Marvin Williams

Marvin Williams To Retire

Veteran NBA forward Marvin Williams has decided to call it a career, telling Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) that he’s retiring as a player.

Williams, 34, was the second overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft. He began his career by spending seven seasons with the Hawks before moving on to play for the Jazz, Hornets, and Bucks over the course of his 15-year career.

Although he never developed into the sort of star player Atlanta may have hoped for when drafting him ahead of Deron Williams and Chris Paul in 2005, Williams was an exemplary teammate and a reliable role player, averaging 10.2 PPG and 5.2 RPG on .443/.361/.808 shooting in 1,072 career regular season games (28.1 MPG).

The former UNC standout appeared in another 59 playoff contests, including 10 with Milwaukee this summer. He played his last NBA game on Tuesday night, recording 11 points and eight rebounds in the Bucks’ season-ending loss to Miami.

At age 34, Williams would likely still be able to get a minimum-salary contract on an NBA team this offseason if he wanted to extend his career. However, he had spoken back in January about considering retiring at the end of this season. At the time, he said he was interested in pursuing a role in international basketball outreach once his playing days were over.

“I like the Junior NBA (program) where you are basically a camp counselor all around the world,” Williams told Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. “Basketball Without Borders, I’ve done a couple of those: I went to Africa and I went to Indonesia. … Any opportunity I get to travel and work with kids? That’s what I would love to do.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Ennis, Williams Fined For On-Court Altercation

Magic forward James Ennis and Bucks forward Marvin Williams have each been fined $15K for their involvement in an on-court altercation during Game 3, the NBA announced in a press release.

The incident occurred with 5:39 remaining in the second quarter of Saturday’s contest, with Ennis and Williams battling for position and quickly getting tangled up. Both players began shoving each other and were subsequently ejected after the scuffle.

Williams has stated he has no interest in apologizing to Ennis and described the situation as one where he defended himself as a man, as relayed by Matt Velazquez of the Journal Sentinel (Twitter link).

Milwaukee defeated Orlando 121-107 behind Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s 35 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. Ennis, a starter, recorded one point and two rebounds prior to being ejected, while Williams grabbed two rebounds in six minutes off the bench.

The Bucks currently lead the series 2-1 with Game 4 scheduled to be aired by NBA TV on Monday.

Eastern Notes: Embiid, Williams, Iwundu, Magic

Sixers center Joel Embiid said he’d like to play with Ben Simmons for his entire career, Frank Urbina of Hoops Hype relays. Embiid made that comment during the Rights to Ricky Sanchez podcast.

“I love him and I want to be with him for the rest of my career because I think he still has a lot of potential and we can get so much better than we are by now,” Embiid said of his Sixers teammate. “I don’t see the point of ever playing with somebody else. That’s someone that we love to be playing with for the rest of my career.”

Both stars are locked into long-term deals with the Sixers. Embiid’s contract runs through the 2022/23 season, while Simmons can’t become a free agent until the summer of 2024.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Bucks veteran forward Marvin Williams did not play in the team’s restart opener on Friday but it’s a minor injury issue, Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tweets. Williams is dealing with a moderate left groin strain and his absence is expected to be short-term.
  • Wesley Iwundu cleared the league’s concussion protocol but didn’t play in the Magic’s first seeding game due to injury, the team’s PR department tweets. The swingman is dealing with neck stiffness and soreness, an issue that cropped up during a scrimmage on Saturday.
  • The Magic built a big lead against the depleted Nets and held on for a 128-118 victory on Friday. They’re eager to prove that they’re a playoff team during the eight seeding games at the Orlando campus, Roy Parry of the Orlando Sentinel writes. “We’re going to play meaningful games here, which is what this is all about,” Magic coach Steve Clifford said.

Central Notes: M. Williams, Carter, Drummond, Giannis

Marvin Williams looked at three Eastern Conference contenders when he started considering a buyout with the Hornets, writes Rick Bonnell of The Charlotte Observer. Williams thought about playing for the Bucks, Raptors or Celtics, and Milwaukee was the first team to express interest. The move has worked out well as he is playing 17 minutes per night as the primary backup at power forward.

“The easiest thing is actually the basketball aspect,” Williams said about changing teams in midseason for the first time in his 15-year career. “I’m in a new city meeting new people. All new teammates. Once I get out there on the court, it’s still all basketball.”

As the Hornets adopted a youth movement, Williams dropped out of the starting lineup and saw his playing time cut significantly. He will return to Charlotte today for the first time since the buyout and said he is comfortable with his legacy in the city.

