Brook Lopez

Brook Lopez Re-Signs With Bucks

JULY 6: The Bucks have officially re-signed Lopez, the team announced today in a press release.

JUNE 30: Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN is reporting that free agent big man Brook Lopez is planning to sign a four-year, $52MM deal to stay with the Bucks. As I wrote earlier today, Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box first reported that Lopez was a good bet to return. There will be no options on the deal, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today.

Lopez, who signed with the Bucks last season for the bi-annual exception worth only $3.4MM, will get a substantial raise after becoming an essential part of the Bucks’ growth into a championship contender under new coach Mike Budenholzer.

Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that it’s still unclear how Lopez’s contract will be structured, with the two likeliest possibilities being a flat $13MM per season through 2022/23 or a lower starting salary with standard 5% raises (Milwaukee can’t offer 8% raises because they only have Lopez’s Non-Bird rights).

Additionally, because the Bucks only have Lopez’s Non-Bird rights, they will need to renounce the cap holds for both Lopez and Nikola Mirotic and then re-sign Lopez using cap space. In order to retain the most space, Milwaukee will likely opt for the latter structure for Lopez’s contract.

The Kings were said to have interest in Lopez (along with a lot of other centers it would seem), as were the Lakers (link), but the Bucks and he were always motivated to get a deal done early in free agency.

The 31-year-old center, who was an All-Star with the Nets earlier in his career, will look to continue his improved three-point shooting next season after converting a career-high 36.5% from long range during the 2018/19 campaign.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Rumors: Middleton, Butler, Kanter, Temple

According to Marc Stein of The New York Times, the quietness surrounding the free agency destination of Bucks’ All-Star forward Khris Middleton is because interested front offices are universally presuming that Middleton is going back to Milwaukee on a “monster” five-year deal.

Middleton, 27, is eligible to sign a five-year, $189.904MM maximum-salary contract with the Bucks, while rival suitors can only (relatively speaking, of course) offer up to $140.791MM over four years.

Echoing Stein’s sentiment from rival front offices, Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box reports that Middleton is expected to re-sign with Milwaukee, adding that Brook Lopez and George Hill are also considered good bets to return.

Free Agent Rumors: Klay, Horford, Brogdon, Jordan

The Warriors have long hinted that they plan to offer Klay Thompson a five-year, maximum-salary deal, and there have been no signals that they’ll change that stance in the wake of Thompson’s torn ACL. So why are there rumblings about Thompson potentially meeting with other teams if the Warriors don’t put that offer on the table right away?

According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst, there are some “outstanding issues” that could force Thompson to try to generate some added leverage. Stephen Curry‘s five-year deal with the Warriors didn’t include a fifth-year opt-out or a no-trade clause, setting a precedent for what Golden State’s five-year max deals might look like going forward, as the ESPN duo notes. If Thompson prioritizes a player option or a no-trade clause, talking to the Lakers and/or Clippers may be his best chance to create a little extra leverage with the Warriors.

Elsewhere on the Warriors front, Draymond Green is eligible for a contract extension and is open to discussing a new deal before he reaches free agency in 2020, sources tell ESPN. Those talks are expected to happen later in the offseason, though I’d be surprised if they get something done, since Green could earn more in free agency.

Here’s more from Shelburne and Windhorst on the 2019 free agent class:

  • The Sixers and Kings are among the potential suitors for Al Horford, according to ESPN’s report. Sacramento, in particular, has a clear path to making Horford a big offer, but the club is believed to have other centers – including Brook Lopez and Nikola Vucevic – on its list of potential targets, per ESPN.
  • League executives believe a team may look to pry Malcolm Brogdon away from the Bucks by putting together an offer sheet that starts at a high number and descends in later seasons, according to Shelburne and Windhorst. A player option and various bonuses could also be added to such an offer sheet, the ESPN duo adds, identifying the Bulls, Suns, Mavericks, and Celtics (if they don’t get Kemba Walker) as possible suitors for Brogdon.
  • The Bucks will almost certainly waive George Hill to avoid guaranteeing his $19MM salary, but there’s mutual interest in a new deal between the two sides, especially if the club doesn’t retain Brogdon, according to ESPN.
  • DeAndre Jordan is believed to have interest in playing in Los Angeles again, sources tell ESPN. Either the Clippers or Lakers could be a fit for the veteran center.

