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Milwaukee Bucks

Teams With Flexibility For Waiver Claims

Waiver claims aren’t particularly common in the NBA. During the 2015/16 league year, for instance, only seven players were claimed off waivers. However, October is one time when things are a little more active on waivers, as teams cut camp invitees from their rosters and other clubs have a chance to snatch up a potentially appealing contract without having to negotiate with the player. Three of 2015/16’s seven waiver claims occurred in October, and this year we’ve already seen one played claimed, as the Pistons nabbed Beno Udrih after he was cut by the Heat.

Not every team can claim any waived player. In fact, there are only a few instances when teams can claim a player who is earning more than the minimum salary. A club must either have enough cap room to accommodate the player’s salary, or a trade exception (or disabled player exception) large enough to fit the player’s salary.

For a team like the Pistons then, the only reason they were able to claim Udrih was because he was on a minimum salary contract. Teams can use the minimum salary exception to claim a player who is on a one- or two-year minimum salary contract. But if Udrih had been making $2MM, Detroit wouldn’t have been able to submit a claim.

With that in mind, here’s the list of teams able to afford to claim a player making more than the minimum:

Teams with cap room:

  • Philadelphia 76ers
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Utah Jazz
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Notes: The Lakers are also under the cap, but only by about $530K, which is less than the minimum salary. The Celtics, meanwhile, will have about $1.1MM in cap room as of the start of the regular season, since the cap holds for their unsigned first-round picks come off the books.

Teams with traded player exceptions:

  • Cleveland Cavaliers ($9,638,554 and three other TPEs)
  • Milwaukee Bucks ($1,733,880 and one other TPE)
  • Charlotte Hornets ($1,666,470)
  • Los Angeles Clippers: ($1,209,600)

For a player like R.J. Hunter, who is currently on waivers with a salary worth about $1.2MM, the 11 teams listed above are the only ones that can currently place a claim. The rest of the NBA’s teams could submit a claim for a minimum-salary player, but don’t have the cap room or cap exception necessary to accommodate, for instance, Archie Goodwin‘s $2MM+ salary. Neither do the Bucks, Hornets, and Clippers, whose trade exceptions are too small.

[RELATED: Players with fully guaranteed salaries who were cut]

When taking into account which teams might place a claim on a waiver player, it’s also worth noting that waiver priority is determined by record — the worst teams get first dibs on each waived player. Since the 2016/17 regular season hasn’t started yet, waiver order is currently determined by last year’s record. That will change on December 1, at which point this year’s standings will determine the order.

For now, that means the waiver priority order for the 11 teams listed above looks like this:

  1. Philadelphia 76ers (10-72)
  2. Brooklyn Nets (21-61)
  3. Phoenix Suns (23-59)
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves (29-53)
  5. Milwaukee Bucks / Denver Nuggets (33-49)
    • (Coin flip determines priority)
  6. Utah Jazz (40-42)
  7. Indiana Pacers (45-37)
  8. Charlotte Hornets (48-34)
  9. Los Angeles Clippers (53-29)
  10. Cleveland Cavaliers (57-25)

So if the Sixers and Nets both had interest in Goodwin and submitted claims, Brooklyn would be out of luck, since Philadelphia is the only team with a higher waiver priority. For minimum salary claims, the rest of the league’s 30 teams would slot into that waiver order based on last year’s record. In the full waiver order, the Pistons would have the 19th priority, meaning the 18 teams ahead of them didn’t make a claim for Udrih.

As noted above, waiver claims aren’t particularly common, but it’s possible we’ll see a couple more waiver moves this week, so the rules above are worth keeping in mind.

Bucks To Waive Roberts, Johnson, O’Brien

The Bucks intend to waive Jaleel Roberts, Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders reports (via Twitter).  The Bucks will also waive Orlando Johnson and J.J. O’Brien, Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated adds (on Twitter). None of the players have any guaranteed money included in their deals, so Milwaukee won’t be responsible for any money to the trio.

Roberts, 25, 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. The big man will likely look to join the NBA D-League, though, since the Bucks do not have an affiliate in the league, they won’t be able to hold onto his rights.

Johnson, 27, has been with four teams in four seasons after being drafted in the second round by the Kings in 2012. He signed two 10-day contracts last season, one with the Suns in February and one with the Pelicans in March. He appeared in two games with Phoenix and five with New Orleans.

An undrafted 24-year-old out of San Diego State, O’Brien played for the Jazz in Summer League action a year ago, then later signed a 10-day contract with the team. However, he only appeared in two regular season contests for Utah. O’Brien spent the majority of the 2015/16 season with the Idaho Stampede, averaging 14.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 1.5 SPG for the D-League squad.

