Bucks Notes: Lopez, Ibaka, Trade Kicker, Cash

Bucks center Brook Lopez didn’t undergo surgery right away when a back injury sidelined him after opening night. As Eric Nehm of The Athletic relays, Lopez said he and the team tried several different treatments before ultimately deciding that he had to go under the knife.

“That option wasn’t on the table for the most part until it kind of was. We didn’t think we needed surgery and then we got to the point where it became an option, became available,” Lopez said. “It was a little disappointing at first, but again, I think our guys have done a great job helping me heal and then giving me great work to do that I’m able to do, both now and then giving me stuff to do in the meantime. It sort of made my return easier.”

Lopez explained that he had a “bit of a bulging disc” in his lower back that had to be addressed in the procedure, writes Nehm. The Bucks have expressed confidence that the veteran center will make it back this season, but haven’t offered a set timeline. Asked whether he could provide a timetable on his return, Lopez didn’t offer any specifics.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. It won’t be today, but sometime past today,” he joked.

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • In a separate story for The Athletic, Nehm looks at what newly-acquired big man Serge Ibaka will bring to the Bucks. Ibaka, who can knock down outside shots and protect the rim, will likely become Milwaukee’s third big man behind Giannis Antetokounmpo and Bobby Portis, but his recovery from a back issue has limited his effectiveness this season. If Lopez can return before the end of the season, Ibaka may end up just being an insurance piece, Nehm writes.
  • Ibaka waived his full 15% trade kicker as part of the trade agreement, a source tells Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype (Twitter link). In order to make the deal work from a financial perspective, Ibaka wouldn’t have been able to cash in on his full trade bonus — it appears he didn’t insist on receiving any portion of it.
  • The Bucks received $3,285,000 in cash from the Clippers as part of the Ibaka trade, reports John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link). That was the maximum amount the Clips could’ve sent out in a deadline deal. They’ve now reached the $5,785,000 limit for the 2021/22 league year.
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