Bucks Rumors

Stein’s Latest: Antetokounmpo, Vucevic, Lakers

Plenty of teams are hoping for the chance to sign Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Warriors, in particular, have thought about pairing him and Stephen Curry should Kevin Durant leave in free agency, Marc Stein of the New York Times writes in his latest newsletter.

Antetokounmpo would have his pick of suitors on an open market, but as Stein notes, the Greek Freak may never make it to free agency. Antetokounmpo loves Milwaukee and the Bucks have to feel they have a chance at getting him to sign a super-max extension with the team during the summer of 2020—a year prior to him hitting the open market.

Yet, the Warriors will always swing big if given just the tiniest of chances. Antetokounmpo and Curry have selected one another first overall in back-to-back All-Star drafts and the two share a mutual admiration for each other, Stein notes.

Stein, who was honored over the weekend by the Basketball Hall of Fame as a Curt Gowdy Media award recipient, has more in his latest newsletter. Here are some highlights:

  • The Mavericks‘ interest in Nikola Vucevic may be overstated, Stein hears, adding that he doesn’t get the sense that Dallas will pursue the big man. The Mavs were rumored to have interest in Vucevic as a free agent target this summer.
  • The Lakers have the ninth-hardest remaining schedule and a playoff birth is no guarantee. “It’s going to be tough, but we shouldn’t want it any other way,”  LeBron James said. “I look forward to the challenge — and I’m getting healthy, too.”
  • Charles Barkley wonders if the advent of super teams will prompt small market owners to try to take back control in future CBA talks. “I hear all these clowns on TV talking about, ‘It’s great that all these players are exuding these powers,’” Barkley told a small group of reporters prior to All-Star weekend. “Let me tell you guys something: Workers ain’t never going to have power over their ownership. Ever. Now it might work for a couple guys here or there, but in the history of the world, no workers have ever overtaken the people who own a business. And when these guys are sitting at home locked out in a couple years, I want y’all to remember I told y’all that.”

Central Notes: Middleton, Bulls, Boylen, Cavs

Asked after the All-Star Game about his upcoming free agency, Bucks swingman Khris Middleton deflected the question, as Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel relays (via Twitter).

“I’ll think about the summertime in the summertime,” Middleton said. “We have a lot more work to do, hopefully. The second half of the season is going to be tough. We’ve been playing great basketball, so that’s the only thing I’m worried about.”

While Middleton may not want to talk about it yet, he figures to draw a ton of interest in the offseason — he’d be an ideal complementary piece for a handful of teams with cap room, and may be a fall-back option for other clubs that miss out on stars like Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard. If they want to retain Middleton going forward, the Bucks will likely have to double his $13MM salary.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • Jonathan Tjarks of The Ringer lauds the Bulls for their traded-deadline acquisition of Otto Porter, arguing that the veteran forward is exactly the sort of piece the team needed, since he has the ability to make players around him better.
  • The Bulls haven’t had a ton of on-court success since Jim Boylen took over as the team’s head coach, but he has done what the team’s management group asked of him, instilling a “blue-collar identity,” writes Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times. According to Cowley, Boylen, who could earn up to $1.6MM next season, with $1MM guaranteed, currently looks very likely to return to Chicago’s bench for 2019/20.
  • Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com takes an early look at potential candidates for the Cavaliers‘ permanent head coaching job. According to Fedor, Larry Drew should receive consideration if he wants it, but Cleveland figures to cast a wide net and may target an up-and-coming coach that can grow with the team’s players during the rebuild.

Western Notes: Giannis, Conley, Durant, LeBron

Giannis Antetokounmpo could be the next superstar prize on the Warriors’ radar screen. In a speculative piece, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic dives into the possibility of Antetokounmpo joining Golden State when he becomes a free agent in 2021.

As Thompson outlines, pursuing Antetokounmpo would hinge on Kevin Durant departing and would also necessitate cutting ties with Draymond Green. That would give the Warriors enough cap room to sign Giannis and keep the backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson together. The possibility of Antetokounmpo wanting to leave Milwaukee could increase if the Bucks experience postseason disappointment, Thompson adds.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Mike Conley admits the trade rumors took a toll on him until the deadline passed, James Herbert of CBS Sports reports. The Grizzlies held on to Conley but longtime teammate Marc Gasol was dealt to Toronto.  “It was emotional, man,” he said. “It was hard, ’cause part of me, obviously, is trying to lock in on my job and just worry about Oklahoma (City) and really, like, watch film and prepare. But I can’t help but, like, the other 90 percent of me is like I’m about to get traded or Marc’s about to get traded.”
  • Kevin Durant claimed his relationship with ex-Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook was never as strained as it was portrayed in the media, Eric Horne of The Oklahoman relays. “I don’t think it was ever in a bad place,” Durant said. “I think a lot of you guys just got in the way and tried to make it something bigger than it was because you needed a story. I understand because that’s your job, but that’s not really your job. I understood what that was like now thinking back on it, because I never had a problem with nobody in this league, or to a point where I didn’t like anyone or hated someone. It wasn’t even that deep.”
  • The Lakers are privately a little concerned about LeBron James‘ health, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. They’re not quite sure he’s fully healed from the groin injury that cost him 18 games, as he’s not moving at the same speed, nor engaging at the point of attack, Vardon continues. However, James denies he’s aching. “I feel great,” he said. “Looking forward to the second half of the season. Looking forward to seeing what we can do to get back in this playoff race. That’s my only mindset.”

