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Milwaukee Bucks

NBA D-League Assignments/Recalls: 11/19/16

Listed below are Saturday’s D-League assignments and recalls from around the NBA. This post will be updated throughout the day if and when other teams announce moves.

6:47pm:

  • The Suns have recalled Derrick Jones Jr. from the Northern Arizona Suns, the team’s D-League affiliate, according to their Twitter feed.
  • The Clippers have assigned Diamond Stone to the D-League and he will play for the Santa Cruz Warriors, Marc J. Spears of ESPN.com tweets.
  • The Bucks have assigned Rashad Vaughn to the D-League and he will play for the Westchester Knicks, Chris Reichert of The Step Back reports (Twitter link).

1:11pm

  • The Spurs have assigned Dejounte Murray and Bryn Forbes to the D-League, according to the team. While the headline of San Antonio’s press release indicates Murray has been recalled from the Austin Spurs, the rookie had already been with the NBA club, and the release itself says he and Forbes are being sent to Austin, where they’ll be available for tonight’s game against the Erie Bayhawks. It’s already the fifth assignment of the season for Murray, and the third for Forbes.

Jabari Parker Living Up To Potential

  • Keith P. Smith of RealGM chronicles Jabari Parker‘s first couple seasons in the league and details what the forward has done to reach his potential this season. The Bucks have relied heavily on Parker so far this season, as his 26.5% usage rate indicates.

Bucks’ D-League Decision Expected Soon

The Hawks recently announced that they’ll purchase and control a D-League franchise, making them the 23rd NBA team to get an affiliate. An announcement on a 24th D-League team could come soon, according to Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. Bucks president Peter Feigin tells Woeflel that the club is expected to make a decision on a home for its D-League affiliate “before Thanksgiving.”

[RELATED: Hawks to purchase, control D-League affiliate]

As Woefel details, the Wisconsin cities of Racine, Oshkosh, and Sheboygan have been cited as the candidates to become the home of the Bucks’ potential D-League affiliate, so the chosen city won’t be far from Milwaukee. Feigin confirmed that all three locations remain in the mix.

According to Woelfel, Racine officials – including Mayor John Dickert – have been negotiating with the Bucks for more than a year about the possibility of the team’s D-League squad playing in the city. Dickert, who says that Racine native Caron Butler could get involved as an investor if the Bucks decide to move forward with the city, intends to pursue an arena project regardless of the club’s decision, since he hopes to attract a minor league hockey team.

[RELATED: D-League affiliations for 2016/17]

Over the summer, Adam Johnson of D-League Digest made a case for why the Bucks should strongly consider Sheboygan for the home of their D-League affiliate.

Bucks Won't Stay At Trump Hotel

The Bucks, Grizzlies and Mavericks have stopped staying at Donald Trump-branded hotels in order to avoid being associated with the businessman, Marc Stein and Zach Lowe of ESPN.com collectively report. Sources tell the duo that another Eastern Conference team set to stay at the Trumo SoHo in New York this season has already decided to switch to a different hotel once its contract expires at the end of the season. Seven other teams are currently scheduled to stay at Trump-branded hotels this season. ESPN has declined to reveal which teams will be staying at the locations.

NBA 2016/17 Dead Money: Central Division

The concept of “dead money” on a salary cap isn’t as common in the NBA as it is in the NFL, but it essentially functions the same way in both leagues. Dead money refers to the salary remaining on a team’s cap for players that are no longer on the roster.

For NFL teams, taking on a certain amount of dead money is a common practice, since signing bonuses affect cap hits differently, and big-money players are more likely to be released before playing out their entire contracts. That practice is less common in the NBA.

Still, with the NBA’s salary cap on the rise, teams may be a little more willing to part ways with players on guaranteed salaries, since that increased cap gives clubs more flexibility than they used to have. Within the last month, we’ve seen players like Ronnie Price and Greivis Vasquez, who each had $4-5MM in guaranteed money left on their contracts, waived in order to clear room for newcomers.

Over the next week, we’ll examine each of the NBA’s 30 teams, breaking them down by division, to figure out which teams are carrying the most dead money on the cap for 2016/17, and what that information might tell us about those teams. We’ll start today with the Central division, before tackling the other five divisions from Monday to Friday next week.

