Milwaukee Bucks

Hammond: Bucks Could Explore Trade For SG

With Khris Middleton expected to miss most of the season, Bucks general manager John Hammond has said there’s a possibility of acquiring a veteran shooting guard in a trade, writes Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. League officials tell Woelfel that if Milwaukee does explore a trade, Michael Carter-Williams could potentially be on the block, along with Greg Monroe. Woelfel adds that John Henson could also be used as trade bait, though that appears to be speculation.

For now, the Bucks are moving forward with their in-house options, including including Rashad Vaughn, Malcolm Brogdon, and Jason Terry. But it will be a situation worth monitoring as the season nears, since Milwaukee has playoff aspirations this season, even after the loss of Middleton.

Bucks, Rockets Swap Tyler Ennis, Michael Beasley

3:40pm: The Bucks have announced the deal in a press release, confirming that they’ve sent Ennis to the Rockets in exchange for Beasley.Michael Beasley vertical

“We’re excited to add a player with Michael’s skill set to our team,” said general manager John Hammond in a statement. “He’s someone that we’ve kept our eye on the last few seasons and we’re looking forward to watching him compete throughout training camp and the season.”

3:21pm: With Khris Middleton expected to be sidelined for the next six months due to a torn hamstring, the Bucks have found a stop-gap depth piece at forward. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter), Milwaukee has shipped Tyler Ennis to the Rockets in exchange for Michael Beasley.

[RELATED: Khris Middleton to miss six months with torn hamstring]

According to Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter links), the swap isn’t a “reactionary” move for the Bucks, who were said to be discussing a deal with the Rockets before Middleton went down with his hamstring injury on Tuesday. Nonetheless, it’s not hard to think Milwaukee was further motivated to get something done after Middleton went down. A report last night indicated that the team was exploring the trade market for help on the wing.

Still, the Bucks are dealing from a position of strength in the trade. Newly-extended Giannis Antetokounmpo is expected to see plenty of time at the point, along with Michael Carter-Williams and free agent addition Matthew Dellavedova. Barring injuries, that wouldn’t leave much playing time for Ennis.

The 18th overall pick in the 2014 draft, Ennis was sent from Phoenix to Milwaukee at the 2015 trade deadline, and has played in 71 games for the Bucks since then, averaging just 4.1 PPG and 2.1 APG in 13.5 minutes per contest. The 22-year-old will provide point guard depth for a Rockets team that currently features Patrick Beverley and Pablo Prigioni at the position.

From the Rockets’ perspective, the move could indicate that they have confidence in bringing back Donatas Motiejunas, and are willing to give up some of their depth at forward, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Motiejunas is the last restricted free agent on the market, and his agent suggested last week that he’s still waiting for a “serious” contract offer from Houston.

As for the Bucks, they certainly won’t expect Beasley to replicate Middleton’s production, but the former second overall pick is coming off a decent stint in Houston. The sample size wasn’t significant – Beasley played just 20 regular-season games for the Rockets – but the 27-year-old’s numbers (12.8 PPG, 4.9 RPG, .522 FG%) were promising. Prior to signing with the Rockets, Beasley had a huge year in China, recording 31.9 PPG, 13.4 RPG, 3.8 APG, and 2.0 APG for the Shandong Golden Stars, earning the CBA’s foreign MVP award.

From a financial perspective, the trade certainly isn’t a blockbuster for either team — Ennis is owed a salary of $1,733,880, while Beasley will make $1,403,611, so the Rockets will take on a little extra money. The Bucks should also be able to create a trade exception worth Ennis’ salary, since they’ll be able to acquire Beasley using the minimum salary exception.

Beasley’s contract will expire at season’s end, making him an unrestricted free agent in 2017. The Rockets will be able to control Ennis through the 2017/18 season, assuming they decide to exercise their team option on him. The decision on that option, which would be worth $2,666,707 and would make Ennis a potential 2018 RFA, is due by October 31.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucks To Sign Jaleel Roberts

The Bucks are reportedly looking for help on the wing after losing Khris Middleton to a torn hamstring, but in the meantime, the team has made another move that’s not connected to Middleton’s injury. According to RealGM’s staff report, Milwaukee is signing free agent center Jaleel Roberts to a deal for training camp.