Bucks Preparing For Monroe To Opt In

  • The Bucks are preparing for the possibility that Greg Monroe is going to exercise his player option for the 2017/18 campaign, league sources tell Zach Lowe of ESPN.com. The big man has a tough call to make, with him being set to earn $17,884,176 next season, which is the final one of his current deal. With the cap set to jump to over $100MM next summer, the opportunity to chase a long-term deal may be appealing, but Monroe is also a more traditional big man in a league that is moving away from that model. A strong campaign would likely decrease the chances of him opting in, though that is merely my speculation.

Bucks Pick Up Jabari Parker’s 2017/18 Option

The Bucks have exercised the fourth-year option on Jabari Parker‘s contract, per the team’s website. Parker will make slightly more than $6.78MM next season.

The decision to pick up Parker’s option was always expected. He projects to play a huge role for the team this season and he will be eligible for an extension with Milwaukee next summer.

The 2014 No. 2 overall pick has averaged 13.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 31.1 minutes per game over the first two years of his career. He’s appeared in 101 games over those seasons, starting 97 of those contests. During five preseason games this season, he is averaging a team-high 16.8 points.

2016/17 NBA Over/Unders: Central Division

The 2016/17 NBA regular season will get underway next week, which means it’s time to start getting serious about predictions for the upcoming campaign. With the help of the lines from offshore betting site Bovada.lv, we’re going to run through the predicted win totals for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division, and have you weigh in on whether you think those forecasts are too optimistic or too pessimistic. Having looked at the Atlantic and Northwest division so far, we’re moving on to the Central today…

Cleveland Cavaliers

(App users, click here for Cavaliers poll)


Detroit Pistons

(App users, click here for Pistons poll)


Indiana Pacers

(App users, click here for Pacers poll)


Chicago Bulls

(App users, click here for Bulls poll)


Milwaukee Bucks

(App users, click here for Bucks poll)


Previous voting results:

Atlantic:

  • Boston Celtics (52.5 wins): Under (54.59%)
  • Toronto Raptors (50.5 wins): Over (54.63%)
  • New York Knicks (38.5 wins): Over (71.41%)
  • Philadelphia 76ers (23.5 wins): Under (54.62%)
  • Brooklyn Nets (20.5 wins): Under (60.74%)

Northwest:

  • Utah Jazz (49 wins): Under (68.72%)
  • Portland Trail Blazers (45.5 wins): Over (69.92%)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder (43.5 wins): Over (65.71%)
  • Minnesota Timberwolves (40.5 wins): Over (50.11%)
  • Denver Nuggets (37 wins): Under (68.81%)

Bulls, Bucks Swap Tony Snell, Michael Carter-Williams

OCTOBER 17, 9:58am: The Bulls and Bucks have officially announced the trade in a pair of press releases. Given the difference between Carter-Williams’ salary and Snell’s salary, Milwaukee should also pick up a small trade exception worth $815,199 in the deal.Michael Carter-Williams vertical

OCTOBER 16, 8:43am: The Bucks will send Michael Carter-Williams to the Bulls in exchange for Tony Snell, Zach Lowe and Marc Stein of ESPN.com report. While it’s not quite a done deal, it is expected to be completed by Monday, Charles F. Garner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets.

Milwaukee has been looking to acquire more shooting and defense since Khris Middleton suffered a torn hamstring in training camp, sources tell the pair of ESPN scribes. Milwaukee is interested in Snell both as a fill-in for Middleton and as a potential role player for the future. The team is expected to open contract extension talks with Snell once the deal is consummated, sources tell Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com.

This will be the Bucks’ second trade since the Middleton injury, as they acquired Michael Beasley last month. Snell should see significantly more playing time with his new team than he would have with the Bulls. He was facing competition for playing time in Chicago with Dwyane Wade, Jimmy Butler and Doug McDermott expected to see the majority of minutes on the wing.

The Bulls didn’t have a proven option at the point guard position behind new addition Rajon Rondo. The league’s reigning leader in assists per game signed a two-year deal with the team during the offseason, but only $3MM of his $13.4MM salary is guaranteed next season. Carter-Williams could have an opportunity to take over the starting spot long-term, but in the interim, he’ll provide the team with depth at the position.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Jason Terry Envisions Bucks Having Great Season

The Pistons are in need of point guard help, but the team never called the Bucks about acquiring Michael Carter-Williams, Jake Fischer of SI.com reports (Twitter link). Milwaukee reportedly will send MCW to the Bulls.

  • New addition Jason Terry believes the Bucks have a chance to do great things this season, as he explains on NBA TV (Twitter link). “We are young and dangerous at the core, but we have veteran experience… sky is the limit,” Terry said.

Only Seven TPEs Currently Available Around NBA

The NBA’s huge salary cap spike this summer impacted the free agent market most significantly and most obviously, with second- and third-tier free agents landing larger contracts than they ever otherwise would have. But the cap increase has also had some under-the-radar side effects, including having a significant impact on our list of traded player exceptions.

Traded player exceptions allow over-the-cap teams to acquire a player whose salary is equal than or less to the TPE amount, without sending out any salaries of their own in the deal. However, in order to create a trade exception in the first place, a team must be over the cap. All but three of the league’s 30 teams went under the cap this summer, meaning they renounced their previous TPEs and were unable to create new ones until they went back over the cap.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors Glossary: Traded Player Exception]

Now that the majority of the NBA teams have used up their cap room, we should see things normalize — there’s a good chance many clubs will create new TPEs with in-season deals, and perhaps they’ll be able to make use of those exceptions before or during next year’s draft, before contracts come off their books in July. For now though, there are only seven TPEs available around the NBA, and only one of those seven has a real chance to make an impact before the 2017 trade deadline.

As our list of outstanding TPEs shows, the Hornets, Clippers, and Bucks each hold a trade exception, but they range in value from $1.2MM to $1.75MM — it’s possible those teams will find a way to use their exceptions, but many of the players whose salaries would fit within those constraints are on minimum salaries, and the minimum salary exception allows over-the-cap teams to acquire those players in trades anyway.

The Cavaliers are the only other team with any TPEs on their books, and Cleveland holds four of them. Three of those exceptions will likely go unused — they’re worth $845K, $947K, and $1.33MM. However, the fourth TPE, created in last year’s Anderson Varejao deadline swap with the Blazers, could come in handy for the Cavs this season. It’s worth $9.64MM.

Of course, given the rising NBA salary cap, more players than ever are earning more than $9.64MM, and wouldn’t fit into Cleveland’s trade exception. By our count, there are 105 NBA players – not including the Cavs’ own players – whose 2016/17 cap hit is too pricey for the Cavs to acquire them using that TPE. Still, while that number may sound high, it works out to just three or four players per squad, which leaves a long shopping list of potential targets for the Cavs, including everyone who is still on a rookie contract.

Will the Cavs end up using that Varejao TPE before it expires on February 18? That remains to be seen, and there are reasons why the team may let it go unused — bringing on additional salary is pricier than it appears on the surface for the Cavs, who will pay a premium as their cap number increases due to the luxury tax. But having that exception gives Cleveland options, and perhaps gives the team a leg up on its competition, since no other over-the-cap club has that sort of potential flexibility in trades.

What do you think? Will the Cavs make use of that trade exception? Which players whose salaries would fit into that TPE do you think Cleveland could target prior to 2017’s trade deadline?

Offseason In Review: Milwaukee Bucks

Over the next several weeks, Hoops Rumors will be breaking down the 2016 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2016/17 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Milwaukee Bucks.

Free agent signings:

Camp invitees:

Extensions:

Trades:

Draft picks:

  • 1-10: Thon Maker. Signed to rookie contract.
  • 2-36: Malcolm Brogdon. Signed for three years, $2.99MM. Third year non-guaranteed.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:


Check out our salary cap snapshot for the Milwaukee Bucks right here.


Olympics: Basketball-Men's Team-Bronze medal match -AUS vs ESPAfter taking two huge steps forward in 2014/15, going from 15 wins to 41 and a surprising playoff berth, the Bucks took a step back last season, dropping to 33 wins and the draft lottery. After an offseason that saw the team add a number of veterans to its youthful core, Milwaukee hopes to return to the playoffs and continue to progress as a franchise.

It’s certainly debatable whether or not the team did enough to ensure that result, with the Bucks’ largest external signing being former Cavs backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova, who received a four-year, $38.43MM pact via a sign-and-trade deal with Cleveland. I’m not knocking Dellavedova, whose grit and hustle are a valuable commodity. But I’m not sold that he’s a significant upgrade over Jerryd Bayless, who signed with the Sixers as an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The duo’s stat lines were similar in 2015/16, with Bayless posting averages of 10.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG and 3.1 APG to accompany a shooting line of .423/.437/.778 and Dellavedova putting up 7.5 PPG, 2.1 RPG and 4.4 APG to go along with a slash line of .405/.410/.864. The Australian is more of a spark provider than Bayless, but his addition doesn’t quite move the needle enough for Milwaukee for him to be considered a true game-changer this season.

The offseason signing that may help the Bucks the most was the addition of forward Mirza Teletovic, whose outside shooting will be a major benefit to the team, given its weakness from beyond the arc last season. While I think that a three-year deal worth $10.5MM per season is a huge risk given Teletovic’s injury history and age, he provides coach Jason Kidd with a true stretch-four to deploy on a nightly basis. The 31-year-old has averaged just 61 contests per campaign since arriving in the NBA, though he did manage 79 appearances a season ago, averaging 12.2 PPG and draining 39.3% of this three-pointers.

Milwaukee also added veterans Jason Terry ans Steve Novak on one-year, minimum salary deals to provide leadership and bench production. At this point in his career, the 39-year-old Terry is more valuable as a leader and locker room presence than on the court. Though, the Jet still likely has a few big shots left in him before calling it a career. As for Novak, he’s still one of the deadliest three-point shooters in the game (43.1% for his career), but his extremely limited skillset makes him difficult to keep on the court for significant stretches.

The Bucks made a significant financial commitment to restricted free agent Miles Plumlee, re-signing him to a four-year, $50MM pact. This move was a bit puzzling to me given Plumlee’s extremely modest career numbers of 5.6 PPG, 5.3 RPG and 0.9 BPG. With the addition of Teletovic and Thon Maker (No. 10 overall pick), plus the continued presence of Greg Monroe (more on him in a bit) and John Henson, I don’t quite get GM John Hammond‘s reasoning at re-signing Plumlee. He’s more of a traditional big man in a league that is moving further away from that model with each passing season. All told, the Bucks committed a total of $119.53MM in guaranteed salary to Teletovic, Dellavedova and Plumlee — none of whom are considered franchise players. This is an offseason that may come back to haunt the franchise in the coming seasons.

In addition to gambling in free agency, the Bucks did so on draft night as well by selecting Maker in the top-10. The team hopes that Maker will turn out to be a steal at that spot given his potential and upside, but the rail-thin big man is a major project and there were questions leading up to the draft as to whether or not he misrepresented his age. If Maker is truly 19, and not 21-23 years old as some scouts and executives speculated, he may end up being worth the risk. But with the team’s needs in the backcourt and on the wing, there were a number of prospects available at that slot who I believe could have helped the Bucks far more than Maker will in the near future.

As for Monroe, who has a player option for 2017/18 worth $17,884,176, the Bucks are still reportedly trying to find a taker for the big man’s services. Contrary to popular opinion, Monroe didn’t have a bad 2015/16 season, his first in Milwaukee, averaging 15.3 PPG and 8.8 RPG and shooting 52.2% from the field overall. But he was a bad fit for the Bucks’ roster, with his defense not being up to par and his lack of athleticism not meshing well with the style of play Kidd desires. The best thing for all parties involved would be for the team to find a taker for Monroe sooner, rather than later. The 26-year-old has been mentioned in trade rumors connected with the Hornets and Kings recently, as well as with the Pelicans earlier in the offseason.

Another player who appears to be a poor fit and is also reportedly on the trading block is point guard Michael Carter-Williams. Despite a recent endorsement from Kidd, the former Rookie of the Year was reportedly offered to the Kings in exchange for Ben McLemore, as Milwaukee struggles to fill the major void left by the devastating injury to Khris Middleton, who is expected to miss at least six months of action. Hammond’s September trade with the Rockets to land Michael Beasley isn’t likely the answer to mitigate the loss of Middleton, so Monroe and MCW remain the team’s two likeliest assets to be moved in any future swaps to address its hole at the wing.

While I’ve been critical of a number of the Bucks’ offseason moves, there is no way I can find any fault with the team inking superstar-in-waiting, Giannis Antetokounmpo to a four year, $100MM rookie scale extension. The Greek Freak is indeed the future of the franchise and locking him up through 2020/2021 at less than the projected maximum is a coup on Hammond’s part. The only worry I have regarding Antetokounpo is that his tremendous positional versatility will stunt his development. If Milwaukee continually shifts him around, it will make it difficult to focus and perfect his skills as he continually has to adjust to new challenges and position requirements. But it is a good problem to have, as the team will be able to structure its roster around him without worrying if he’ll still be a member of the team for the next four plus seasons.

Despite making some questionable expenditures this offseason, the Bucks have a number of solid building blocks along with a bona fide star in Antetokounmpo as they head into the future. The franchise would be best served to swing deals for MCW and Monroe in order to remove the distraction that near-constant trade rumors regarding the duo will bring. Plus, it would hopefully provide better balance to the roster. The injury to Middleton likely squashed any chance the Bucks had to make some noise in the Eastern Conference this season, which is unfortunate for all involved. If a number of the team’s younger players can step-up, playing .500 ball is a possibility in 2016/17.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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