Bucks Rumors

NBA Schedule Not Expected For At Least Another Week

Everyone eagerly anticipating the release of the schedule for the 2022/23 season will have to wait a little longer, according to NBA insider Marc Stein (Twitter link). Sources tell Stein that the schedule isn’t expected to be revealed until after next week, which puts the date sometime in mid-August.

The league typically releases its schedule during the second week of August, although that has been affected over the past two years by shortened offseasons caused by the pandemic. Last year’s schedule was announced on August 20.

Possible trades involving Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Donovan Mitchell may be slowing the process this summer as the schedule makers wait to see if any of those situations get resolved before locking in prime TV dates.

A few things are known about the upcoming season, including league-wide media days on September 26, followed by the start of training camps a day later. The Pistons and Bulls will travel to France for the January 19 NBA Paris Game, according to the league’s website, and All-Star Weekend is set for February 17-19 in Salt Lake City.

The preseason schedule is virtually set and will begin with the defending champion Warriors facing the Wizards in Tokyo for a pair of games September 30 and October 2. The Raptors and Jazz will meet October 2 in Edmonton, the Bucks and Hawks will square off October 6 and 8 in Abu Dhabi, and the Raptors and Celtics will play Oct. 15 in Montreal.

Based on past schedules, the 2022/23 regular season will likely tip off on October 18.

International Notes: Jokic, Antetokounmpo, Yurtseven, Pokusevski, Jovic

Nuggets star Nikola Jokic is looking forward to representing Serbia on the basketball court for the first time in three years, writes Johnny Askounis of EuroHoops. The two-time MVP will join the national team for a pair of 2023 FIBA World Cup qualifying games, hosting Greece August 25 and traveling to Turkey August 28.

“I feel great, similar to every time I reunite with these guys. I just met some of them,” Jokic said in advance of the Serbian team’s training camp. “We are preparing, we just started and we will see how far we can go. Up first are the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers and the goal of helping Serbia qualify to the World Cup.”

Jokic also plans to participate in EuroBasket next month, and he could return for both the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics if Serbia qualifies. Jokic cited a special pride in being able to play for his home nation.

“It means a lot, I talked with my family, it’s a totally different feeling when you play for the national team,” Jokic said. “I felt different when I came here than when I go to Denver.”

There’s more international news to pass along:

  • Another MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and his brother and Bucks teammate, Thanasis Antetokounmpo, are in Athens waiting to join the Greek team for training camp, per Aris Barkas of EuroHoops. An agreement limits NBA players to 28 days of preparation before major FIBA tournaments and 14 days before the Olympics. The other Antetokounmpo brothers, Alex and Kostas, are already training with Greece. New Mavericks signee Tyler Dorsey is under the same restrictions as Giannis and Thanasis and can’t start training until Thursday.
  • Heat center Omer Yurtseven elected not to join the Turkish national team’s training camp in Italy, but he didn’t inform team officials of his decision or seek permission in advance, according to a EuroHoops report. The decision was made by Yurtseven rather than the Heat, the story adds, as the rookie center chose to stay in Miami and focus on preparing for training camp. The report notes that Yurtseven was suspended for eight games in 2018 for skipping national team activities without providing notice.
  • Thunder forward Aleksej Pokusevski and Heat rookie Nikola Jovic were denied permission by their respective teams to join Serbia for EuroBasket and the World Cup qualifiers, Askounis states in a separate story. Hawks forward Bogdan Bogdanovic is also unavailable because he’s recovering from knee surgery.

And-Ones: McCormack, Luxury Tax, OKC Blue, Harrison

David McCormack has signed with Besiktas in Turkey, according to a team press release. McCormack was reportedly signing an Exhibit 10 contract with the Timberwolves but apparently chose to begin his pro career in Europe.

The undrafted big man out of Kansas was a prominent member of the Jayhawks’ national championship team. He spent all four of his college seasons at Kansas, starting 96 of 132 total games. In 2021/22, he averaged 10.6 PPG and 7.0 RPG in 40 contests (21.9 MPG).

