Bucks Rumors

And-Ones: Clippers, Pistons, Cavs, Young

The Clippers hold the top spot in ESPN’s Future Power Rankings, which predicts the best and worst franchises over the next three seasons. While the team has one of the best one-two punches in the NBA with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, Los Angeles’ inability to trade a first-rounder may come back to haunt the team, Bobby Marks suggests.

L.A. sent out several first-rounders in the George deal and had just one pick (2020 selection) that was eligible to be included in a trade this season — the franchise used it to acquire Marcus Morris at the deadline.

The Lakers, Warriors, Bucks, and Celtics round out the top-5 in the ESPN’s latest rankings. Here’s more from around the league:

  • The Pistons and Cavaliers rank 29th and 30th, respectively, on that aforementioned ESPN’s list. Both franchises lack blue-chip prospects and each has expensive veterans clogging its cap space.
  • Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times believes Thaddeus Young will find himself on the trade block this offseason. Young, who inked a deal the Bulls last summer, was the subject of trade rumors earlier in the season.
  • NBA agent Mark Bartelstein said he expected the season to get postponed after watching what was going on abroad in February and March, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic relays. Bartelstein has clients in the Chinese Basketball Association and other international leagues.

Shutdown Notes: Woj, Testing, McCollum, Antetokounmpo

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is the latest media figure to share pessimism that the NBA season can be saved, writes Adam Zagoria of Forbes. During an appearance on SportsCenter this morning, Wojnarowski said the league is doing everything it can to resume play — gathering ideas from teams, executives, sports science and medical staffs and the players’ union — but the situation doesn’t look promising.

“There’s also a level of realism that is starting to sink in it,” Wojnarowski said, “that it’s going to be difficult to return to play this season, that a runway for how many days it would actually have to be able to have a representative rest of the season, a few regular-season games at minimum and then a playoffs that would crown a legitimate champion, that would have a playoff structure, that would be enough to have someone to wear that crown and do it without an asterisk, that’s the challenge around the league right now. And they know they’re up against it, they’re up against the clock and there’s certainly a lot of concern about whether this league will be able to return to play or not.”

There’s more on the shutdown:

  • The NBA won’t be able to resume play until it can quickly provide coronavirus tests for a large number of people, states Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. Not only does the league have to be able to ensure the safety of everyone involved, he adds, it must do so without the perception that it is receiving preferential treatment. That happened early on when entire teams were being checked while the test wasn’t widely available to the public. “There are certain lines that can’t be crossed, and everyone knows where they are,” a league executive said. “We’re hearing from a lot of different corners, including from doctors, that would love to see the games return, just for the sign it would give. But you have to be able to do it right.”
  • Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum tells David Aldridge of The Athletic that “everything is on the table” regarding talks with the league about the financial gap that will be created if the rest of the season is canceled. There was a report this week that up to 25% of remaining salaries could be placed into an escrow account that would help players and owners deal with potential losses. “Not playing basketball for the rest of the year means we lose 23 and a half percent of games played, regular season and a complete playoff run,” said McCollum, a vice president with the NBPA. “Not to mention the issues we’ve had with (Rockets general manager Daryl Morey) in China. That affected the (Basketball Related Income) as well … a lot of money is at stake.”
  • Bucks stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton are among the NBA stars with no way to play basketball during the shutdown, according to Eric Woodyard of ESPN.

Bucks Operating As If Season Will Resume

If the 2019/20 season can’t be resumed, few – if any – teams will be hit harder than the Bucks, who had an NBA-best 53-12 record before the league’s hiatus began. For now though, the club is still operating as if it will get a chance to resume play and pursue a championship, as Eric Woodyard of ESPN details.

“We are operating and functioning and just have a mentality that we will play,” Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said on Wednesday in a conference call. “… Luckily, Adam Silver and the league office, they’ll make the hard decisions and they’ll do what’s best for everybody, but I think it’s certainly important that we kind of operate and have a mentality that we will play again, and we’ll be excited about that if and when it does happen.”

While Budenholzer admitted that he has been using some of his unexpected time off to catch up on TV shows like ‘Ozark’ and ‘Game of Thrones,’ he has also been spending plenty of time studying potential playoff opponents. As Woodyard relays, the Bucks’ head coach has focused on Brooklyn and Orlando, but is also looking at film on possible Eastern Conference opponents beyond the first round.

Middleton On Cusp Of 50/40/90 Season When Play Was Paused

  • Bucks All-Star wing Khris Middleton was in the midst of a spectacular year when play was paused amidst the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, according to Eric Woodyard of ESPN. Middleton had a chance to join rarefied air with a potential 50/40/90 season in play. He was averaging 21.2 PPG for the 53-12 Bucks. Middleton was shooting 49.88% from the field, 41.8% from deep and 90.8% from the charity stripe. “I’ve never been on pace for 50/40/90,” he told Woodyard. “That’s just an elite scorer and elite shooter with those type numbers and efficiency.”

Dotson Expected To Draw Interest From Jazz, Bucks, Warriors

The Jazz, Bucks, and Warriors are among the teams expected to show interest in Damyean Dotson when he becomes a free agent this offseason, sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Dotson, who will turn 26 in May, has spent his first three NBA seasons with the Knicks, appearing in 165 games and averaging 7.8 PPG on .419/.361/.721 shooting in 20.1 minutes per contest. Because he only has three years of experience, he can be made a restricted free agent at season’s end if the Knicks give him a qualifying offer worth just over $2MM.

However, as Berman notes, it’s unclear whether New York will make an effort to re-sign Dotson to a new deal. The new management group isn’t the one that drafted him, and he had fallen out of the rotation prior to the NBA’s hiatus, appearing in just one of the Knicks’ last nine games.

“That seemed (to be) the writing on the wall,” one NBA scout told Berman. “You’d think they’d be still trying to develop him.”

Former Knicks head coach David Fizdale, who lauded Dotson’s “work ethic, leadership qualities, and toughness,” also praised the youngster’s willingness to be coached and expressed to Berman that the 6’5″ wing has a promising NBA future.

“He’s a game shooter and improved his handle and as a finisher,” Fizdale said. “He’s a good rebounding guard, but he still has to improve defensive awareness on the weak side. Overall he’s a solid NBA player.”

Hiatus Notes: NBA Draft Lottery, Combine, Silver

As the NBA waits to see if resuming regular-season play will be possible, the league is also considering the possible impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the next two events on its schedule: The NBA draft lottery and combine.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported on Tuesday that the lottery and combine could be next on the proverbial “chopping block.” The draft lottery is tentatively scheduled for May 19 in Chicago, while the combine is scheduled for May 21-24.

However, if the league doesn’t return to play for another two or three months, then both events would have to be canceled or pushed back. That being said, Berman writes that the NBA has not made any final decisions about the draft lottery or the combine.

On Tuesday, we looked at the potential lottery odds for the 14 teams in contention for the first overall draft pick.

Here’s more on what’s happening with the NBA:

  • Marc Stein of the New York Times explains why the NBA wants to resume the season instead of moving onto next season. As Stein writes, the desire to crown a champion and avoid more substantial revenue losses are among the league’s concerns.
  • At least three teams (the Kings, Bucks, and Warriors) wanted the NBA to take a hiatus before last Wednesday’s games were played, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY. In his story, Zillgitt also details NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s thought process behind shutting down the league. 
  • ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Tuesday that the NBA is planning to raise its credit line to $1.2 billion to help with the extended shutdown due to the coronavirus. Wojnarowski adds that the league’s credit line was previously $650MM.

Where Traded Draft Picks Would Land If Season Doesn’t Resume

Earlier today, we explored what the lottery odds for the 2020 NBA draft would look like if the regular season doesn’t resume. We’re now applying that hypothetical to another aspect of the draft and examining which traded 2020 picks would and wouldn’t change hands based on the current standings.

Our projections below assume that the NBA will sort its standings by winning percentage in scenarios where teams haven’t played the same number of games this season. Again, this is just a hypothetical exercise — if the season resumes, the order below would likely change.

With that in mind and with the help of our reverse standings, let’s take a closer look at where this year’s traded draft picks would land if the NBA has played its last regular season game of 2019/20.