“You hear people say you always want to leave something in better shape than when you got it,” Williams said. “I think (the Hornets were) in bad shape when I got there. I want people to remember I tried to do the right things when I was there.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Wendell Carter Jr. plans to talk to Bulls officials about a position change at his postseason exit interview, according to Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago has been using Carter at center, but he played power forward in high school and college and believes he can be more effective in that role in the NBA.
  • Andre Drummond is still adjusting to his new home in Cleveland and hasn’t decided if he wants to make a long-term commitment to the city, notes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Acquired at the trade deadline, the Cavaliers center has a player option for next season and could decide to become a free agent this summer. “I thought coming here I would just figure it out right away, but it’s definitely a culture shock and definitely a change for me,” he said. “Just going to a whole new team and feeling like being drafted again kind of. For me, it’s starting over and trying to learn everything from the ground up again.”
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo has responded in his back-and-forth with Rockets star James Harden, relays Eric Woodyard of ESPN. After the Bucks star took a couple of verbal swipes at Harden during All-Star Weekend, Harden said in an ESPN interview Friday, “I wish I could be seven feet, run and just dunk. That takes no skill at all.” Antetokounmpo insists he brings much more to the court. “My game is not just power for sure,” he said. “I came in when I was 18, I was 180 pounds, so to power through big guys was kind of tough.”

Eastern Notes: Williams, Kyrie, Raptors

Marvin Williams is making his debut for the Bucks on Wednesday night and ESPN’s Eric Woodyard (Twitter link) passes along the team’s initial plan for the veteran’s first appearance.

“We’re going to play him a little bit and see how it goes,” coach Mike Budenholzer said. “I’m excited about having him be a part of our group and how he can help us.”

Williams agreed to a buyout with Charlotte last week and inked a deal with Milwaukee over the weekend. Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Williams gives the Bucks another viable rotation option, making them an even deeper team, Alex Boeder of NBA.com writes. The former No. 2 overall pick’s shooting from outside should be particularly helpful for Milwaukee.
  • Coach Nick Nurse went on ESPN’s PTI today and was asked about one player behind the Raptors‘ success. Kyle Lowry,” the coach said. “I’ve never seen a guy play harder on the court.”
  • Brian Lewis of the New York Post (Twitter link) asked Nets coach Kenny Atkinson if Kyrie Irving will return after the All-Star break and he got an interesting response. “There’s a lot of days and I don’t want to go out and say something that I’d regret later,” Atkinson said. “When we get back, those first couple practices will determine where he is.”

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, B. Brown, Sixers, Kyrie

Celtics guard Kemba Walker, who was teammates with Marvin Williams for five seasons in Charlotte, said he spent several weeks trying to convince the veteran forward to join him in Boston when he was eventually bought out by the Hornets, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. After Williams joined the rival Bucks instead, Walker called up his longtime teammate to congratulate him on his new deal.

He said that he wished he could have gotten to Boston with me, but I’m just happy for him,” the Celtics’ All-Star point guard said, per Himmelsbach. “That’s my guy, man. That’s one of my favorite teammates I’ve ever been around. That’s my vet. I was upset that we didn’t get the chance to get him, but I’m happy for him. He deserves it. He’s been in the league for a very long time. He works hard. He deserves to be on a winning team.”

The Celtics figure to keep a close eye on the buyout market in the coming weeks, though they’ll have to waive a player from their 15-man roster if they want to bring anyone in.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Following last week’s trade deadline, Sixers general manager Elton Brand said he believes in Brett Brown‘s ability to lead the team. However, as Malika Andrews of ESPN writes, the 76ers’ GM stopped short of guaranteeing Brown would keep his job for the rest of the 2019/20 season. “I’m not going to play what-ifs,” Brand said. For what it’s worth, the team was mired in a four-game losing streak at the time of Brand’s comments and is 2-0 since then.
  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer explores what sort of roles newly-acquired bench pieces Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III will play for the Sixers, suggesting that Robinson may end up with a more defined role.
  • Kyrie Irving‘s right knee sprain will sideline him through the All-Star break, according to Malika Andrew (Twitter link), who says the Nets have ruled out the star point guard for Wednesday’s game vs. Toronto.

Bucks Officially Sign Marvin Williams

The Bucks have made it official with Marvin Williams, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed the veteran forward. Terms of the deal weren’t revealed, but it figures to be a one-year contract worth the prorated veteran’s minimum.

After remaining in Charlotte through the trade deadline, Williams quickly negotiated a buyout with the Hornets, clearing the way for him to join a contending team. Before that buyout with Charlotte was even official, Williams’ camp had lined up a deal with the NBA-leading Bucks, who released little-used big man Dragan Bender in order to create an opening on their 15-man roster.

Williams is unlikely to play major minutes in Milwaukee, but he’ll provide veteran leadership in the locker room and is still capable of playing a three-and-D role off the bench.

The 33-year-old has averaged a career-low 19.7 minutes per game in 41 contests for the Hornets in 2019/20, but has made 37.6% of his three-point attempts, slightly better than his career rate of 36.2%. He also contributed 6.7 PPG and 2.7 RPG in Charlotte this season.

Williams, who is in his 15th NBA season, suggested last month that he may consider retirement at season’s end. Before he seriously weighs that decision, he should get a legit chance to compete for a championship for the first time in his career — he has never made it beyond the second round in any previous postseason.

Williams’ new minimum-salary deal with the Bucks will pay him $956,348 for the final 66 days of the regular season — that’s the exact amount he gave up in his buyout with the Hornets, per Jeff Siegel of the Early Bird Rights (Twitter link). Milwaukee will carry a $604,278 cap hit for Williams.

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer noted that Williams will be listed as active for tonight’s game against the Kings but will probably not play, according to The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Matt Velazquez (Twitter link).

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucks Waive Dragan Bender

FEBRUARY 10: The Bucks issued a press release confirming they’ve officially waived Bender. They now have the roster spot necessary to finalize the signing of Williams.

FEBRUARY 8: The Bucks will waive big man Dragan Bender, clearing the way to sign forward Marvin Williams once he completes a buyout with the Hornets, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Bender, 22, has appeared in just seven games for Milwaukee this season while bouncing between the G League and the NBA squad. He has seemingly been a candidate to be waived all season since the two-year deal he signed over the summer was initially only partially guaranteed for 2019/20 and non-guaranteed for next season. Because this year’s salary became fully guaranteed last month, Milwaukee will be on the hook for the full $1,678,854 unless he’s claimed on waivers.

The Croatian big man has struggled in the NBA since being drafted fourth overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. After appearing in all 82 games for the Suns during his sophomore campaign, he has struggled to maintain any sort of stable role.

Williams, 33, averaged career-lows in PPG (6.7) and RPG (2.7) while playing a reduced role in Charlotte. He has scored a mere 10 points in his last four games but the veteran remains a capable three-point shooter and perimeter defender. Williams figures to help the Bucks down the stretch as the team pursues the best record in the Eastern Conference.

Heat Notes: Iguodala, Williams, Winslow, Olynyk

As Andre Iguodala remained in limbo for months in Memphis, rumors swirled about where he’d eventually land. When he spoke to Iguodala following his trade to Miami, Sam Amick of The Athletic pointed out that teams like the Lakers, Clippers, and Rockets were mentioned more often than the Heat as possible destinations. However, the veteran forward told Amick he was impressed by what he’d seen from the Heat this season.

“I watched them on TV a few times, and they’d been doing so well that they’re on everybody’s radar,” Iguodala said. “Like, ‘Man, these boys can play.’ They’re disciplined, they’re playing the right way, the DNA that’s in the organization, and how they drive the DNA and all the players who come through their system, from seasoned guys to young guys to undrafted guys and all the picks. They’re doing a good job with developing their players.”

A report leading up to the trade deadline suggested that Iguodala may decide to sit out the rest of the season if he wasn’t sent to one of his preferred landing spots, and it wasn’t clear that Miami was on that list. The 36-year-old didn’t confirm one way or the other whether he had to be talked into joining the Heat, but did say that a conversation with team president Pat Riley made him enthusiastic about the move.

“It’s just really getting you excited to play basketball, and getting you excited about what you’re going to do and what you’re bringing to the table,” Iguodala told Amick. “And when someone tells you that this is what you do, and this is what we’ve seen you do historically, and this is what we want you to do for us, it’s like, ‘Man, I can’t wait to do that.’ So that’s always good.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • What can Iguodala bring to the Heat? Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald passes along thoughts from Riley, Erik Spoelstra, Kelly Olynyk, Udonis Haslem, and Jimmy Butler on that subject.
  • The Heat were among several teams to inquire on forward Marvin Williams when he was bought out by Charlotte on Friday, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Although Miami missed out on Williams, the team still could be active on the buyout market. Riley said on Friday that the team wouldn’t mind adding a frontcourt player to help with rim protection, if possible.
  • One Heat official told Jackson that Justise Winslow had hoped to have a more prominent role and be one of the faces of the franchise in Miami. Winslow may have more of an opportunity to get that kind of role in Memphis, once he gets healthy.
  • After trading Dion Waiters and James Johnson last week, the Heat can get up to about $27MM in cap room this summer. That number would increase even further if Olynyk declines his $13.2MM player option, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. Olynyk hasn’t made that decision yet, suggesting he’ll have to weigh a handful of factors this spring. “I think it’s an accumulation of everything,” he said. “I mean, obviously you want to play. You want to win. You want to get paid. So, yeah, it’s like an accumulation of everything.”

Marvin Williams Finalizes Buyout With Hornets; Plans To Join Bucks

FEBRUARY 8: Williams has finalized his buyout agreement with the Hornets, according to a team press release. As noted below, he’s on track to join the Bucks once he clears waivers on Monday. Bender will be the player released by Milwaukee to make room, as we relayed in a separate story.

FEBRUARY 7: Veteran forward Marvin Williams is nearing a buyout agreement with the Hornets, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Williams is planning to sign with the Bucks once he completes the buyout and clears waivers, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Milwaukee has a full roster and would have to waive a player to add Williams. Dragan Bender appears to be the team’s likeliest release candidate.

Williams is making just over $15MM this season in the final year of a four-year, $54.5MM contract. Williams would become a target for several contenders, according to Wojnarowski.

Williams, 33, indicated last month he might retire after the season rather than seek another contract.

“I’ll be honest with you, I’ve certainly thought about being done,” Williams said at the time. “I feel like that’s where I am right now: I could do it or I could not.”

Williams, 33, is averaging a career-low 6.7 PPG and 2.7 RPG due to reduced playing time at 19.7 MPG. He’s a capable 3-point shooter (36.2% for his career) as well as a solid perimeter defender. He had an 18-point game last month against Milwaukee but has scored just 10 points in his last four appearances.