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • A total of 10 teams are currently projected to collectively spend $650MM in luxury tax payments next season, according to Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype. That would an NBA record for tax penalties. The Warriors, Nets, Clippers, Bucks, Lakers, Sixers, Celtics, Suns, Nuggets and Mavericks all project as taxpayer teams for the time being.
  • The G League’s Oklahoma City Blue will continue to play the Thunder’s Paycom Center next season, Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman reports. The Blue also played there last season, having been the only G League team to host their games in an NBA arena. They often had to play late morning or early afternoon games with the Thunder playing there on the same night.
  • Former NBA swingman Andrew Harrison has signed with Yukatel Merkezefendi Belediyesi in Turkey, as JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors relays (Twitter link). Harrison has suited up with the Grizzlies, Cavaliers and Pelicans during his NBA career. In his last NBA season, he played a combined 16 games with Cleveland and New Orleans in 2018/19.

Rayjon Tucker Waived By Bucks, Will Play In Australia

9:53pm: Tucker is signing with Melbourne United of Australia’s NBL, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets.

9:02pm: The Bucks have waived shooting guard Rayjon Tucker, according to the NBA transactions log.

Milwaukee re-signed Tucker last month to a one-year, minimum-salary contract but the money was non-guaranteed.

The Bucks had 19 players under contract, so this move will give them a pair of openings on their 20-man offseason roster. One of those spots could be reserved for restricted free agent Jordan Nwora.

Tucker has appeared in a total of 39 NBA games across three seasons for Utah, Philadelphia, Denver and Milwaukee, averaging 3.0 PPG and 1.0 RPG in just 7.7 minutes per contest. He has been much more active in the G League during that span, having played for the Salt Lake City Stars, the Wisconsin Herd, and the Delaware Blue Coats.

In 27 regular season games last season for the Herd (the Bucks’ G League affiliate), Tucker averaged 21.1 PPG on 53% shooting.

Bucks Hiring DeMarre Carroll As Assistant Coach

Veteran NBA forward DeMarre Carroll is transitioning to coaching, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), who reports that Carroll will join Mike Budenholzer‘s staff in Milwaukee.

The Bucks have yet to formally announce Carroll’s hiring, so it’s unclear whether he’ll be on the front of the team’s bench or if he’ll start with a more modest player development role. However, Carroll’s agency Priority Sports posted a tweet congratulating him for becoming an assistant coach, which suggests that will be his title.

The 27th overall pick in 2009 out of Missouri, Carroll spent the next 11 seasons in the NBA, appearing in a total of 578 regular season games and 64 playoff contests for the Grizzlies, Rockets, Nuggets, Jazz, Hawks, Raptors, Nets, and Spurs.

Now 36 years old, Carroll last played in the NBA during the 2019/20 season, when he appeared in 24 total games for San Antonio and Houston. The 6’6″ forward has career averages of 8.9 PPG and 4.2 RPG on .430/.358/.741 shooting in 23.7 minutes per contest.

Two of Carroll’s best seasons came from 2013-15, when he was a full-time starter for a Hawks team coached by Budenholzer. During Carroll’s two years in Atlanta, the club earned a pair of playoff berths and won 60 regular season games in 2014/15, making the Eastern Conference Finals that spring.

Carroll published a tweet referring to Budenholzer as a mentor and thanking him and the Bucks for the new opportunity. “Excited to be shadowing one of the best coaches in the league!” Carroll wrote.

Checking In On Remaining Restricted Free Agents

Of the players who finished last season on an NBA roster and didn’t have a contract for 2022/23, there are still dozens of unrestricted free agents on the open market. However, the number of restricted free agents is far smaller.

As our list of current free agents shows, there are just eight restricted free agents still unsigned — four who received standard qualifying offers and four who received two-way QOs.

We’re already a month into the 2022 free agent period, but it’s possible that some of these restricted free agents will remain on the market for another month or two. Let’s take a closer look at the RFAs still available…

Standard RFAs:

It’s no surprise that Bridges remains unsigned. He was arrested just before free agency began and now faces multiple felony charges related to domestic violence. The Hornets will certainly be in no rush to re-sign him as the legal process plays out, and Bridges’ $7.9MM qualifying offer won’t expire until October 1, so he’ll be in no hurry to accept it either. If and when Bridges is back under contract, the NBA would have the option of placing him on paid administrative leave, pending an investigation.

