Justin James

Bucks’ Sign-And-Trade For Bogdanovic In Peril

The agreement between the Bucks and Kings that would send Bogdan Bogdanovic to Milwaukee in a sign-and-trade is in peril, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, who reports that there was never an agreement from Bogdanovic to join the Bucks.

That element of the deal has become a major issue, according to Amick, who hears from a high-ranking team official that it’s not clear whether the move will be completed when free agency opens. The deal, which was reported late on Monday night, would send Bogdanovic and Justin James to the Bucks in exchange for Ersan Ilyasova, D.J. Wilson, and Donte DiVincenzo.

It’s hard to know what to make of this update. As I pointed out on Monday night when the story broke, it’s very unusual for a deal that involves a free agent changing teams to be reported several days before free agency actually begins. The NBA’s tampering rules would technically prohibit the Bucks from having any contact with Bogdanovic before Friday, so on one hand, a miscommunication wouldn’t be a major surprise.

On the other hand, it’s very unlikely that the Bucks and Kings would have agreed to a deal involving five players and overlooked the fact that Bogdanovic wasn’t fully on board with it. If Bogdanovic never agreed, it’s also odd that there wasn’t any real pushback on Monday’s reporting until now.

As Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report observes (via Twitter), it sounds like either someone “badly” messed up or the Kings and Bucks took heat from the NBA for leaking a deal involving a free agent well before the start of free agency and are now trying to walk it back.

Needless to say, we’ll be keeping a close eye on this situation this week to see if the Bucks, Kings, and Bogdanovic eventually work something out or if it falls apart entirely.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucks To Acquire Bogdan Bogdanovic From Kings In Sign-And-Trade

UPDATE: This deal has fallen apart. Read the details here.


The Bucks will acquire restricted free agent swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic from the Kings in a sign-and-trade deal once free agency opens, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Sources tell Wojnarowski that Milwaukee will send Donte DiVincenzo, D.J. Wilson, and Ersan Ilyasova to Sacramento in the deal, while the Bucks will also receive forward Justin James from the Kings (Twitter links).

Multiple reports in recent weeks indicated that the Bucks had interest in Bogdanovic and would pursue him in a sign-and-trade scenario. Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reiterated that interest tonight in the wake of Milwaukee’s agreement to acquire Jrue Holiday, tweeting that Bogdanovic was also being eyed by the Hawks.

Still, even in the wake of O’Connor’s report, we didn’t expect to learn so early in the week that the Kings and Bucks have already reached an agreement. Since Bogdanovic will technically be a free agent, he and Milwaukee aren’t supposed to have any contact until Friday, so the NBA likely won’t be thrilled that news of this deal has already leaked.

Bogdanovic enjoyed arguably the best season of his three-year NBA career in 2019/20, averaging 15.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 3.4 APG on .440/.372/.741 shooting in 61 contests (29.0 MPG). He earned a promotion to the starting lineup in January, displacing Buddy Hield, and helped lead the Kings to a 16-12 record during his 28 games as a starter.

Re-signing Bogdanovic was believed to be a priority for the Kings, so it’s a little surprising that the team is prepared to move him in a sign-and-trade deal. However, former general manager Vlade Divac seemed more committed to the 28-year-old Serbian than new GM Monte McNair.

The Kings’ willingness to move on from Bogdanovic is good news for the Bucks, who have reshaped their lineup with this move and the acquisition of Holiday, putting themselves in a great position to sell Giannis Antetokounmpo on signing a five-year, super-max contract extension this fall.

As for the Kings, they’re likely not viewing Ilyasova’s expiring $7MM contract as a major asset, and Wilson is coming off a disappointing third season. DiVincenzo is the headliner of their package, having averaged 9.2 PPG and 4.8 RPG on .455/.336/.733 in 66 games (23.0 MPG) last year for Milwaukee. He’s a strong perimeter defender who – at age 23 – still has plenty of room to improve and is under contract for two more years before reaching restricted free agency.

It’s not yet clear what Bogdanovic’s new contract with the Bucks will look like, but the deal must span at least three seasons, with a guaranteed first year. Based on Milwaukee’s outgoing salary, he could receive a starting salary of up to approximately $18MM, assuming Ilyasova’s salary becomes guaranteed. However, the Bucks will have to be conscious of the hard cap — as a result of acquiring a player via sign-and-trade, they’ll be unable to surpass a team salary of $138,928,000 in 2020/21.

The base year compensation rule will also apply to Bogdanovic’s new deal and will complicate salary-matching to some extent, though the inclusion of James should prevent it from becoming an issue for Sacramento.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

California Notes: MCW, Clippers, Kings, Smith, Waiters

The Warriors will need to consider free agent backup point guard candidates during their upcoming offseason. Since Golden State will be stretched thin due to some exorbitant contracts to the team’s top four players, The Athletic’s Anthony Slater makes the case for 28-year-old injury-prone non-shooter Michael Carter-Williams, an unrestricted free agent, on a league minimum.

Carter-Williams, a career 40.3% shooter from the floor (and a 25.6% shooter from deep), has logged time with the Sixers, Bucks, Bulls, Hornets, Rockets and Magic in his seven NBA seasons. Slater lauds the 6’5″ guard’s size and notes that his three-point shooting has improved with Orlando, adding that he was a +27 in his time on the floor during the Magic’s three road games, all wins, before the NBA season pause on March 11. For 2019/20, Carter-Williams is shooting a below-average 29.4% from long range, which would be his career-high over a full season.

There are more updates out of California:

  • The Clippers are using their practices in the NBA’s Disney World campus to fully integrate recent additions Marcus Morris, Reggie Jackson and Joakim Noah, per Mirjam Swanson of the Orange County Register. “It’s pretty much we know who we want to play, but as far as the rotations and the minutes, I think that’s still a little bit in flux,” head coach Doc Rivers noted. “We’ll see. You kind of decide on what you’re going to do going by how you’re practicing.”
  • With several Kings players currently unavailable, rookies Justin James, Kyle Guy and DaQuan Jeffries will be able to use team practices and scrimmages in Disney World as an opportunity to prove their mettle, according to The Athletic’s Jason Jones. Sacramento head coach Luke Walton noted that the young players are “getting crucial reps in practice and most likely, at least in the preseason (scrimmage) games, they’ll be getting some meaningful minutes as well.”
  • Newly-minted Lakers wings J.R. Smith and Dion Waiters have been using their Orlando campus tenure to bond with their L.A. teammates, per Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register. Head coach Frank Vogel commended the team’s new backcourt additions with helping to stoke everyone’s competitive fire. “They both bring toughness and swag — those guys are killers,” Vogel said. “They go after it with great competitive spirit and they have the talent to back it up and be highly productive on the court.”

Pacific Notes: James, Holmes, Mulder, Davis

Kings rookie guard Justin James received a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injection on Tuesday to treat patellar tendinitis in his right knee, according to a team press release. An update regarding his status will be provided in 1-2 weeks. A second-round pick out of Wyoming, James has appeared in 34 NBA games, averaging 2.5 PPG in 6.4 MPG. His most recent appearance was a two-minute stint on Saturday.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • With the return of Richaun Holmes from a shoulder injury, the Kings now have three viable options to center, Akis Yerocostas of the Sacramento Bee points out. Harry Giles and Alex Len performed well in his absence and have also earned playing time. It’s likely Holmes will see the majority of the minutes barring injury or foul trouble, Yerocostas continues, with Len and Giles splitting the bench minutes depending upon whether the Kings need more size and defense (Len) or more offense (Giles).
  • The Warriors used a remaining portion of their mid-level exception to sign shooting guard Mychal Mulder to a three-year contract, John Hollinger of The Athletic tweets. The last two years of the contract are not fully guaranteed. Mulder will receive a partial guarantee of $200K if he’s on the opening-night roster next season, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets. His contract for the 2021/22 campaign has no guarantees. Golden State is now $310K below the luxury-tax line, Marks adds.
  • Lakers star forward Anthony Davis has struck a balance between basketball and new business ventures, as Mark Medina of USA Today details. Thus far, his off-court ventures haven’t been a distraction. “For the most part,” Davis said, “I’m focusing on playing and doing great things.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/15/20

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/14/20

Here are Tuesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Thunder have assigned Justin Patton to the G League, according to the team’s website. Patton has appeared in 22 games for the Oklahoma City Blue, averaging 10.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.77 blocks per game.
  • The Kings are sending Wenyen Gabriel and Justin James to the Stockton Kings, per the team’s Twitter feed.  Neither player has received consistent playing time with the NBA club this season.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/12/20

Here are Sunday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/11/20

Here are Saturday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

Kings Notes: James, Giles, Playoff Changes, Doncic

Second-round pick Justin James made an impression Friday with 14 points, three rebounds and three assists in his first significant playing time of the season. Before that, the Kings guard was mostly known for his non-stop chatter, writes Jason Jones of The Athletic.

James is talkative and opinionated, something that has been evident since the start of training camp. It’s his way of showing that he belongs in the league, and his teammates have noticed.

“He has that ‘it’ factor — he’s not shy,” Buddy Hield said. “From Day 1 when he first came in, he was not too shy to talk back, shy to voice his opinion … but he means well, and that comes from being confident.”

Sacramento took James with the 40th pick in June, and some draft experts were surprised he was selected at all. However, a series of injuries has provided him with an opportunity, and he played 33 minutes against Brooklyn after getting just 15 total minutes before that game.

“Every practice, he never shuts up, really,” coach Luke Walton said. “I think because of that, he knows the offense, he knows the play calls. There was one play out there he was directing veterans out there where to go. I think he knows what an amazing opportunity this is for him, and he’s doing everything in his power to make it work. He made a nice case for himself.”

There’s more from Sacramento:

  • The Kings haven’t given up on Harry Giles, even though they decided not to pick up the fourth year of his rookie scale contract last month, according to James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Giles, who has been plagued by injuries since high school, provides another dimension with his ability to run the offense through the high post. Knee soreness caused him to miss all of training camp and the first eight games of the season.
  • Proposed changes to the NBA’s playoff format could have helped the Kings reach the postseason last year, Ham notes in a separate story. The play-in system that the league is considering would have matched the Kings and Lakers in a one-game format to take on the loser between the Spurs and Clippers for the eighth seed.
  • The Kings passed on Luka Doncic in last year’s draft in part because general manager Vlade Divac doesn’t like Doncic’s father, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon claimed on a podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski (hat tip to Jesse Reed of Sportsnaut). “My understanding is that him (Divac) being so close to Luka and knowing his dad so well factored into their decision,” MacMahon said. “Basically he didn’t think a whole lot of Luka’s dad, and the whole like father like son … well … no, this is a different dude. You messed that one up, Vlade.”

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 11/14/19

Here are Thursday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • One day after assigning the pair, the Bucks have recalled Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Dragan Bender from the team’s G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, according to a tweet from the team’s official account (link). Bender scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Herd’s win over the Capital City Go-Go on Wednesday, while Antetokounmpo finished with 14 points.
  • Like Milwaukee, the Kings recalled rookies Wenyen Gabriel and Justin James just one day after sending them both down to the team’s G League affiliate for a game (Twitter link). The Stockton Kings beat the Sioux Falls Skyforce yesterday, with Gabriel scoring 20 points and James adding 17.
  • Per a team press release, the Timberwolves have recalled forward Keita Bates-Diop from the Iowa Wolves, the team’s G League affiliate. Bates-Diop is averaging 22.5 points and 4.5 rebounds over two games in the G League this season.
  • The Clippers have recalled both center Mfiondu Kabengele and guard Derrick Walton Jr. from their G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers, the team’s official PR account tweeted out this afternoon. The pair was assigned on Tuesday.
  • With no practice on the schedule for today, the Grizzlies assigned guards Grayson Allen and De’Anthony Melton to the Memphis Hustle for their practice, according to a tweet from Memphis’ PR account (link). Allen’s assignment is in connection with rehab of his sore left ankle, while Melton’s is tied to a long-term conditioning and performance plan.