Bucks Rumors

NBA Trade Candidate Watch: Central Division

Over the course of the 2019/20 NBA season, up until February’s trade deadline, we’re keeping an eye on potential trade candidates from around the NBA, monitoring their value and exploring the likelihood that they’ll be moved. Each of these looks at possible trade candidates focuses on a specific division, as we zero in on three players from that division.

We’re just three days away from December 15, the date when more than 120 players who signed new contracts this past offseason will become trade-eligible. Generally, NBA teams don’t suddenly complete a flurry of trades when the calendar turns to December 15, but it at least provides some hope that one of the leagues’ longest ever trade droughts could come to an end soon.

After initially identifying three trade candidates from the Central last month, we’re circling back to the division today to examine three more. Let’s dive in…

Kevin Love, PF
Cleveland Cavaliers
$28.9MM cap hit; $91.5MM in additional guaranteed salaries through 2022/23

As Jason Lloyd of The Athletic wrote this morning, Love has been the subject of trade rumors for years, but it feels a little different this time.

It seems likely that Love is one of the players who hasn’t been particularly fond of John Beilein‘s coaching style. After all, it was just two months ago that the Cavaliers’ power forward was talking about how much he wanted to remain in Cleveland. With the Cavs off to a 5-19 start, the latest reports are suggesting that Love would rather be traded to a contender.

There will be plenty of roadblocks in the way of a potential deal. Matching Love’s cap hit of nearly $29MM will be a challenge for many teams. Even clubs that have the salaries necessary to acquire Love may not agree with the Cavs about his value — Lloyd suggested today that Cleveland wants a first-round pick in return, but that may only be realistic if the club is willing to take back some bad money.

Ersan Ilyasova, PF
Milwaukee Bucks
$7MM cap hit; $7MM non-guaranteed salary for 2020/21

The Bucks have opened the season by winning 22 of their first 25 games, including 16 in a row through Wednesday. If the team continues playing at this level, you could make a strong case that the best approach at the trade deadline would be standing pat.

If Milwaukee does look to upgrade its supporting cast though, Ilyasova looks like the most logical candidate to be moved in such a deal. His $7MM cap hit makes him a good salary-matching chip for mid-level contracts, and his non-guaranteed salary for next season would appeal to teams looking to create flexibility.

The 32-year-old also isn’t such a crucial piece of the rotation that the Bucks would balk at giving him up. He’s not a particularly strong defender or play-maker, so his value comes from his ability to stretch the floor, but he has only made 33.3% of his three-point attempts, his lowest mark since 2013/14, and his 16.3 minutes per game are the fewest he has averaged since 2006/07.

It’s hard to come up with an ideal trade scenario for the Bucks, so Ilyasova is probably more likely to stay put than to change teams within the next couple months. But it won’t be a surprise if he’s dangled in a few trade discussions before February 6.

Reggie Jackson, PG
Detroit Pistons
$18.1MM cap hit; UFA in 2020

If the Pistons fall out of playoff contention in the Eastern Conference, some bigger names could become trade candidates. In that scenario, potential deals involving Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin shouldn’t be entirely ruled out.

But considering the 11-13 Magic currently hold the No. 8 spot in the East, falling out of the playoff race is unlikely unless the Pistons totally bottom out. As such, Jackson is the more logical trade candidate than the team’s two stars, since his expiring $18MM+ salary could be used to build a package for another impact player.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem as if there will be many impact players available that will fit the Pistons’ roster. But exploring a trade for a player like D’Angelo Russell using Jackson’s contract as the primary salary-matching piece might make sense if Detroit – which has all its future first-round picks available – remains in win-now mode.

Revisit the rest of our 2019/20 Trade Candidate series right here.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucks Among Candidates To Trade First-Round Pick

  • O’Connor identifies the following teams as ones that appear most open to trading late first-round or early second-round draft picks: The Bucks, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Sixers, and Mavericks. Some of those clubs hold other teams’ picks and could dangle those in trade talks. For instance, Milwaukee owns Indiana’s lottery-protected first-rounder; Philadelphia has New York’s and Atlanta’s second-rounders; and Dallas controls Golden State’s second-rounder.