The other three cases here look more like straightforward examples of how restricted free agency often works. In all likelihood, the Bucks, Cavaliers, and Spurs have made preliminary offers to Nwora, Sexton, and Wieskamp, respectively, and have encouraged them to explore the market to see if they can get a more lucrative offer sheet elsewhere. Until that happens, those teams are unlikely to bid against themselves by increasing their offers.

We know, for instance, that the Cavs have reportedly offered Sexton a three-year deal worth roughly $40MM. He’s believed to be seeking a salary closer to $20MM per year.

All three players would have the option of accepting their qualifying offers and heading into the season on a one-year contract, but that may be a more viable path for Sexton, who is coming off a lost season and has a QO worth $7.2MM, than for Nwora ($2.1MM). Wieskamp’s qualifying offer is also relatively modest ($1.8MM), but his NBA résumé is far more limited than Sexton’s or Nwora’s, so it’s unclear if he’ll get a better offer than that.

Two-way RFAs:

A report in early July suggested that Duke was hoping to earn a standard contract from the Nets, and following a Las Vegas Summer League in which he averaged 19.0 points per game in five appearances, there’s no reason to think his stance has changed. Brooklyn only has 13 players on standard contracts, so a promotion remains in play for Duke, but the team likely wants resolution on the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving sagas before locking in those back-of-the-roster spots.

Once Goran Dragic officially signs, the Bulls will have 15 players on standard guaranteed contracts and just one on a two-way deal, so they’d probably like to see Hill accept his two-way qualifying offer to fill that second slot.

It’s unclear what the Raptors‘ plans are for Johnson. The team has filled its two-way slots with new signees (Ron Harper Jr. and Jeff Dowtin) and there will be stiff competition for a spot on the 15-man regular season roster — the team already has 13 players on fully guaranteed contracts, plus three with partial guarantees and second-rounder Christian Koloko still unsigned. We’ll see if Johnson gets a chance to vie for one of those roster spots.

There may be a cleaner path for Thomas to earn a place on the Celtics‘ 15-man roster. Only 12 of Boston’s regular season roster spots are accounted for so far, so Thomas could get the chance to compete to be the 13th or 14th man. The team has already filled both its two-way slots with new additions (JD Davison and Mfiondu Kabengele).

Ingles Was Most Complete Player Available

  • The Bucks had plenty of other options with their taxpayer mid-level exception. So why did they choose Joe Ingles, who is recovering from a torn ACL? According to Eric Nehm of The Athletic, they felt Ingles was the most complete player available to them.

Nehm Mailbag + Herd Acquire Rights To Alex Antetokounmpo

  • Eric Nehm of The Athletic covers a number of Bucks-related topics in his latest mailbag column. Nehm doesn’t believe Milwaukee will give veteran extensions to either Khris Middleton or Brook Lopez before the season starts — Lopez is entering the last year of his contract at $13.9MM, while Middleton has a $40.4MM player option for 2023/24. The 2023 offseason will be a crucial one for the Bucks, Nehm notes, because if Milwaukee fails to win the Finals, ownership might choose to dodge the luxury tax and retool the roster with the salary cap flexibility created by Lopez and possibly Middleton becoming free agents.
  • The Wisconsin Herd, the Bucks‘ G League affiliate, have acquired the rights to Alex Antetokounmpo and a second-round pick in the 2023 G League draft from the Raptors 905, Toronto’s affiliate, in exchange for the rights to Jalen Lecque, the Herd announced in a press release. The youngest Antetokounmpo brother appeared in a total of 23 G League games last season, but didn’t receive much playing time.

RFA Nwora Remains In Limbo

  • Bucks GM Jon Horst hopes that Jordan Nwora‘s restricted free agency works out for both parties, Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes. Nwora must first figure out if he has a market around the league. Then, he can either sign an offer sheet that would force the Bucks to match or inform the Bucks of that interest and see if a trade is feasible.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Josh Oppenheimer To Join Greek National Team In EuroBasket

  • Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo will play for the Greek National Team in this year’s EuroBasket competition, Hellenic Basketball Federation president Vaggelis Liolios confirmed, per Christos Tsaltas (Twitter link). Antetokounmpo also recently hinted at the decision on social media.
  • As Tsaltas notes, Bucks assistant coach Josh Oppenheimer will also join the Greek National Team with Antetokounmpo. Oppenheimer has served as an assistant with Milwaukee since 2020 and was part of the team’s championship run last season.