Anthony Davis Plans To Play Rest Of Season, Confirms Trade List

Anthony Davis confirmed today that he intends to play in Sunday’s All-Star game and the remainder of the season, and also confirmed the list of his preferred trade destinations during media availability with reporters Saturday in Charlotte.

The Pelicans’ All-Star suffered a left shoulder muscle contusion on Thursday in a collision with Thunder center Nerlens Noel. After he requested a trade from New Orleans but was not dealt ahead of the February 7 deadline, Davis’ future for the rest of the season became unclear.

Not only does Davis intend to play in the All-Star game, but the six-time All-Star confirmed he plans to suit up the remainder of the season. The Pelicans face potential fines from the league if they elect to sit a healthy Davis for the rest of the season.

In 45 games this season, Davis has averaged 28.1 PPG, 12.9 RPG and 4.2 APG for the Pelicans. Before Thursday’s injury, New Orleans reportedly planned to play Davis but reduce his workload and sit him in the back end of back-to-back games.

The 25-year-old also spoke candidly on his trade request and his possible destination. Davis confirmed his reported list of four preferred teams in a trade ahead of the deadline, which includes the Lakers, Clippers, Bucks and Knicks.

“Whatever list that came out that’s between the Pelicans and my agent,” Davis said, per Sean Deveney of Sporting News. “But it’s true.”

The Lakers were the most aggressive team pursuing the big man but failed to agree on a trade. Davis also called the Knicks a “great franchise” during his media session, before mentioning a possible fifth destination: the Celtics.

“They are on my list,” Davis said of the Celtics (via Sporting News’ Sean Deveney). “….I never said they weren’t on my list.”

Boston was unable to acquire Davis this season without including Kyrie Irving in a proposed deal due to Rose Rule restrictions. However, with Irving hitting unrestricted free agency this summer, Boston would no longer be hindered by that rule and could potentially pair him along with Davis.

As we relayed, the Celtics are reportedly prepared to offer an “explosive” package for Davis. A potential Boston trade could include any combination of Jayson TatumJaylen BrownMarcus Smart, and a slew of future first-round picks, including selections from the Kings, Clippers, and Grizzlies.

In a later interview with NBA TV, Davis claimed he never gave a preferred destination and is merely seeking an opportunity to win.

“All 29 other teams are on my list,” Davis said. “I don’t have a preferred destination, I just want to win. Big market, small market [teams] — I don’t care, I want to win. Obviously, whatever team I get traded to, play for it that year or whatever…Then, when free agency comes, we’ll see what happens.”

Bucks Co-Owner Fined For Anthony Davis Comments

Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry has been fined $25K by the NBA for recent comments about Anthony Davis, league sources tell Malika Andrews of ESPN.com (Twitter link).

After Milwaukee showed up on Davis’ alleged four-team list of preferred destinations, Lasry spoke to Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News about it, mentioning the Pelicans‘ All-Star big man by name.

“I saw that report, and I think it’s great,” Lasry said at the time, referring to Davis’ wish list. “It’s a little bit of what we want. We want players to come and play in Milwaukee. And part of it is, when you’re winning and you’re setting a standard for excellence, people see that. People want to win. It doesn’t make a difference if you’re in Milwaukee, New York or L.A. The whole goal is winning. So we hope it would be players like Anthony Davis and others who want to come to Milwaukee.”

Lasry also acknowledged to Lawrence that it would have been difficult for the Bucks to put together a trade package for a player like Davis at the deadline, since most of their best players are on expiring contracts and they’ve traded away multiple first-round picks.

While Lasry’s comments were fairly innocuous, I noted last week that he might have crossed over into tampering territory by mentioning Davis by name, which is frowned upon by the league. While the NBA apparently agreed, a $25K fine isn’t a massive anti-tampering penalty. By comparison, the Lakers were fined $500K in 2017 for tampering related to Paul George and were hit with a $50K fine last year when Magic Johnson raved about Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Pacers Eyeing Khris Middleton?