    [SOURCE LINK]

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 12/4/19

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

  • The Bucks assigned power forward Dragan Bender to the Wisconsin Herd, the team’s PR department tweets. The fourth overall pick of the 2016 draft has averaged 21 PPG and 10 RPG in five starts with the Herd.
  • The Knicks assigned rookie forward Ignas Brazdeikis to the Westchester Knicks, the team’s PR department tweets. He’s appeared in six games with the NBA Knicks, averaging 7.0 MPG in those outings.
  • The Cavaliers assigned rookie swingman Dylan Windler to the Canton Charge, the team’s PR department tweets. He has yet to make his NBA debut. The first-rounder is working his way back into basketball shape after recovering from a leg injury.
  • The Pacers recalled Victor Oladipo and Edmond Sumner from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the team tweets. They practiced with the Mad Ants as part of their injury rehabs. There is no timetable for their return, the team adds.
  • The Clippers assigned center Mfiondu Kabengele to the Agua Caliente Clippers, the team tweets. The rookie first-rounder out of Florida State has appeared in six NBA games, averaging 3.8 MPG in those outings.
  • The Hawks recalled rookie forward Bruno Fernando and guard Tyrone Wallace from the College Park Skyhawks, the team tweets. Fernando, a second-round pick, is averaging 4.5 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 12.7 MPG while playing 21 games with the NBA team. Wallace has averaged 3.1 PPG in 12.0 MPG in 13 games with Atlanta.
  • The Thunder recalled center Justin Patton from the Oklahoma City Blue, according to a team press release. In eight games with the Blue, Patton is averaging 10.3 PPG and  7.5 RPG in 26.2 MPG.
  • The Hornets recalled Cody Martin from the Greensboro Swarm, according to a team press release. The rookie guard appeared in three games with the Swarm, where he averaged 14.0 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 5.3 APG in 34.3 MPG.

And-Ones: LaMelo, MVP Votes, Warriors, Fratello

LaMelo Ball doesn’t mind a little campaigning in his effort to be the No. 1 pick in next year’s draft, writes Krysten Peek of Yahoo Sports. The buzz around Ball continues to grow as he strings together impressive performances in Australia’s National Basketball League. Over the weekend, he became the first NBL player since 2005 to post back-to-back triple doubles.

“Most definitely,” Ball responded when asked whether he thinks he should be the first pick. “I believe in myself and I’ve worked hard to get here. The other guys at the top of the draft, James [Wiseman] and Anthony [Edwards], are very talented too. But just in the way I believe in myself, I think I’m the top pick.”

Several scouts were in New Zealand recently to watch Ball go up against another projected lottery pick in R.J. Hampton. Many came away impressed, with one scout saying, “The fact that he’s putting up numbers like this in a league full of former NBA players is forcing every team to look at him as a potential No. 1 pick.” 

Ball addressed rumors that he might end his season early to protect his health for the draft. He insists he’s “committed to the whole season,” even though his team is off to a 3-9 start.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Roughly a quarter of the way into the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo is in good position to repeat as MVP, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. In a poll of 101 media members, Antetokounmpo received 48 first-place votes and was the only player listed on all the ballots. LeBron James (29 first-place votes), Luka Doncic (14) and James Harden (nine) were next in line.
  • Declining ratings continue to be a concern, and the NBA has started taking action to address the problem. One solution is fewer national TV games for the Warriors, who have the NBA’s worst record after five years as its marquee team. Golden State’s next two scheduled ESPN games have been replaced, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who speculates that more are likely to be removed.
  • Former NBA coach and long-time broadcaster Mike Fratello will be back on the sidelines soon, according to Nicola Lupo of Sportando. Fratello will serve as head coach for USA Basketball in February’s qualifying games for the FIBA AmeriCup.
  • Commissioner Adam Silver addressed the China controversy today, saying a “culture clash” was almost inevitable, tweets Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic. NBA games haven’t returned to China Central Television, the main broadcaster in Mainland China, but they are back on Tencent, which Silver called a “thawing” in tensions (Twitter link).
  • Sources tell Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that March 20 has been set for the debut of the NBA’s Basketball Africa League (Twitter link). The first game will take place in Dakar, Senegal.
  • The NBA will consider allowing corporate investors to hold passive minority stakes in more than one team, tweets Alex M. Silverman of MorningConsult. The measure will be part of the agenda at April’s Board of Governors meeting.

Cavaliers Notes: Henson, Love, Windler, Beilein

John Henson hasn’t gotten discouraged by the Cavaliers‘ 5-15 start because he’s been through rebuilding before on a team that is now among the NBA’s best, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Henson was with the Bucks when they won 15 games with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton on the roster, and he is confident the young talent in Cleveland will eventually make a similar turnaround.

“You got to keep pushing forward,” Henson said. “Stay positive, hold onto the rope and don’t flinch as Coach says. “We are going to keep trekking this path. We’re not where we want to be, but the way the East is setting up, especially with sixth, seventh, eighth-seed, playoff wise, three or four-game win streak can put you right back in the mix. So, we can’t stop fighting and give up. It’s too early.”

Henson was back on the court last night after missing 17 games with a hamstring injury. He has been serving as a role model to his young teammates and reminding them that players often don’t get the opportunity they have in their first and second seasons in the league.