Roberts, who will turn 24 next month, played his college ball for UNC-Asheville, going undrafted in 2015 after averaging 7.0 PPG and 5.0 RPG in his senior season. Despite his modest college stats, Roberts received a training camp invite from the Wizards last season, and after being waived by Washington last fall, the seven-footer rejoined the club for Summer League play this July.

For training camp this fall though, it appears Roberts will be joining a Bucks squad that is still reeling from the news of Middleton’s potential six-month absence. In addition to its 15 players currently on guaranteed contracts, Milwaukee is also bringing Orlando Johnson and J.J. O’Brien to camp on non-guaranteed deals, and reportedly agreed to terms with Jabari Brown this week, along with Roberts.

Xavier Henry recently signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Bucks, but NBA.com’s transactions log suggests the club waived him on Tuesday — that move has yet to be announced by the team. Ronald Roberts was also rumored to be heading to camp with Milwaukee, but that deal hasn’t come to fruition, so there should be one opening on the Bucks’ 20-man offseason roster as they explore replacements for Middleton.

Bucks Looking For Help On The Wing

The Bucks are calling other teams to inquire about adding a wing in order to compensate for the loss of Khris Middleton, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (Twitter link). Middleton is expected to miss six months of action after tearing his hamstring.

If Middleton is ruled out for the year, the Bucks could apply for the disabled player exception, which would give them $5.6MM to use in free agency, Bobby Marks of the Vertical adds on Twitter. The team would need a roster spot open if awarded the exception and Marks notes (Twitter link) that the team has 15 guaranteed contracts on the books.

The injury to Middleton is a devastating blow to a team that is looking to drastically improve upon its 33-win campaign.  The core of Middleton, Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo was supposed to take the next step and elevate the team to contender status. Barring a substantial acquisition, Parker and Antetokounmpo, who recently signed a $100MM extension with the team, will likely be tasked with shouldering a bigger load on both ends of the floor.

Milwaukee signed Matthew Dellavedova and Jason Terry this offseason to bolster its bench unit, but it could be forced to insert one of the two into the starting lineup. Rashad Vaughn is also an internal candidate to see an increased role, but the sophomore didn’t have a particularly productive rookie campaign, so it may be a stretch to pencil him in for major minutes if the team intends on competing for a playoff birth.

Earlier today, we learned that Jabari Brown will join the Bucks for training camp. The team also signed J.J. O’Brien and Orlando Johnson earlier this month and while they all face uphill battles to make the team, opportunity awaits should a member of this trio excel during camp.

What should the Bucks do now that they will be forced to play much of the season without Khris Middleton? Take to the comments section below to share your thoughts and opinions. We look forward to what you have to say!

Khris Middleton To Miss Six Months

Khris Middleton has suffered a torn hamstring and is slated to undergo surgery next week, Shams Charania of The Vertical reports. Middleton is expected to be sidelined for roughly six months, according to the team’s website. The final timetable for his return will be set after the surgery, sources tell Charania.

“We’re obviously disappointed for Khris and our team, but injuries are an unfortunate part of the game,” said Bucks GM John Hammond. “We’ll rely on our overall roster depth to help us while Khris is out for a significant period of the season.”

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.

Bucks To Sign Jabari Brown, Cut Xavier Henry

The Bucks will bring a former Laker to training camp, reports Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. According to Spears (via Twitter), Milwaukee is adding free agent shooting guard Jabari Brown to its roster for camp.

Brown, 23, made his NBA debut with the Lakers during the 2014/15 season after going undrafted out of Missouri. Brown saw plenty of action for the team down the stretch that season, appearing in 19 games and averaging 11.9 PPG, 2.1 APG, 1.9 RPG, and a .371 3PT% in 29.9 minutes per contest.

Over the last two seasons, Brown has also played in China and has spent time with the Lakers’ D-League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders. Brown averaged 23.1 PPG and shot .443/.374/.842 in 47 D-League games. He also worked out for the Jazz earlier this month.