Here are the 2016/17 dead money figures for the Central teams:

1. Detroit Pistons
Total dead money: $5,398,678
Full salary cap breakdown

The Pistons had a pair of camp invitees with modest guarantees, in Nikola Jovanovic ($30K) and Trey Freeman ($25K), and a last-minute change of plans at point guard meant that they were also on the hook for nearly $12K when they waived Ray McCallum. However, the majority of dead money on Detroit’s books belongs to Josh Smith. The Pistons cut Smith with so much guaranteed salary left on his contract that he’ll count for about $5.332MM against the cap this year — and for the three years after that.

2. Milwaukee Bucks
Total dead money: $1,865,547
Full salary cap breakdown

The Bucks are one of eight NBA teams that entered this season without a D-League affiliate, so they didn’t have a ton of incentive to hand out partial guarantees to camp invitees — they wouldn’t have been able to assign those players to a D-League squad anyway. As such, it comes as little surprise that Larry Sanders is responsible for Milwaukee’s only dead-money cap charge this season. Sanders will continue to count for $1,865,547 annually against the Bucks’ cap through the 2020/21 season.

3. Indiana Pacers
Total dead money: $1,387,667
Full salary cap breakdown

The Pacers were smart about the dead money they added to their cap this fall, paying out partial guarantees to a handful of players they wanted to join their D-League affiliate in Fort Wayne, including Ben Bentil, whose D-League rights they snatched from the Celtics for $50K. Julyan Stone ($50K), Alex Poythress ($35.4K), and Nick Zeisloft ($25K) also got modest guarantees, while Jeremy Evans ($1.227MM) was the only fully guaranteed salary the team cut. The Pacers can’t put the $3.2MM they received from the Mavericks when they acquired Evans toward their salary cap, but that cash ensures that the club actually came out ahead after waiving the forward.

4. Chicago Bulls
Total dead money: $69,500
Full salary cap breakdown

The Bulls have a D-League affiliate for the first time this season, but only one camp invitee – and eventual Windy City Bulls player – required a partial guarantee. That one player was Thomas Walkup, who got $69.5K from the team. It will be interesting to see if the Bulls are any more liberal about handing out partial guarantees to recruit top undrafted rookies to their D-League affiliate in future years.

5. Cleveland Cavaliers
Total dead money: $18,255
Full salary cap breakdown

The Cavaliers didn’t pay any guaranteed money to their camp invitees, and ultimately assigned only two of their cuts to the Canton Charge rather than the maximum four. The team also isn’t carrying any dead money on its cap from players released in previous years, resulting in a cap sheet that is nearly entirely clean. The one exception? An $18K cap hit for Dahntay Jones, since he cleared waivers two days into the 2016/17 season rather than being cut earlier.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders was used in the creation of this post.

Election Outcome May Have Impact On Bucks Ownership

While players from many teams around the NBA will be watching today’s U.S. election results closely, the voting results could have an even more significant impact on the Bucks. According to Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times, many league observers believe that one of the Bucks’ three majority owners, Marc Lasry, may give up some or all of his duties with the franchise to take on a government position if Hillary Clinton wins. Lasry is a Democrat and a strong supporter of Clinton. Of course, the results aren’t in yet, and the possibility of Lasry’s departure appears to be informed speculation at this point, but it’s worth keeping an eye on if Clinton becomes the next president.

Players With Incentive Bonuses For 2016/17

According to Bobby Marks of The Vertical, there are 33 players around the NBA who can potentially earn incentive bonuses this season based on their own durability or performance, or based on how their team performs. Although Marks doesn’t identify all 33 players who have incentives included in their 2016/17 contracts, he discusses over half of them, passing along a number of interesting tidbits about those potential bonuses. Here are some of the highlights:

Minutes/games played bonuses:

NBA bonuses are deemed either “likely” or “unlikely,” using the previous season’s statistics as a benchmark, so if a player didn’t appear in many games during the previous year, a team can include a games-played benchmark and call it an unlikely incentive. For instance, John Henson‘s contract with the Bucks features incentives if he plays 60 games or 75 games this season. He appeared in just 57 contests in 2015/16, so neither of those marks is viewed as likely.

Miles Plumlee (Bucks), Luis Scola (Nets), Greivis Vasquez (Nets), and Deron Williams (Mavericks) are among the other players who have incentives in their deals for games played or started.

