Central Notes: Bucks, Pistons’ FA Targets, Williams, Donovan III

An expensive core of players will limit the Bucks‘ ability to add talent this summer, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Although there’s a need to upgrade after a chaotic season that ended with a first-round playoff exit, the front office will likely be sorting through minimum-salary options to fill out the roster.

Milwaukee’s salary situation starts with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard, who are each owed $48.8MM next season, which combines for about 69% of the projected $141MM salary cap. Adding $31.7MM for Khris Middleton and $23MM for Brook Lopez puts the Bucks above $152MM, exceeding the cap with just four players.

Beyond that, Milwaukee will pay $12.6MM to Bobby Portis and $9.4MM to Pat Connaughton, plus minimum contracts for MarJon Beauchamp ($2.7MM) and Chris Livingston ($1.9MM). Andre Jackson Jr. only has a $946K guarantee on his $1.9MM salary until January, and A.J. Green‘s $2.1MM contract is non-guaranteed until July 8.

Keeping all those players would cost the Bucks about $180.85MM, Nehm adds, which puts them over the projected first tax apron of $178.655MM with at least four more slots that have to be filled. If Milwaukee holds on to its 23rd ($2.95MM) and 33rd ($1.16MM) picks in the draft and signs two minimum-salary veterans, the team will exceed the $189.485MM second apron without including $2.3MM in unlikely incentives for Middleton.

Nehm notes that the Bucks need to add point-of-attack defenders, help on the wing, and a backup center, but it will tough to find any of those things while operating under the apron restrictions.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Kings guard Malik Monk, Nets center Nic Claxton and Magic guard Gary Harris should be targets for the Pistons in free agency, James L. Edwards of The Athletic states in a mailbag column. Monk would provide much-needed three-point shooting and can attack off the dribble, Edwards notes, while Claxton would be a proven rim protector and Harris fills a need as a three-and-D wing. Edwards also expects Detroit to re-sign free agent forward Simone Fontecchio.
  • In the same piece, Edwards suggests the odds are about 50-50 on head coach Monty Williams remaining with the Pistons. Edwards states that it works in Williams’ favor that he still has five years remaining on his six-year, $78MM contract and he didn’t have a good roster to work with. However, he got 62 games out of Cade Cunningham and still produced fewer wins than Dwane Casey did before the last coaching change.
  • Billy Donovan III, the son of the Bulls‘ head coach, will be the next coach of the team’s G League affiliate, according to Ryan Taylor of NBC Sports Chicago. He’ll replace former Windy City Bulls head coach Henry Domercant, who could wind up on Chicago’s coaching staff, Taylor adds.
View Comments (14)