In Milwaukee, Brown figures to be on the outside looking in as he attempts to earn a regular-season roster spot. The Bucks currently have 15 players on guaranteed salaries, with Orlando Johnson and J.J. O’Brien among the other camp invitees on non-guaranteed deals.

Xavier Henry also recently signed a non-guaranteed contract with the Bucks, though NBA.com’s transactions log suggests the club waived him on Tuesday — it’s not clear why Henry’s stint in Milwaukee was so short-lived. Ronald Roberts was also rumored to be heading to camp with the Bucks, but hasn’t officially signed a contract and may not end up doing so.

Antetokounmpo Left Money On The Table To Help Team

  • With his future in Milwaukee secure thanks to his new four-year, $100MM extension, Giannis Antetokounmpo noted that he never had any doubts about being with the Bucks for the long-term, Charles F. Gardner of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel relays. “I can’t imagine me being somewhere else,” Antetokounmpo said. “I don’t say this just for the media but from the bottom of my heart. I know after this five years, hopefully, we’ll be doing great, and I’ll be here five more years. As I said last summer, I want to be here for 20 years. I don’t like change, anyway.”
  • Antetokounmpo could have pushed for a maximum salary extension, but chose to leave some money on the table to help the Bucks maintain future flexibility, Dan Feldman of NBCSports.com writes. “There was a max number out there, and that was discussed, discussed internally and externally,” GM John Hammond said. “And the one thing we asked Giannis to do was take that into consideration as we move forward. Give us every opportunity. We want to become a championship-level team. There’s going to be guys and guys who have done that, players who have given back some. And it’s a little bit of the time, as we move forward, hopefully we’re going to have other guys with the organization willing to do that. Those small pieces can turn into a bigger chunk at some point.

Latest On Greg Monroe, Bucks

Many have made Greg Monroe the scapegoat for the Bucks’ regression during the 2015/16 season, with the team going from 41 wins the previous year to just 33. Milwaukee has reportedly been actively seeking to deal the big man this offseason, with the general consensus around the league being that Monroe wouldn’t still be a member of the Bucks when training camp begins next week, Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times notes. According to league sources, Milwaukee was willing to accept below market value in order to find a taker for Monroe and his $17,145,838 salary for this season, Woelfel adds.

Despite all the rumors, Monroe’s agent, David Falk, says neither he nor his client are surprised the player is still a member of the Bucks, the scribe relays. “There’s been a lot of speculation, but that’s part and parcel for the NBA,’’ Falk said. “You always have rumors and one percent of them come true. I’ve become a cynic to rumors.’’ Falk added that he’s been in constant contact with Bucks officials about Monroe’s situation and that the team’s owners “have been amazingly supportive of Greg.’’

The Bucks have reportedly spoken to the Pelicans about Monroe this summer, according to a July report from ESPN’s Zach Lowe. “I think [the Bucks] got closer than maybe has been reported with New Orleans during either the draft or free agency,” Lowe had said during an episode of The Lowe Post podcast (54:25 mark for the relevant portion). “Monroe’s a New Orleans native,” ESPN’s Marc Stein added. “I think that’s where he wants to end up.” Neither Lowe nor Stein suggested that a deal between the Pelicans and Bucks was necessarily in the works, but Stein expected the big man to eventually be moved. It should be noted that those two clubs also discussed Monroe prior to last season’s trade deadline.

The agent also dismissed the speculation that he or Monroe have lobbied to get the big man out of Milwaukee, Woelfel notes. “Greg is a very mature guy, a very professional guy,’’ Falk said. “He has never asked to be traded on any team.’’ Falk also told the scribe that he doesn’t see Monroe being traded in the near future. “Greg expects to be in training camp with the Bucks,’’ Falk told Woelfel. “He’s looking to have a great season for the Bucks. If anything changes, we’ll deal with it at that time.’