The Deadline Deals That Didn’t Happen

The Raptors were close to acquiring Nikola Mirotic, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports on his podcast. The power forward would have been part of a three-team trade with the Pelicans and Magic in the proposed framework. Toronto didn’t have the expiring contracts that New Orleans was seeking and Mirotic was instead sent to the Bucks.

Toronto shifted its focus back to Marc Gasol and acquired the big man from Memphis in exchange for Jonas ValanciunasDelon WrightC.J. Miles, and a 2024 second-round pick.

The Hornets came close to acquiring Gasol before some “last-minute haggling,”  ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes. Charlotte had a lottery-protected first-round pick on the table for most of the week leading up to the deadline. Lowe passes along more deals that were discussed behind the scenes. Here are the highlights from his latest piece:

  • The Sixers offered two second-rounders to the Pelicans for Mirotic and prior to trading for Tobias Harris, Philadelphia and New Orleans discussed a Markelle Fultz-Mirotic swap. Fultz was dealt to the Magic for Jonathon Simmons and a pair of picks.
  • The Hornets pursued a deal for Harrison Barnes, dangling a first-round pick to the Mavericks, Lowe adds in the same piece. Dallas would have had to take back long-term money in the potential deal, something that it wasn’t willing to do.
  • The Nets and Grizzlies briefly discussed sending Allen Crabbe to Memphis along with a first-round pick (Denver’s 2019 selection) in exchange for Garrett Temple and JaMychal Green, sources tell Lowe. Tax concerns led Memphis to shy away from acquiring Crabbe, who will take home approximately $19MM next season.
  • Several teams attempted to pry Andrew Wiggins from the Wolves without giving up much in return. Minnesota was uninterested in giving Wiggins away.
  • Kris Dunn was available at the deadline but the Bulls weren’t looking to deal Zach LaVine. Lowe writes that Chicago may have only considered trading LaVine if it received an overwhelming offer, something that was unlikely to occur.

Every NBA Team’s Post-Deadline Roster Situation

The NBA confirmed today that 2019’s trade deadline set and matched some records. The 14 trades completed on Thursday were the most made on a deadline day in the last 30 years, and the 19 teams involved in those swaps was tied for the most over that same period.

In total, 34 players were involved in those 14 trades — and that doesn’t even count the eight deals completed during the week leading up to the deadline, as we detailed last night.

Needless to say, there has been plenty of roster upheaval around the NBA, so we’re going to use this space to take a look at all 30 teams’ roster situations to see exactly where they stand. Does your favorite team have a full roster? Or is their roster somehow only two-thirds full? Looking at you, Raptors.

Here’s a breakdown of all 30 clubs’ roster situations at the time of this post’s publication (more moves will be made in the coming days or even hours that won’t be noted here, so keep that in mind):


Atlanta Hawks

The Hawks entered the week with 15 players, but had to waive Daniel Hamilton to clear a spot to acquire Jabari Bird. They subsequently traded Tyler Dorsey for Shelvin Mack, then waived both Bird and Mack.

They currently have 13 players on their roster, leaving two open spots. They’ll have two weeks to get back to the league-mandated minimum of 14 players.

Boston Celtics

After carrying 15 players all season, the Celtics traded Jabari Bird to create an open roster spot. They’ll explore the buyout market for candidates to fill that opening.

Brooklyn Nets

The Nets entered the week with 14 players on standard contracts and one (Mitch Creek) on a 10-day deal. Creek’s contract was terminated a few days early to make room for Greg Monroe, who was waived after being acquired from Toronto.

Brooklyn now has 14 players under contract and could opt to re-add Creek (albeit on a full-season contract), sign another player, or leave that spot empty for now.

Charlotte Hornets

The Hornets had a quiet week and continue to carry 14 players, leaving one open roster spot.

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls created an open spot on their roster by trading Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker for Otto Porter, and are now carrying 14 players.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The Cavaliers acquired two players – Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin – for Rodney Hood, which required them to terminate Kobi Simmons‘ 10-day contract early to stay at 15 players.

Subsequently, Cleveland flipped Stauskas and Baldwin to Houston in exchange for Marquese Chriss and Brandon Knight, with Alec Burks heading to Sacramento in that three-team deal. The 3-for-2 move left the Cavs with 14 players and an open roster spot.

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks, already at 15 players, acquired two veterans – Zach Randolph and Justin Jackson – in exchange for Harrison Barnes, and had to waive Salah Mejri to make the deal work.

They’re currently at 15 players, but will be releasing Randolph very soon to create an open roster spot.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets didn’t make any moves this week and continue to carry a full 15-man roster.

Detroit Pistons

Both of the Pistons‘ trades this week were 1-for-1 swaps in terms of players, with Thon Maker and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk replacing Reggie Bullock and Stanley Johnson.

