DeAndre’ Bembry

Bucks Waive DeAndre’ Bembry

9:59am: The Bucks have officially waived Bembry, the team announced today (via Twitter).

9:36am: The Bucks will create a roster opening by waiving DeAndre’ Bembry, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Bembry underwent knee surgery last month after tearing his ACL and MCL and will miss the rest of the season.

The 27-year-old swingman signed with Milwaukee on February 16 after being waived by the Nets, who needed to open a roster spot to complete their trade with the Sixers.

Bembry appeared in eight games for the Bucks, averaging 0.8 points and 1.4 rebounds in 9.6 minutes per night. He will be an unrestricted free agent after clearing waivers, but his knee injury will likely sideline him for much of next season as well.

The 21st pick in the 2016 draft, Bembry spent his first four NBA seasons with the Hawks before signing with the Raptors in 2020. He landed a deal with the Nets after being waived by Toronto last summer.

Bucks Notes: Giannis, Portis, Middleton, Bembry

Reigning Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was recently interviewed by Sam Amick of The Athletic and provided some insight into last year’s championship with the Bucks, this season’s MVP race, and a few other topics. Here are a couple highlights:

On being more focused on winning another championship versus a third MVP:

“Nah, I want another championship. You know, like, the joy that I felt when I won the MVP was unbelievable. I was with my family. I wish my (late) Dad was there. That was an unbelievable feeling. Grateful. But the joy that I felt when I won a championship, there’s no comparing. There’s no comparing (an MVP) to the joy of being on the bus and seeing 200,000 people celebrating — White, Black, Hispanic, or whatever the case may be. Everybody was celebrating, and you’re giving everybody that joy.

“There were people that had never seen a championship for 50 years. (They’d say), ‘The last time I saw the championship, I was two years old.’ You know? That’s a different type of joy. It’s not just me being able to win the award. The whole city won an award. That’s what I want, you know? And hopefully, God can bless me and give me that. I’ll do whatever I can do to do it.”

On playing through a hyperextended knee, which could have been catastrophic:

“It killed me. Game 1, there was a play where Jae Crowder shot and I stepped on his leg. And you know how he does this kick thing, and I literally tried to avoid him and he kicked me on my leg and my leg hyperextended (for the second time — Antetokounmpo hyperextended the same leg in the Eastern Conference Finals against Atlanta).

“What basically happened is that if my leg had hyperextended one more time…(claps hands) I was done. There’s nothing to cut that was in there. It was torn already. It was out — (the piece that) protected me from an MCL or ACL (tear). There’s a thing (in your leg) that protects you when you hyperextend (your knee) that doesn’t let you go all the way back. So that thing was torn. So if I had gone all the way back again, that’d be it for me.

“I don’t know if you’ve seen where people wear a big brace on your knee, like Goran Dragic wears — a big brace. They (the Bucks) told me, ‘Giannis, Tim Duncan wore this (so) wear this.’ I said, ‘Heeeell naw.’ They said, ‘Giannis, you need to wear this.’ And they had made one specifically for me. I said, ‘Hell. No. I’m not wearing that s—.'”

Amick’s full interview with Antetokounmpo can be found here.

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • After starting 57 of 63 games this season, Bobby Portis could have griped about being replaced by incumbent center Brook Lopez (recently returned from back surgery), but Portis says he’s fine with coming off the bench. “Right now is not the time for nobody to be talking about minutes or things like that. It’s all about the team. It’s all about trying to win. Be the best Bucks basketball team we can be,” Portis said, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “Eleven games left, just trying to play our best basketball. Like I said, in life, sacrifice is always the biggest thing. Obviously, everybody’s role is going to be shifted a little bit, but that’s part of the plan, part of playing a team sport.”
  • Khris Middleton will miss his second straight game Thursday against Washington due to a sore left wrist, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Middleton fell on the wrist last Saturday against Minnesota and coach Mike Budenholzer said the team hopes it’s a short-term injury.
  • DeAndre’ Bembry underwent successful surgery Wednesday to repair his torn right ACL and MCL, the team announced (via Twitter). Bembry suffered the injury on March 12 and will miss the remainder of the season, and likely most of next season as well.

DeAndre’ Bembry Out For Season With Knee Injury

8:44pm: Milwaukee has confirmed (via Twitter) that Bembry will miss the rest of the season due to a torn right ACL and MCL. An injury that significant will likely keep him sidelined for a significant chunk of the 2022/23 season as well.

12:30pm: Bucks wing DeAndre’ Bembry may be finished for the 2021/22 season after sustaining a right knee injury during Milwaukee’s 122-109 loss to the Warriors last night, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Wojnarowski’s sources expressed concern about the severity of the injury. Woj tweets that Bembry will undergo MRI imaging on his knee today, and it’s expected to confirm that the injury is significant.

The Nets waived Bembry last month to open a roster spot in the deal that netted Brooklyn Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two future first-round draft picks. Bembry subsequently inked a rest-of-season deal with the Bucks.

In eight games with Milwaukee, Bembry is averaging 9.6 MPG, but has not been much of a scorer. The 6’5″ vet is averaging more rebounds (1.4 RPG) than points (0.8 PPG) for the reigning champs, providing energy and defensive versatility off the bench.

The 27-year-old was selected with the No. 21 pick out of Saint Joseph’s by the Hawks in the 2016 NBA draft. He played with Atlanta for four years before spending the 2020/21 season with the Raptors. He holds career averages of 5.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 1.8 SPG and 1.0 SPG across 296 contests.