Falk acknowledged that things didn’t go smoothly for Monroe or the Bucks last season, but noted that all parties are on the same page, Woelfel writes. “He [Monroe] wants to accomplish what they didn’t accomplish this year: making the playoffs,’’ Falk said. “We are trying to make this work. Whether it will happen, I don’t know. But we’re going to try.’’ In 79 appearances for the Bucks last season, Monroe averaged 15.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 29.3 minutes per outing. His shooting line was .522/.000/.740.

Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo Agree To Extension

1:20pm: The Bucks have officially confirmed that they have an extension agreement in place with Antetokounmpo, announcing the deal in a press release. According to Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com (via Twitter), there will be no player or team options on the contract. Windhorst adds (via Twitter) that Antetokounmpo was willing to take less than the max to help the Bucks retain talent going forward.Giannis Antetokounmpo vertical

12:57pm: The Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo have agreed to a four-year extension worth $100MM, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. The deal will go into effect next year, keeping the 21-year-old under contract through the 2020/21 season.

Antetokounmpo had been on track to become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2017, at which point he likely would have commanded enough interest around the NBA to ensure that he landed a maximum-salary deal. By locking him up now, the Bucks appear to have avoided paying the max. Maximum salaries and cap figures for 2017/18 won’t be set until next July, but the NBA’s latest projection would mean a starting max salary of about $24MM for ’17/18, with subsequent raises of $1.8MM annually — Antetokounmpo will make a little less than that.

The 15th overall pick in the 2013 draft, Antetokounmpo was viewed as a raw talent with huge upside when the Bucks selected him, and has since adjusted to the NBA more rapidly than expected. He has increased his averages in nearly every meaningful category from year to year, enjoying the best season of his young career in 2015/16, when he averaged 16.9 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.4 BPG, and 1.2 SPG while shooting an impressive 50.6% from the field.

While Antetokounmpo’s traditional position is at forward, he’s also capable of handling the ball, and his versatility and his youth suggest that his best basketball should still be ahead of him. In the first installment of our free agent power rankings for 2017, he placed the Greek Freak third, behind only Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, and ahead of Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Of course, when we update those power rankings, Antetokounmpo’s name will no longer show up on the list.

Instead, Antetokounmpo will remain in Milwaukee as another key piece of the Bucks’ core, joining a handful of players who have already been locked up for the next several seasons. Khris Middleton and Mirza Teletovic are under team control through 2019, while Miles Plumlee, John Henson, Matthew Dellavedova, and Thon Maker are under control through 2020.

Antetokounmpo is the second player entering the final year of his rookie contract to reach an agreement on an extension this offseason, joining C.J. McCollum of the Trail Blazers. His Bucks teammate, Michael Carter-Williams, is also extension-eligible until October 31, though Carter-Williams isn’t considered as strong a candidate for an extension as Antetokounmpo had been. When our Arthur Hill examined Antetokounmpo’s case for an extension last month, he called it an easy decision for the Bucks to offer a lucrative, long-term deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucks Sign Xavier Henry

SEPTEMBER 12th: The signing is official, the Bucks announced.

AUGUST 30th: The Bucks have added a well-traveled NBA veteran to their offseason roster, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that Xavier Henry has agreed to a training camp deal with Milwaukee. Henry worked out for the Lakers earlier this month and had been considering his options, per Charania.

Having recently signed Jason Terry and Steve Novak, the Bucks now appear to have 15 players on guaranteed salaries for the 2016/17 season, assuming Novak’s contract is guaranteed. That will make it an uphill battle for Henry as he attempts to earn a regular-season roster spot. However, if he has a strong preseason, he could attract interest from other teams and may become a 10-day contract candidate later in the season.

Henry, 25, was the 12th overall pick in the 2010 draft, and has since appeared in 185 total regular-season NBA games. Henry’s best season came in 2013/14 with the Lakers, when he averaged 10.0 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 1.0 SPG in 43 contests (21.1 MPG). He previously spent time with Memphis and New Orleans, and last year played for the Warriors’ D-League affiliate.

Henry is now nearly two years removed from suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon, an injury that required a long recovery period. The 6’6″ wing said earlier this month that he’s healthy and feels “blessed” that he’s even able to play basketball again.

Get the hottest NBA news and rumors before anyone else! Follow us on Twitter to stay updated: