Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks Expected To Sign Bronson Koenig

The Bucks are expected to reach a deal with Wisconsin product Bronson Koenig, Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders tweets. The senior is the Badgers’ all-time three-point leader.

Per Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net, the agreement could come in the form of a two-way deal, one of the new contractual mechanisms implemented by the latest collective bargaining agreement.

Until the signing is official, we won’t know exactly what the terms of the contract will be, so there exists the possibility that its simply for Summer League.

Clippers Acquire Sindarius Thornwell From Bucks

JUNE 23, 12:35am: The deal is official, with the Clippers sending cash considerations to the Bucks in exchange for Thornwell’s draft rights, per a press release.

JUNE 22, 11:03pm: Having already reached a deal for the No. 39 pick, the Clippers have picked up another second-rounder, according to Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Turner reports (via Twitter) that Los Angeles has bought the No. 48 overall pick from the Bucks.

The Clippers are using the pick on South Carolina guard Sindarius Thornwell, per Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter link).

Thornwell was the SEC Player of the Year in 2016/17, averaging 21.4 PPG to go along with 7.2 RPG and 2.1 SPG. He also upped his shooting percentages to .445/.395/.830, all career-bests.

The exact details of the deal aren’t yet known, but it appears that the Clippers paid cash to obtain the pick from Milwaukee.

Bucks To Acquire Sterling Brown From Sixers

The Bucks and Sixers have reached an agreement on the No. 46 overall pick, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical. Charania reports (via Twitter) that Milwaukee is acquiring the pick – and the draft rights to SMU’s Sterling Brown – from Philadelphia.

Brown is a 6’6″ senior who averaged 13.4 points and 6.5 rebounds for the Mustangs this season. He is the younger brother of former NBA player Shannon Brown.

In addition to top pick Markelle Fultz and Anzejs Pasecniks at No. 25, the Sixers came away from the draft with two second-rounders, Jonah Bolden at No. 36 and Mathias Lessort at No. 50.

Draft Notes: Ball, Ntilikina, Bulls, Mavericks

The Lakers are widely expected to take Lonzo Ball with the No. 2 pick after trading D’Angelo Russell on Tuesday, but Ball tells Adam Zagoria of FanRag Sports that he hasn’t received a guarantee from the team. Ball worked out twice for L.A., with the second time reportedly at the request of the Lakers after a disappointing showing in the first session. “I think they were both fine,” he said. L.A. is still giving “real consideration” to Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, tweets Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders.

There’s more news as teams lock in their draft strategies:

  • French point guard Frank Ntilikina held a last-minute workout for the Knicks this morning, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Sources tell Berman that the Mavericks, who are also in the market for a point guard, talked to the Timberwolves about trading up from the ninth pick to the seventh to have a shot at Ntilikina, but talks collapsed because of Minnesota’s high asking price. The Wolves would prefer to use that pick as part of a package to get Jimmy Butler from the Bulls. Today’s workout was conducted by former Knicks player developmental coach Chris Brickley, who tutored Ntilikina last summer.
  • If the Bulls do move Butler, they will likely target Fox or Josh Jackson, tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.
  • The Celtics are also interested in the seventh pick and have spoken to the Wolves about a possible deal, tweets Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Boston may want an extra draft choice to sweeten its offer to the Knicks for Kristaps Porzingis.
  • Responding to Damian Lillard‘s request for a better supporting cast, the Trail Blazers are trying to acquire a lottery pick, tweets Mitch Lawrence of The Sporting News. Portland’s priority in any deal is getting rid of a bad contract, according to Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). The Blazers made an offer for Paul George, but it “doesn’t move the needle” for the Pacers, relays Jason Quick of CSNNW (Twitter link).
  • The Raptors, who hold the No. 23 pick, are gauging interest around the league and are willing to trade down, according to Scotto (Twitter link).
  • The Nuggets, who have the 13th selection, are another team that may try to move down, tweets Jonathan Givony of Draft Express. He notes that Denver has a history of making draft-night trades.
  • Several teams have expressed an interest in moving into the late part of the lottery, according to Givony (Twitter link). He lists the Lakers, Hawks, Nets, Bucks, Trail Blazers and Rockets as teams that might try to acquire a pick in the 10-14 range.

Draft Notes: Mitchell, Jackson, Tatum, Ferguson

Louisville guard Donovan Mitchell will hold a last-minute workout for the Knicks today, posts Ian Begley on ESPN Now. The sophomore out of Louisville, whose session was originally scheduled for Tuesday, is being considered with the No 8 pick, Begley adds, along with French point guard Frank Ntilikina, Kentucky guard Malik Monk, Arizona big man Lauri Markkanen and others. Team president Phil Jackson is intrigued by Mitchell’s defensive prowess and athleticism and likes the fact that he prefers to work out in a group setting to showcase his defense. Joining Mitchell today will be Villanova’s Josh Hart, Miami’s Davon Reed, Iowa State’s Naz Long and others.

There’s more draft news on the eve of the big event:

  • The Celtics have received Josh Jackson‘s medical records, but the Kansas forward still refuses to work out for the team, tweets Chad Ford of ESPN.com. Boston appears to be leaning toward Duke’s Jayson Tatum with the No. 3 pick, Ford states, but no decision has been made.
  • Ford still has Jackson as the third selection in his latest mock draft, which was released today. Markelle Fultz remains No. 1, followed by Lonzo Ball, with the rest of the top 10 as Tatum, Jonathan Isaac, De’Aaron Fox, Dennis Smith Jr., Monk, Zach Collins and Markkanen.
  • Terrance Ferguson recently pulled out of workouts with the Pistons, Hawks and Bucks, tweets Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated. It’s possible that Ferguson received a draft promise from the Nuggets or Nets or he may have been responding to poor workouts (Twitter link).
  • A 7-footer with a soft shooting touch, Markkanen is drawing comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki, writes Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders. Some scouts believe the 20-year-old Finnish star is the best 3-point shooter in the draft. “It’s probably not fair to him to have some young guy compared to a Hall of Fame player and champion,” Markkanen said of Nowitzki. “We have similarities because of the height, being from Europe and shooting. But I have a long way to go before I’m in the same category as him. Hopefully, I can get there one day.”
  • The Wizards will work out six players today, the team announced on its website. They are French center Alpha Kaba, Cincinnati’s Troy Caupain Jr., VCU’s JeQuan Lewis, Eastern Michigan’s Jalen Ross, Niagara’s Tahjere McCall and East Tennessee State’s Hanner Mosquera-Perea.

Greg Monroe Will Opt In With Bucks

Greg Monroe will opt in for the final year of his contract with the Bucks, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical. Today was the deadline for Monroe to make a decision on the $17.88MM salary for next season.

The addition of Monroe was heralded as a major free agent signing for the franchise when he agreed to a three-year, $50MM deal with Milwaukee in 2015. His first season with the Bucks was considered a disappointment, and his name appeared frequently in trade rumors, but Monroe settled into a bench role this year and put up decent numbers. He averaged 11.7 points and 6.6 rebounds in 81 games as he reached the playoffs for the first time in his career.

Monroe reportedly told new GM Jon Horst that he wants to remain with the team and help it become a serious contender in the Eastern Conference.

Monroe’s decision means the Bucks will have little to no cap space this summer no matter what happens with restricted free agent Tony Snell. The Bucks are also awaiting a player option decision from Spencer Hawes, who is set to make a little more than $6MM next season.

Central Notes: George, Pistons, Cavs, Bucks

With reports that Paul George intends to explore free agency after next season, with his hometown Lakers as his preferred destination, concerns over possible tampering have surfaced. However, Nate Taylor of the Indianapolis Star writes that the Pacers are unlikely to pursue any tampering charges against the Lakers.

Team president Magic Johnson alluded to George’s situation during a recent interview with Jimmy Kimmel, and cryptically tweeted “God is so good!” this week shortly after the George’s plans to leave Indiana were reported. However, the Pacers are more concerned with getting value for their All-Star rather than stirring up issues in Los Angeles, according to Taylor.

Taylor adds that new Pacers president Kevin Pritchard hopes to have a trade for George in place ahead of Thursday’s draft.

Below are additional notes from the Central Division:

Cavs Rumors: Griffin, LeBron, Butler, Love, Irving

In the wake of David Griffin‘s departure from the Cavaliers, rumors have been swirling about the circumstances that led the two sides to part ways, the deals Griffin was pursuing while he was still employed, and what the Cavs may do now that he’s gone.

We have a ton of Cavs rumors to pass along, so we’ll break them down into sections, focusing on Griffin, the front office, and trade-related reports…

David Griffin:

  • Griffin had become pessimistic about his future in Cleveland during the last few months of the 2016/17 season, and had kept an eye on other job openings around the NBA, according to Brian Windhorst and Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. The ESPN duo suggests Griffin expressed interest in the Magic and Bucks jobs through back-channels, but wasn’t given permission to speak to those teams by owner Dan Gilbert.
  • According to Windhorst and McMenamin, Gilbert occasionally inserted himself into trade talks during Griffin’s tenure as GM, calling another team’s owner directly and derailing Griffin’s plans.
  • Gilbert and Griffin had a long meeting last Friday, which didn’t go well, per Windhorst and McMenamin. Griffin wanted a significant pay raise and a promotion, while Gilbert wanted better communication and more aggression from his GM.
  • LeBron James was “disappointed” by Griffin’s departure, according to TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter link). LeBron suggested as much on his own Twitter account, telling Griffin that he appreciated his work for the franchise even if “no one” else did.
  • Griffin was among the NBA’s lowest-paid general managers, per Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. Previous reports indicated that Griffin was making less than $2MM per year.

Front office:

  • League sources tell ESPN’s Marc Stein (Twitter link) that former Bucks assistant GM Justin Zanik would be a strong candidate to work in the Cavaliers‘ front office if Chauncey Billups is hired. Zanik left Milwaukee this week after the team passed him over for a GM promotion.
  • LeBron is keeping an open mind about the Cavaliers‘ front office shakeup, according to David Aldridge, who tweets that James is “very serious about structure” and wants to see who the team brings in.

Trade rumors:

  • On Monday, Griffin called several teams about possible trades and told the Bulls he might be able to land a top-five pick if they were willing to trade Jimmy Butler, per Brian Windhorst and Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com. According to the ESPN duo, the Cavaliers were making an effort to work out a three-team trade involving Kevin Love and the Suns‘ No. 4 overall pick.
  • Even after Griffin’s departure, talks involving Love remain ongoing and the Cavaliers continue to gauge the status of Jimmy Butler, says Sam Amico of AmicoHoops.net (Twitter links).
  • Some Cavaliers players, including LeBron and Kyrie Irving, have reached out to Butler directly to gauge his interest in coming to the Cavs, and those players were encouraged by what they heard, Cleveland sources tell Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. One source tells Cowley that Butler may even push the Bulls front office to get a deal done, though as Cowley notes, that would be a major departure for Butler, who has talked about wanting to remain in Chicago.
  • Multiple teams have spoken to the Cavaliers about Irving, according to Amico, who adds (via Twitter) that Griffin was unwilling to move the star point guard. Cowley notes in his report that Irving has told some of his Team USA teammates that he might be open to a trade if it starts to look like LeBron will leave in 2018, and the Bulls are one team he’d be interested in. I’m extremely skeptical about the idea of an Irving trade — I think things would have to really go downhill in Cleveland following Griffin’s dismissal for that to be a realistic option.

Draft Notes: Jackson, Bako, Collins

The Hornets worked out a handful of possible first-round draft picks Sunday, including familiar face Justin Jackson. Alongside video footage of Jackson following the workout, Diedra Laird of the Charlotte Observer writes that club additionally auditioned Bam Adebayo, Luke Kennard and more.

Jackson, a North Carolina product, is being forecast as the No. 19 overall pick in NBADraft.net‘s latest mock draft. Duke product Kennard, on the other hand, has been projected as the No. 12 pick. Adebayo, out of Kentucky, is currently forecast to go No. 17 in that same mock.

Although the Hornets will pick earlier than any of those projections at No. 11, it’s reasonable that they could elect to take a flyer on a blue chip prospect that played their college basketball in state.

There are more pre-draft workout notes from around the league:

Draft Notes: Briscoe, Fox, Ferguson, Artis

Kentucky guard Isaiah Briscoe had to cancel his remaining workouts because of an ankle injury, according to Adam Zagoria of FanRagSports. The scheduled sessions were with the Lakers, Kings, Bucks and Pacers. Briscoe had reportedly been impressive in workouts with the Knicks, Sixers and a few other teams. DraftExpress lists Briscoe 71st in its list of top 100 prospects.

There’s more draft-related news as the clock winds down toward Thursday:

  • De’Aaron Fox, Briscoe’s backcourt partner at Kentucky, is intrigued by the prospect of joining former Wildcats Eric Bledsoe and Devin Booker in Phoenix, writes Andrew Sharp of Sports Illustrated. The Suns hold the No. 4 pick, but seem unlikely to take another guard unless they make a trade to clear out their already overcrowded backcourt. Fox, who is considered a top five pick, sees the Lakers at No. 2 as another possibility. “I’ve heard they’re trying to move D’Angelo [Russell] to the 2,” he says. “Even if he does play point, I feel like we could play together. A lot of teams play two point guards anyway.” Fox touches on several other subjects, including his rivalry with UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, in a wide-ranging piece.
  • Regardless of the order, the first five picks in the draft appear to be set, writes Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Turner talked to several league executives and found a consensus. After Washington’s Markelle Fultz is taken at No. 1, Ball, Fox, Kansas’ Josh Jackson and Duke’s Jayson Tatum will round out the top five. However, some believe Florida State’s Jonathan Isaac has a shot at being the fifth pick.
  • Terrance Ferguson, who is projected as the Nets‘ pick at No. 27 in the latest mock drafts from DraftExpress and Chad Ford of ESPN.com, will work out for Brooklyn today, according to NetsDaily.com (Twitter link).
  • Pitt’s Jamel Artis has scheduled workouts today with the Pistons and Monday with the Thunder, tweets Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders.
  • The Jazz held a workout Saturday that could be their last one before the draft, relays Ryan McDonald of The Deseret News. Baylor’s Johnathan Motley was the highest-ranked prospect on hand, joined by Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss, Houston’s Damyean Dotson, North Carolina’s Isaiah Hicks, La Salle’s Jordan Price and Southeast Missouri State’s Antonius Cleveland. “It was great,” Motley said. “Played with a lot of energy, played good defensively and shot the ball well during the workout. I think I did pretty good.”
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