucks As Consultant

Kevin Garnett, who visited the Clippers during training camp, was in attendance again today at the team’s facility, having officially joined the club as a consultant, per Bill Oram of The Orange County Register (Twitter link). Garnett is expected to work with the team’s big men this season.

“He’s hired in here as a consultant,” Clippers assistant coach Mike Woodson said of Garnett (link via Andrew Han of ESPN.com). “So I’m sure he’ll be in and out when it presents itself for him to work with our guys. And I think when he’s here, it’s important for our bigs to take advantage of him being out here on the floor. Because he brings so much to the table, has so much to offer for the game of basketball, it’s not even funny.”

During his time with the Clippers today, Garnett worked with DeAndre Jordan individually prior to the club’s practice. The veteran center was enthusiastic about KG’s new role with the team, calling it “amazing,” per Han.

“He’s a great spirit and a great basketball mind, a Hall of Fame guy,” Jordan said. “Someone I looked up to coming up and even playing against. So any pointers he can give me, or tips, it’s great. I just want to be a student when he’s here.”

Although Garnett is acting as a consultant with the Clippers, it seems that Los Angeles isn’t the only team with which he’ll work. Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News reports (via Twitter) that Garnett, who has launched an “elite consulting business,” will assists the Bucks as well. Wolfson adds that some members of the Timberwolves would love to see KG help in Minnesta as well.

When Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical first reported in October that Garnett was talking to clubs about a consulting role, he noted that the future Hall-of-Famer may end up being hired by multiple teams. In that scenario, KG would make “periodic stops” into various NBA cities to work with certain players. In Milwaukee, players like John Henson, Greg Monroe, Miles Plumlee, and rookie Thon Maker could benefit from working with Garnett.

Matthew Dellavedova Cleared To Return

  • Another former Cav, Matthew Dellavedova, has been sidelined for the last five games due to a hamstring injury, but the Australian guard has been cleared to return to the court for the Bucks, according to an AAP report (link via ESPN.com).

Middleton Could Return After All-Star Break; Plumlee's Reduced Role

The Bucks have been without perimeter scorer Khris Middleton since September when he underwent hamstring surgery expected to sideline him for the duration of 2016/17. According to Steve Aschburner of NBA.com, the 25-year-old could be back ahead of schedule and potentially take the court this year at some point after the All-Star Break.

It’s possible. That’s if everything goes right, with no setbacks and a good, long stretch of practices,” Middleton told Aschburner of his possible return to the Bucks. “Still a long way to go but I’m working towards it.”

Over the last three seasons the Bucks have seen their swingman develop from an unheralded second-round pick to a legitimate perimeter threat. In 2015/16, the small forward averaged 18.2 points per game.

  • After signing a substantial four-year, $50M contract with the Bucks over the offseason, Miles Plumlee was expected to play a vital role in Milwaukee’s rotation. Fast forward to January and the center has played just 9.2 minutes per game. According to Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Pressbox, head coach Jason Kidd suggested that Plumlee put less pressure on himself. Worth noting is that Plumlee’s role could change if Greg Monroe is ultimately moved before the deadline, as has been rumored.

Antetokounmpo Embraces Role As Franchise Player

  • Once a raw, goofy prospect, Giannis Antetokounmpo has evolved into an NBA superstar. “I’ve become more serious,” he tells Lee Jenkins of Sports Illustrated. “I have a franchise on my shoulders.” Jenkins profiled the 22-year-old in the magazine’s January 9 cover story (the first Bucks player to grace the cover of the publication since 1982).

Greg Monroe Remains On Trade Block

The Bucks are still looking to trade Greg Monroe, a league executive tells Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. Monroe, whose name surfaced in trade rumors at last season’s deadline, has been considered a candidate to be moved for most of 2016.

Heading into the summer of 2015, Monroe was viewed as one of the top big men on the market, and the Bucks beat out multiple suitors, including the Knicks, to land him. However, the 26-year-old hasn’t been an ideal fit in Jason Kidd‘s system in Milwaukee.

After starting 67 contests and averaging 29.3 MPG a year ago, Monroe has come off the bench this year, with his minutes dipping to just 19.3 per game. His per-minute stats suggest he has been as productive as ever, but due to his limited playing time, his marks of 9.3 PPG and 6.8 RPG are the lowest of his career.

While Monroe isn’t exactly thriving with the Bucks, and didn’t generate the sort of trade interest the team anticipated over the summer, there’s still reason to believe he could have some appeal to potential suitors at this February’s deadline. He’s a strong low-post scorer, and the Bucks have been significantly better with him on the court so far this season — the team has a +10.3 net rating when he plays, and a -1.8 rating when he doesn’t.

Still, Monroe’s player option for 2017/18 could be problematic. Any potential trade partner for the Bucks would likely want to get a sense of whether or not the big man plans to exercise that option – worth nearly $18MM – before making a deal. Some suitors may not want to give up much for a rental, while others may not want to be saddled with that salary on their ’17/18 cap.

The Pelicans are one team that has been frequently linked to Monroe in recent months.

Kerr: Cavaliers Miss Dellavedova

Warriors coach Steve Kerr believes the loss of backup guard Matthew Dellavedova has been the biggest change in the defending champion Cavaliers, relays Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com. Dellavedova was involved in a sign-and-trade deal with the Bucks this summer after agreeing to a four-year, $38MM contract with Milwaukee. Cleveland has yet to find a dependable reserve point guard to play behind Kyrie Irving“Dellavedova’s absence jumps out,” Kerr said. “I think he’s been a big part of their team in the last couple years, so it’s a different look.”

  • After missing nearly two full months with left knee and left wrist problems, Bulls guard Michael Carter-Williams is expected to return Monday, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. Carter-Williams has only played in three games since being acquired from the Bucks in a preseason trade. He was projected to miss four to six weeks after hurting the wrist October 31st, but had to have a cast put on it to help with healing.

John Henson Playing Well As Starting Center

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