- Bucks coach Jason Kidd said a few days ago that Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t be guarding point guards and alluded to the need for a traditional point guard like Michael Carter-Williams to fill that duty, but Kidd on Tuesday said Antetokounmpo will be the team’s primary ball handler next season, notes Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Antetokounmpo and Carter-Williams will both be eligible for rookie scale extensions in the offseason.
- Miles Plumlee is fond of the Bucks organization and Kidd admires the center’s perseverance, Gardner notes in the same piece. Plumlee is set for restricted free agency at season’s end.
- It’s a key summer for the development Michael Carter-Williams, Bucks coach Jason Kidd argues, but Kidd maintains his faith in the former Rookie of the Year, as Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel details. Carter-Williams, who’s out for the season with a torn labrum in his left hip, will be eligible to sign a rookie scale extension from July through October. “Michael is able to guard the point,” Kidd said. “Giannis [Antetokounmpo] isn’t going to guard the point. You’ve got to have a small on the floor. With Michael being able to work on his jump shot and become consistent, it only makes us better.”
- Ricky Rubio acknowledged that the Timberwolves had trade talks about him last month, but he’s confident the team isn’t going to ship him out, as he said in an appearance on the “Tot Gira” show on Catalunya Radio in Spain (transcription via Gigantes del Basket; translation via HoopsHype). Rubio, under contract through the 2018/19 season, was linked in trade deadline rumors to the Bucks and, less prominently, the Knicks.
- The Bucks will not bring back Jared Cunningham, Matt Velazquez of the Journal Sentinel writes. Cunningham, whose 10-day deal with the team expired on Friday night, was signed via the NBA’s hardship provision and the team needs to leave a roster spot open for the impending return of Greivis Vasquez.
- The Bucks recalled Rashad Vaughn from the Canton Charge, according to the team’s website. He appeared in four games during his stint in the D-League, scoring 8.0 points per game.
Greivis Vasquez, who underwent ankle surgery in December, has yet to receive medical clearance to return to game action, but the point guard was able to join his teammates Friday in the shootaround prior to the game that night against the Hawks, Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel relays. The Bucks acquired Vasquez during the 2015 draft in exchange for a protected first round pick. He only saw 16 games of action prior the injury and he will be a free agent at the end of the season.
Dwight Howard would prefer to re-sign with the Rockets this summer, but the Magic have heard that he’d entertain the idea of returning to Orlando, league sources told Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher for a video report (Twitter link). Howard is expected to turn down a player option worth about $23.282MM to seek a maximum salary deal that would pay him some $30MM next season. Previous reports have indicated his interest in the Bucks and Knicks.
A return to Orlando, where Howard spent the first eight seasons of his career and made his only Finals appearance, has seemed far-fetched ever since the team dealt him to the Lakers in August 2012. Magic GM Rob Hennigan was in his first offseason on the job when he traded Howard away, ending an acrimonious saga that dragged on over the final months of Howard’s tenure in Orlando. The Magic, with only mathematical hopes of a postseason berth this year, have yet to make the playoffs since.
Howard’s future plans have long been difficult to pin down. USA Today’s Sam Amick suggested earlier this week that the Rockets were merely a fallback option for the former All-Star, and Houston engaged in well-publicized trade talks with several teams about him before last month’s deadline. The 30-year-old former No. 1 overall pick was in the midst of changing agents while the trade talk was going on, dumping Dan Fegan for Perry Rogers, the representative for fellow ex-Magic center Shaquille O’Neal.
The Rockets were reportedly in touch with the Mavericks, Bulls, Hawks, Celtics, Hornets, Heat, Bucks and Raptors about Howard as they engaged teams about their interest in him, but Houston found the market underwhelming. Howard is averaging 14.3 points and 8.8 shot attempts per game, his lowest numbers in either category since the 2004/05 season, when he was a 19-year-old rookie with the Magic.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo is excited at the prospect of being the Bucks‘ focal point on offense and said the added pressure will only make him toil more this offseason, Spencer Davies of AmicoHoops.net relays. “It’s that special. I’ve got a lot of responsibility in my hands, so I’ve got to handle it real well and try to get better — show my coach that I can handle it no matter how old I am,” Antetokounmpo told Davies. “But I feel good enough. I feel proud of myself because I’ve been working hard these past years that I was in the league. Seeing all this, my hard work, paying off — it feels nice. That makes me want to work harder.”
- Bucks coach Jason Kidd was reluctant to go with John Henson and Miles Plumlee on the floor together much of the season, but as the season winds down and the coach has become open to experiments, he’s liked what he’s seen with both Henson and Plumlee in the game, observes Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Plumlee, the subject of trade rumors last month, is set for restricted free agency this summer, while Henson is poised to start drawing from the four-year extension he signed in the fall.