Individual statistic bonuses:

The Trail Blazers got creative with Maurice Harkless‘ new contract this summer, including an incentive bonus in the deal that can be triggered based if he keeps his three-point percentage above a certain level. Jeremy Lin, meanwhile, not only has a three-point percentage incentive, but also has bonuses linked to assists, turnovers, and threes and free throws attempted per 36 minutes.

Individual achievement bonuses:

Players like Bismack Biyombo (Magic), Evan Fournier (Magic), and Will Barton (Nuggets) have incentives related to their individual performances as well, but they’re related to awards and honors, rather than raw statistics. Biyombo gets a bonus if he makes the NBA’s All-Defensive team, Fournier gets some extra money for an All-Star appearance, and Barton would get $250K if he wins the Sixth Man of the Year award.

Of course, some of these incentives are more realistic than others. For instance, Thaddeus Young (Pacers) probably shouldn’t be counting on the $500K incentive bonus that he’d earn if he wins the league’s MVP award.

Team performance bonuses:

Several players, including Fournier, Jon Leuer (Pistons), and Joe Ingles (Jazz) have bonuses related to their teams making the playoffs. Many of those postseason incentives are tied to another condition. For example, for Taj Gibson to earn his bonus from the Bulls, he must appear in at least 60 games, play in at least 75% of Chicago’s playoff games, and average 25 or more minutes per game during the regular season.

Some players also have incentives linked to their teams’ win total, and once again, some are more attainable than others. For example, Nikola Mirotic could earn an extra $800K, but he’d need the Bulls to win 65+ games, so there’s a good chance his shot at that bonus will disappear about halfway through the season.

Be sure to check out the full breakdown from Marks for many more details on players who could earn incentive bonuses in 2016/17.

Extension Seems Unlikely For Tony Snell

The Bucks don’t appear to be planning an extension for newly acquired swingman Tony Snell, posts Jeff Goodman on ESPN Now. No talks have been held and the deadline is Monday at midnight Eastern time.

The Bucks traded for Snell two weeks ago, sending Michael Carter-Williams to the Bulls in return. The 24-year-old averaged 5.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in 64 games with Chicago last season.

Snell is making $2,368,327 this year in the final season of his rookie contract.

Bucks Exercise 2017/18 Option On Rashad Vaughn

The Bucks have picked up the third-year option on Rashad Vaughn‘s rookie-scale contract, the team announced. Vaughn will earn $1,889,040 in 2017/18 as a result of the move. Milwaukee will have another decision to make next season regarding his fourth-year option, which would pay the guard $2,901,565 if exercised.

Vaughn appeared in 70 contests a season ago for the Bucks, averaging 3.1 points, 1.3 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 14.3 minutes per outing. His shooting line on the campaign was .305/.291/.800.

The 20-year-old was taken with the No. 17 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft after just one season at UNLV. Vaughn’s college stats were 17.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG and 1.6 APG in 32.2 minutes. His slash line was .439/.393/.694.

Kevin Garnett Discusses Consultant Role With Cavs, Bucks

TNT’s Inside the NBA crew welcomed Kevin Garnett to the network last night, as the future Hall-of-Famer (Twitter link) joined Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Shaquille O’Neal on the studio show. While Garnett has a new gig as a special contributor for TNT, he continues to explore other opportunities as well, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, who reports (via Twitter) that KG is talking with multiple teams – including the Cavaliers and Bucks – about a “coaching consultant” role.

Following Garnett’s retirement announcement earlier this year, we heard that the longtime NBA big man was drawing interest from teams like the Cavs and Clippers for a potential coaching job. However, it sounds like any team that hires Garnett this year wouldn’t expect him to take on a full-time role, given his commitment to TNT.

As Wojnarowski details, it’s even possible that Garnett could be hired by more than one NBA team. In that scenario, KG would make “periodic stops” into various NBA cities to work with certain players, league sources tell Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Garnett, who turned 40 in May, had been under contract with the Timberwolves as a player for this season, but made the decision in September to call it a career. Minnesota waived him at that point, leaving his $8MM cap hit on the team’s books, but freeing him up to explore new opportunities.

During training camps, Garnett was spotted spending some time with the Clippers and old friend Doc Rivers. Though KG didn’t join the team in an official capacity, Rivers suggested at the time that he certainly had room for the former Celtic on his staff. “I’m going to offer him something,” Rivers said. “I don’t want to say too much right now. I just know he’d be a great asset to any team.”

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