However, with the team closing in on a deal for Wayne Ellington, someone will need to be waived to stay at the 15-man limit. That player will reportedly be Henry Ellenson.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors didn’t make any moves this week and still have 14 players under contract, leaving an opening for potential buyout targets.

Read more

Poll: Which Team Will Win The East?

It was a wild trade-deadline week across the NBA, but most of the major win-now additions were made by Eastern Conference clubs. The Sixers, Bucks, and Raptors all completed significant trades at the deadline, while Western Conference contenders like the Warriors, Thunder, Nuggets, Jazz, and Spurs didn’t make a single move.

The result? A four-team group of East contenders looks even more dangerous than it did a week ago, creating the potential for a tantalizing pair of matchups in the Eastern Conference Semifinals this spring.

The Bucks were already the conference’s No. 1 team heading into this week and they added Nikola Mirotic without sacrificing a rotation player or a first-round pick. A sharpshooting power forward who can spread the floor and hold his own on the glass, Mirotic should fit right into Mike Budenholzer‘s system, which has allowed Brook Lopez to thrive this season.

The No. 2 team in the East, the Raptors, responded to Milwaukee’s move by making a deal for former Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol. While Gasol is 34 and may not be as dynamic a player as he once was, Toronto won’t ask him to do as much as Memphis did, and he figures to be an upgrade on Jonas Valanciunas, given his shooting and passing ability. The Raptors gave up some depth pieces in Delon Wright and C.J. Miles, but neither of those players was likely to be a difference maker in a playoff series.

The Sixers, meanwhile, made the splashiest move of any of the East’s top contenders, acquiring Tobias Harris from the Clippers in a trade that involved six players and multiple first-round picks. Harris had been enjoying the best year of his career in Los Angeles, and his shooting ability (.496/.434/.877) should be a great fit for a Sixers lineup that has struggled to spread the floor, despite J.J. Redick‘s best efforts. Philadelphia also acquired James Ennis and Jonathon Simmons in minor deals, adding depth on the wing.

As for the Celtics, their deadline was quiet, but they were the Eastern Conference favorites coming into the season and remain confident that they have the pieces necessary to make a run to the Finals. Boston has gone 25-10 since getting off to a slow 10-10 start, and has won 10 of its last 12 games as the team starts to get comfortable with its rotation.

What do you think? Which of these four teams do you believe will come out of the East this spring? Or do you think there’s a dark horse out there capable of making an unlikely run to the Finals?

Vote below in our poll, then head to the comment section to share your thoughts!

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

Lowe’s Latest: Sixers, Mirotic, Hornets, Nets, More

The Buckstrade for Nikola Mirotic was made sweeter by the fact that the Sixers were in the hunt for the Pelicans‘ power forward before New Orleans opted to send him to Milwaukee, writes ESPN’s Zach Lowe in his post-deadline round-up.

According to Lowe, the Sixers offered a pair of second-round picks in their offer for Mirotic, which the Bucks bested by surrendering four second-rounders. Before the 76ers acquired Tobias Harris, they also discussed the general framework of a Mirotic/Markelle Fultz swap with the Pelicans, according to Lowe, who notes that it’s unclear whether those talks would have gotten serious if Philadelphia hadn’t completed its blockbuster deal for Harris.

Lowe’s article is packed with several more tidbits on the trade deadline, so we’ll round up the highlights here:

  • The Hornets came close to acquiring Marc Gasol from the Grizzlies for a package that would have included a lottery-protected pick, but the deal fell apart over “last-minute haggling” on the price, sources tell Lowe. Charlotte also pursued Harrison Barnes, but any offer that included a first-round pick would have also included multiyear salary the Mavericks didn’t want, Lowe reports.
  • Before the Grizzlies sent JaMychal Green and Garrett Temple to the Clippers, Memphis discussed a deal involving the duo for the Nets, according to Lowe, who says the return would’ve featured Allen Crabbe and Denver’s first-round pick. The Grizzlies, who had tax concerns, settled instead on L.A.’s offer, which didn’t include a draft pick.
  • At least one of the offers the Wizards received for Otto Porter featured a low first-round pick, but it would have been meant taking on multiyear money, per Lowe.
  • Kris Dunn probably could have been had at the deadline, but the Bulls likely wouldn’t have listened to inquiries on Zach LaVine unless someone had “overwhelmed” them, Lowe writes.
  • The Magic told teams in recent weeks that they wouldn’t part for Terrence Ross for anything less than a first-round pick, sources tell Lowe. Orlando ultimately kept Ross on its roster.
  • Jrue Holiday is a player worth keeping an eye on if and when the Pelicans eventually trade Anthony Davis. Sources tell Lowe that Holiday wants a chance to compete in the playoffs and is waiting to see what New Orleans gets in return for Davis.