There’s more from Cleveland:

  • The Cavs have been slumping because they’ve stopped using Kevin Love as the focal point of their offense, Fedor observes in a separate story. Love reached double figures in scoring in his first 13 games and posted eight double-doubles, but hasn’t seen the ball nearly as much recently. “We really tried to punch it to Kevin and I think he got doubled up a couple times,” coach John Beilein said Tuesday. “People are trying to make other people beat us. They will double him a lot.”
  • Rookie Dylan Windler is taking significant steps toward making his NBA debut, according to Kelsey Russo of The Athletic. Sidelined since the start of training camp by a stress reaction in his left leg, Windler has practiced the past two days and took part in a shootaround. Team doctors are monitoring Windler to see how he responds to each workout. “Today, I was in a coaches’ meeting, I heard the ball bouncing,” Beilein said. “When I heard the ball bouncing, I shot right out there right away because I knew Dylan was in the first group that was shooting just to see how he felt. He had no complications or no future soreness from yesterday’s workout.”
  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News examines how Beilein is adjusting to losing in the NBA after years of success as a college coach.

Boeder: Giannis Even Better Than Last Year

  • Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has been better this year than he was last year when he won the MVP, Alex Boeder of NBA.com contends. Boeder identifies an improved three-point shot and a lower turnover rate as evidence of the Greek Freak’s leap.

NBA’s Waiver Claims Order Changes Today

December 1 is a relatively minor day on the NBA calendar, but it will change the way waiver claims are processed for the rest of the season. Starting today, the waiver claim order will be determined by the current NBA standings, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Up until now, the order had been set by where teams finished last season.

The change is especially significant for the Warriors, who are now first in line after previously being 28th. Devastated by injuries and free agent losses, Golden State is off to a 4-16 start, which is the worst record in the league. However, their ability to make any move is restricted by a hard cap that was imposed with the sign-and-trade that brought D’Angelo Russell to the Bay Area.

Next in line are the Hawks (4-16), Knicks (4-15), Cavaliers (5-14) and Grizzlies (5-13). You can follow changes to the order all season long on our Reverse Standings.

Nine waiver claims have been made since the league’s new year began in July. These moves typically involve fringe players, and a couple of them are no longer on the roster of the teams that claimed them. Tyrone Wallace has been claimed twice — by the Timberwolves in July after the Clippers waived him and by the Hawks in October after he was cut by Minnesota.

Today also marks an important guarantee date for two players, Marks adds. Heat rookie Kendrick Nunn will see his guarantee increase from $300K to $450K once the deadline passes at 5pm Eastern Time (Twitter link). Nunn signed a three-year, $5MM contract at the end of last season, including a $1.4MM salary for this year that will become fully guaranteed along with all league salaries on January 7. Nunn is a surprise Rookie of the Year candidate, starting all 18 games and averaging 16.4 PPG.

Bucks forward Dragan Bender will see his guarantee rise from $600K to $800K if he stays on the roster past the 5pm deadline (Twitter link). He has a two-year, $3.5MM deal with partial guarantees, but has only gotten into two games so far. He will receive $1.68MM if he remains with the team through January 7.

Bucks Assign Dragan Bender To G League

  • The Bucks sent former lottery pick Dragan Bender to the Wisconsin Herd for Friday’s game against Erie, according to the team (Twitter link). Bender has logged just two minutes for Milwaukee this season, but is becoming a fixture for the Herd, having averaged 21.5 PPG and 9.8 RPG in four games entering tonight’s contest.

Jabari Parker Won’t Rule Out Return To Bucks

The Bucks had high hopes for Jabari Parker when they selected him with the No. 2 overall pick back in 2014, but injuries robbed him of much of his time in Milwaukee. Parker, who recently signed with the Hawks, wishes things had worked out differently.

“It’s real special, man, how they were able to build this building,” Parker told Eric Woodyard of ESPN. “I haven’t played here but just seeing like the growth of the city, I really like the way that it’s developing.”

“It’s just so sad that I’m not able to share it with them and that they moved on, but that’s fine, that’s business. But I do have like a little homesickness from being here. I just miss being here.”

Parker’s deal is for two seasons, though the second year is a player option. The forward wouldn’t rule out a return to Milwaukee.

“Never. I would never rule out a possible return here,” Parker added. “I would never do that. It’s just so sad how it ended and I wish I could’ve stayed.”

Khris Middleton Ready To Return

Bucks forward Khris Middleton said he’ll return to action on Wednesday for a home game against Atlanta, the team’s PR department tweets.

This comes as a surprise, even though coach Mike Budenholzer indicated that Middleton might be ahead of his projected timetable to return from a left thigh contusion. Middleton was expected to miss 3-4 weeks after suffering the injury on November 10. He has gone through contact work in practice and played in 5-on-5 scrimmages in recent days.

The 28-year-old All-Star is averaging 18.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 2.9 APG after posting averages of 18.3/6.0/4.3 in the same categories last season.

The career 38.8% three-point shooter signed a five-year, $178MM contract in free agency this summer to remain Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s sidekick. The Bucks have continued to thrive despite the absence of their second-best player. They have won eight straight and have the best record on the Eastern Conference.