First round:

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Nets)
  2. Boston Celtics (from Grizzlies)
  3. Brooklyn Nets (from Sixers)
    • Note: Could be No. 20 depending on random tiebreaker.
  4. Milwaukee Bucks (from Pacers)
    • Note: Could be No. 19 depending on random tiebreaker.
  5. Philadelphia 76ers (from Thunder)
    • Note: Could be No. 22 depending on random tiebreaker.
  6. Denver Nuggets (from Rockets)
    • Note: Could be No. 21 depending on random tiebreaker.
  7. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Nuggets)
  8. New York Knicks (from Clippers)
  9. Boston Celtics (from Bucks)

Protected picks:

  • Golden State Warriors (to Nets; top-20 protected)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (to Pelicans; top-20 protected)
  • Utah Jazz (to Grizzlies; top-7 and 15-30 protected)

Notes:

  • The Thunder pick would be the one worth watching closest if the season does resume. It’s top-20 protected, so OKC would keep it if it were to move up a spot or two, sending the Sixers second-round picks in 2022 and 2023 instead.

Second round:

  1. Dallas Mavericks (from Warriors)
  2. Charlotte Hornets (from Cavaliers)
  3. Philadelphia 76ers (from Hawks)
  4. Sacramento Kings (from Pistons)
  5. Philadelphia 76ers (from Knicks)
  6. Washington Wizards (from Bulls)
  7. New York Knicks (from Hornets)
  8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Wizards)
  9. Memphis Grizzlies (from Suns)
  10. Boston Celtics (from Nets)
  11. Chicago Bulls (from Grizzlies)
  12. Golden State Warriors (from Mavericks)
  13. Atlanta Hawks (from Rockets)
    • Note: Could be No. 51 depending on random tiebreaker.
  14. Sacramento Kings (from Heat)
  15. Golden State Warriors (from Jazz)
  16. Brooklyn Nets (from Nuggets)
  17. Charlotte Hornets (from Celtics)
  18. Philadelphia 76ers (from Lakers)
  19. New Orleans Pelicans (from Bucks)

Protected picks:

  • Indiana Pacers (to Nets; 45-60 protected)
  • Portland Trail Blazers (to Nets; top-55 protected)

Notes:

  • The Hawks will receive the more favorable of Houston’s and Miami’s second-round picks, while the Kings will receive the less favorable of those two picks. Those two picks could end up right next to one another, since the Rockets (40-24) and Heat (41-24) have nearly identical records.
  • The Celtics’ pick looks like it will be one of the rare second-rounders with heavy protection that will actually change hands. Boston would have kept it if it had fallen in the top 53.

How Hiatus Impacts Bucks, Other Eastern Teams

  • A team of ESPN writers, including Eric Woodyard, Tim Bontemps, Nick Friedell, and Malika Andrews, takes a closer look at what the extended layoff will mean for every team in the Eastern Conference. As ESPN details, top teams like the Bucks and Raptors had been dealing with injuries prior to the suspension and should be a whole lot healthier if and when the season resumes.

Central Notes: Bucks, Lamb, Pistons, Pacers

The Bucks, who had been hoping to lock up Giannis Antetokounmpo to a super-max contract extension this summer, are one of many NBA teams whose future will be complicated by the current hiatus and the potential loss of revenue associated with it, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

As Pincus details, a significant loss of revenue for the NBA would compromise the league’s ability to continue increasing its cap substantially over the next couple years. That would, in turn, create uncertainty about Antetokounmpo’s long-term earning power on a super-max deal that begins in 2021/22, and could have a major impact on Milwaukee’s ability to navigate the cap and the luxury-tax line.

Here’s more from around the NBA’s Central division:

  • It fell through the cracks to some extent last week due to the NBA’s suspension, but Pacers swingman Jeremy Lamb underwent surgery to repair his torn left ACL and torn meniscus. He’ll be out indefinitely, according to the team. Given the serious nature of his injury, it seems safe to assume Lamb won’t return until sometime in 2020/21 no matter when the ’19/20 season resumes.
  • James Edwards III of The Athletic examines how the COVID-19 situation may specifically impact the Pistons, exploring whether Derrick Rose could now return this season (yes), whether Christian Wood‘s free agency value will be impacted at all by his positive test for coronavirus (no), and more.
  • Pacers owner Herb Simon is giving financial add to the part-time workers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse affected by the NBA’s stoppage, tweets Bob Kravitz of The Athletic. Meanwhile, the Bucks announced (via Twitter) that they’ll match the donations their players make to part-time arena workers at the Fiserv Forum.

Bucks Players Commit To Supporting Arena Workers