Bucks Rumors: Brogdon, Lopez, Hill, Mirotic

After entering the exclusive 50/40/90 shooting club in 2018/19, Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon will be a sought-after target this offseason. Sources tell Gery Woelfel of WoelfelsPressBox.com that the Sixers and Pacers are among the teams considering making a play for the restricted free agent.

Four NBA sources who spoke to Woelfel predicted that Brogdon would receive an offer in the range of $16-21MM per year. And while most of those sources have heard that the Bucks plan to match any offer on Brogdon, they’re not all entirely convinced that will happen.

“They can say that now, but I’m sure the Bucks, just like any team, have a cutoff point where they won’t go over to keep him,” an Eastern Conference executive said to Woelfel. “I still think he (Brogdon) is the odd guy out in Milwaukee.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe expressed a similar sentiment during the network’s free agency special on Tuesday night. As relayed by Sagar Trika (via Twitter), the two ESPN insiders discussed whether Milwaukee would be able to retain all three of Brogdon, Khris Middleton, and Brook Lopez, and agreed that Brogdon might be the trickiest to bring back.

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • The Bucks and Brook Lopez are both motivated to get a deal done, a source tell Chris Mannix of SI.com. Woelfel’s sources believe Lopez will get an annual salary in the range of $10-13MM in free agency, and view Los Angeles as a potential fit for the big man if he doesn’t stick with the Bucks. “I’ve been hearing a quite a bit about the Lakers and Lopez,” one executive told Woelfel.
  • Executives who spoke to Woelfel view George Hill as a candidate to receive an offer in the neighborhood of $7-10MM if and when he’s released by the Bucks. That would make him a target for teams with the full mid-level exception available.
  • One NBA executive predicted a salary in the $13-15MM range for Nikola Mirotic, while another league official split the difference and projected $14MM, Woelfel writes. Mirotic is considered more likely to leave the Bucks than to re-sign, given the club’s cap limitations.
  • Veteran guard Xavier Munford, who has previously appeared in NBA games for Memphis and Milwaukee, will suit up for the Bucks’ Summer League squad in July, tweets Malika Andrews of ESPN.com.

Rockets Eyeing Danny Green, Jeremy Lamb, Others

While Jimmy Butler is the Rockets‘ “dream addition,” the team has its eye on a number of other potential targets in free agency, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic.

[RELATED: Rockets to pursue sign-and-trade for Jimmy Butler]

A source with knowledge of the Rockets’ plans tells Amick that Danny Green, Jeremy Lamb, Al-Farouq Aminu, DeAndre Jordan, Brook Lopez, and Kevon Looney are among the veteran free agents that have piqued the club’s interest.

General manager Daryl Morey has indicated that the Rockets would like to add a third star to complement James Harden and Chris Paul, whose supposedly “unsalvageable” relationship was referred to as “fake news” by P.J. Tucker within Amick’s story. Multiple reports have identified Butler as the team’s most likely target.

However, there are a number of roadblocks standing in the way of acquiring Butler — the Sixers would have to agree to a sign-and-trade, a third team would likely have to be involved due to Base Year Compensation rules, and Houston’s ability to fill out a roster around Harden, Paul, and Butler would be extremely limited due to a hard cap. And, of course, Butler would have to want to go to Houston badly enough to try to make it all work.

If the Rockets strike out on Butler, they’re more likely to simply operate as an over-the-cap team and make use of the mid-level exception to add another rotation player to their core. Depending on the club’s proximity to the tax apron, that mid-level could either be worth about $9.25MM (full) or $5.71MM (taxpayer).

That’s where the free agents listed above would come in to play, though even some of those guys – including Green, Lamb, and Lopez – may be out of reach with the mid-level (especially the taxpayer MLE) unless they’re willing to take a bit of a discount. All the players named by Amick will be unrestricted free agents this summer.

Lakers To Pursue Brook Lopez, Jordan?

Could a Brook Lopez-Lakers reunion be in the works? According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, it’s possible (hat tip to RealGM).

Windhorst said on an ESPN podcast that the Lakers are interested in bringing in a center, with Lopez and DeAndre Jordan being potential targets on the free agent market.

“The Lakers, I think, are sniffing around (Lopez). I think the Lakers need perimeter players. I think they’re going to have to use their money on perimeter players. I know DeAndre Jordan is a guy on the Lakers’ radar that they’re hoping they may able to get for relatively cheap because he wants to be back in L.A.”

Lopez was one of the biggest bargains in free agency last season after the Lakers let him walk. He signed a one-year, $3.4MM contract with the Bucks and proved to be a great fit for Milwaukee’s scheme. He started 81 games during the regular season and averaged 12.5 PPG, 4.9 RPG and 2.2 BPG while draining 36.5% of his 3-point tries. The previous season, Lopez played 74 games with the Lakers and posted 13.0/4.0/1.3 averages in those categories.

Jordan, the longtime Clippers center, had a disappointing 50-game stay with the Mavericks before he was tossed into the Kristaps Porzingis blockbuster with the Knicks. He started 19 games for New York and averaged 10.9 PPG and 11.4 RPG.

The Lakers have also been linked to Nikola Vucevic, so presumably they’re planning to go very big and use Anthony Davis quite a bit at power forward and LeBron James at small forward.

Team USA Announces 20-Player Camp Roster For World Cup

USA Basketball has officially announced the group of 20 players that will participate in training camp this summer in advance of the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The camp will take place from August 5-9, and will be used to select the 12-man roster for this year’s World Cup in China.

The 20-man training camp roster is as follows:

  1. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  2. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  3. Anthony Davis (Pelicans)
  4. Andre Drummond (Pistons)
  5. Eric Gordon (Rockets)
  6. James Harden (Rockets)
  7. Tobias Harris (Sixers / FA)
  8. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  9. Damian Lillard (Trail Blazers)
  10. Brook Lopez (Bucks / FA)
  11. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  12. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  13. CJ McCollum (Trail Blazers)
  14. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  15. Paul Millsap (Nuggets)
  16. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  17. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  18. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  19. P.J. Tucker (Rockets)
  20. Kemba Walker (Hornets / FA)

“I am excited about getting to training camp in August and working with all of the players that have been selected to attend the USA National Team training camp in Las Vegas,” Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich said in a statement. “We’ve got an excellent cross-section of veteran USA Basketball and NBA players, as well as some exciting younger players who possess amazing versatility.

“I’m appreciative of commitment that our National Team players continue to make, and the eagerness of the new players to become involved,” Popovich continued. “Selecting a 12-man team will be extremely difficult.”

It will be an eventful summer for many of the players on the 20-man Team USA training camp roster. Besides Harris, Lopez, and Walker, who are all headed for unrestricted free agency and could be on new teams by August, players like Barnes, Middleton, and Millsap could reach the open market if their player or team options are declined. Others – including Davis, Gordon, Kuzma, Tatum, and Tucker – have been mentioned in trade rumors.

Kuzma and Mitchell are the only players on the roster who haven’t played internationally for Team USA in the past. Five player on the roster (Barnes, Davis, Harden, Love, and Lowry) have won gold medals for USA Basketball at the 2012 or 2016 Olympics, while two others (Drummond and Gordon) have taken home gold at previous World Cups.

Previous reports indicated that Zion Williamson, John Collins, and Marvin Bagley are expected to be among the players named to a 10-man select team that will scrimmage with Team USA’s 20-man roster at the training camp in August.

Warriors Notes: Durant, Thompson, Gay, Lopez

Kevin Durant‘s return appears to be the only thing that can save the Warriors in the NBA Finals, writes Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. Golden State’s hopes for a three-peat are fragile as they head to Toronto with a 3-1 deficit. Injuries have hampered the Warriors throughout the playoffs, but the Raptors are the first team to fully take advantage.

There’s no guarantee Durant will return in time to make a difference and there’s not much evidence his condition has improved significantly since he suffered what was called a “mild” calf strain in the conference semifinals. Coach Steve Kerr told reporters last night that he will no longer provide daily updates on Durant’s condition.

“We’re hoping he can play Game 5 or 6,” Kerr said. “And everything in between I’ve decided I’m not sharing because it’s just gone haywire. There’s so much going on, and so it doesn’t make sense to continue to talk about it. He’s either going to play or he’s not.”

There’s more news on the two-time defending champs:

  • Since the injury occurred, the Warriors haven’t put a timeline on Durant’s return other than to say they’re optimistic he will be back, notes Mark Medina of The San Jose Mercury News. Kerr is leaving all decisions to the medical staff, which has determined that Durant isn’t in condition to play. Medina observes that a mild calf strain would be considered Grade 1, which have a seven- to 10-day recovery time. It’s more likely Durant has a Grade 2 condition, which would sideline him for four to six weeks. He suffered the injury exactly a month ago.
  • Medina identifies Rudy Gay and Brook Lopez as upcoming free agents who might be willing to take the Warriors’ $5.3MM taxpayer mid-level exception for next season. He adds that Golden State will re-sign Klay Thompson “for sure” and will take advantage of Kevon Looney‘s Bird Rights to keep him.
  • Problems at center are among the reasons for the 3-1 deficit, contends Ben Rohrbach of Yahoo Sports. He calls DeMarcus Cousins “a disaster” in Game 4, unable to keep up with the Raptors after returning from a first-round quad injury. Looney, playing with a costal cartilage fracture, didn’t contribute much after halftime, leaving 34-year-old Andrew Bogut as the best choice in the middle.

More Names Revealed For Team USA World Cup Tryouts

Team USA’s training camp roster for the FIBA World Cup will be announced next week, but four players have already been confirmed, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

Anthony Davis, James Harden, Donovan Mitchell and Kemba Walker will definitely be part of the team, while the other 14 slots are still being worked out. The roster will be trimmed to 12 when the players gather in Las Vegas in early August to prepare for the tournament, which takes place from August 31 to September 15 in China.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski drops a few more names in a full story on the World Cup tryouts, which sources tell him are also expected to include Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Bradley Beal and Kevin Love. Others planning to be part of the camp include Eric Gordon, Jayson Tatum, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, LaMarcus Aldridge, Andre Drummond and Kyle Kuzma.

P.J. Tucker will attend training camp as well, tweets ESPN’s Tim MacMahon, and league sources tell Woj that Paul Millsap also plans to be there. Other names leaked for the camp are Tobias Harris (Twitter link from Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer) and Myles Turner (Twitter link from Scott Agness of the Athletic).

Zion Williamson, expected to be the first pick in the draft later this month, has been invited to camp as part of the 10-man select team that will scrimmage against the 18-man roster, Stein tweets. Williamson will be given a chance to play his way onto the final roster if he has a standout performance in that role, according to USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo (Twitter link).

The select team will also include John Collins and Marvin Bagley, tweets Tim Bomtemps of ESPN.

The camp will be held from August 5-8, with exhibition games to follow before the start of World Cup play. Gregg Popovich will serve as head coach.

Bucks Notes: Kaminsky, Lopez, Hill, Giannis

In the market for a big man who could stretch the floor at the trade deadline, the Bucks made an effort to acquire Frank Kaminsky from the Hornets, but were turned down, sources tell Sean Deveney of Sporting News. Having missed out on Kaminsky, Milwaukee instead sent a handful of second-round picks to New Orleans to acquire Nikola Mirotic.

With Mirotic and Brook Lopez both headed for unrestricted free agency this summer, however, Deveney expects the Bucks to circle back to Kaminsky, who will be eligible for restricted free agency. Milwaukee’s ability to land him will depend on a number of factors, including how serious the Hornets are about re-signing him and what happens with the Bucks’ own free agent bigs. Still, it’s a potential pairing to watch, particularly if Kaminsky becomes unrestricted and is available at a discount.

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • In a separate article for Sporting News, Deveney previewed the Bucks’ offseason, suggesting that the team will make Khris Middleton its top priority in free agency this summer over Lopez, Malcolm Brogdon, and others.
  • After the Bucks’ season ended last weekend, Lopez said he’d “love to be back,” while George Hill – who is expected to be waived to avoid his full $19MM guarantee – said that money has never been the most important factor for him in free agency, as Malika Andrews of ESPN.com relays.
  • In an interesting piece for The Athletic, Eric Nehm spoke to Giannis Antetokounmpo about what the Bucks star learned during his first extended playoff run, and how he’ll apply those lessons going forward. “There are so many things I thought were tough in the regular season,” Antetokounmpo said after playing three rounds of postseason basketball. “They’re not.”
  • The Bucks recently worked out UNC forward Cameron Johnson, per Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box (via Twitter). The 21st player on ESPN’s big board, Johnson may no longer be available by the time Milwaukee picks at No. 30.