Eastern Notes: Harden, Sixers, J. Smith, Oladipo, Bucks

James Harden‘s effort level came under scrutiny during his final games in Brooklyn, but he appears more motivated to keep his foot on the gas pedal for his new team. As Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes, Harden raved about the environment in Wells Fargo Center on Thursday after making his home debut with the Sixers, calling it “exciting” to play in front of the Philadelphia fans.

“The love, the fans, it feels like home. Just the love, the support, man, from looking around, hearing, ‘We love you, James,'” Harden said. “That right there makes me go out and play harder, and I just wanted to do whatever it takes to get the win.”

While the Sixers have looked great since Harden made his debut last Friday, two of their three wins have come against a reeling Knicks team. With matchups against Cleveland, Miami, Chicago, and Brooklyn up next on the schedule, the 76ers will face a tougher test as they look to continue developing chemistry and push for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

“Every game for us is gonna be tough,” Harden said, per Bontemps. “We’re new, we’re fairly new, we’re still learning each other. Every game is going to be a learning experience for us, and we’ve got to just find ways to continue to chip away, continue to get better, win or lose. Obviously it’s better when you win to figure it out, but it’s going to be great tests for us and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Here’s more from around the East:

  • Pacers center Jalen Smith was fined $20K by the NBA for “directing profane language toward a game official,” the league announced on Wednesday. Smith was ejected from the game as a result of the incident, which took place during the third quarter of Indiana’s loss to Orlando on Monday.
  • Heat guard Victor Oladipo has returned to the team after taking part in three practices this week with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, Miami’s G League affiliate, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. The Heat still haven’t provided an update on Oladipo’s potential season debut, but Chiang confirms that the club is hoping he’ll be able to play within the next couple weeks, as ESPN reported over the weekend.
  • After coming out of the trade deadline with three open roster spots, the Bucks filled two of them with former Nets, and both DeAndre’ Bembry and Jevon Carter have given Milwaukee a boost with their intensity and versatility on defense, says Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “It’s fun, man,” Carter said after Monday’s game. “I was telling the guys … I haven’t played this hard in I don’t know how long. … Just being out there playing with a team that’s locked in defensively is just, for me, it’s just fun to be a part of, honestly. That’s really all I can say, I’m just having fun.”

Central Notes: Brogdon, Bembry, Pistons, Olynyk

The Pacers will enter the All-Star break without any clarity about starting guard Malcolm Brogdon, who is dealing with a right Achilles injury, writes James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. Brogdon hasn’t returned since being shut down January 22 for a 10-day rehab program, and he has appeared in just two games since December 21. He had been listed as questionable in the team’s recent injury reports, but was downgraded to out for tonight’s game with the Wizards.

“Obviously it’ll be after the break before he plays,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He’s continuing to make good progress. The hope is that after the break he can be ready. But nothing’s for sure, so we’ll just hope for the best.”

Brogdon has missed 15 straight games and 32 of the first 60 games of the season. He has been productive when he has played, averaging 18.5 points, 5.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds per night, but his absence has been in a factor in Indiana falling out of the playoff race.

“Right now, this where we are, but with an additional seven or eight days for the break, and I know he’s gonna be continuing to do work through the break, the hope is that coming out of it he could possibly be ready to go,” Carlisle said. “But I’m not saying that that’s gonna happen. We’re just hoping that it could go that way.”

There’s more from the Central Division:

DeAndre’ Bembry Signs With Bucks

FEBRUARY 16: The Bucks have officially signed Bembry, the team announced today in a press release. Bembry will earn just shy of $602K on his rest-of-season contract, while Milwaukee takes on a cap hit of about $518K. Since the Bucks are over the luxury tax line, their projected tax bill will also increase as a result of the move.

FEBRUARY 15: The Bucks are close to completing a deal with free agent swingman DeAndre’ Bembrytweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Bembry, who was waived by the Nets last Thursday to open a roster spot in the James Harden deal, will sign with Milwaukee for the rest of the season, according to Wojnarowski.

The deal will give Milwaukee some extra depth on the wing following last week’s trades of Donte DiVincenzo and Rodney Hood, as well as Pat Connaughton‘s subsequent hand injury.

Bembry, 27, was in his first season with Brooklyn after agreeing to a partially guaranteed contract heading into training camp. He eventually earned a fully guaranteed deal and appeared in 48 games with the Nets, starting 20. He averaged 5.8 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19.8 minutes per night.

Once the signing becomes official, the Bucks will be up to 13 players on their roster, plus a pair of two-way deals. They will need to add at least one more player to reach the league minimum and have been rumored as a possible location for Goran Dragic, who reached a buyout with the Spurs earlier today.

Nets Waive DeAndre’ Bembry

8:50pm: The Nets have officially waived Bembry, according to a team press release.

4:25pm: The Nets are waiving veteran swingman DeAndre’ Bembry, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Brooklyn was required to cut a player today in order to complete the team’s blockbuster deal with the Sixers. The Nets are acquiring three players – Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and Andre Drummond – in that trade and only sending out two (James Harden and Paul Millsap).

Bembry, 27, has played well for Brooklyn in 2021/22, beginning the season on a partially guaranteed contract and earning a full guarantee based on his strong performance. In 48 games (19.8 MPG), he has averaged 5.8 PPG and 3.2 RPG on .568/.417/.600 shooting while providing defensive versatility.

Bembry will likely draw interest around the league as a free agent, or even before he clears waivers, since any team could claim his one-year, minimum-salary contract using a minimum salary exception. If Bembry goes unclaimed, Brooklyn will be on the hook for his full $1,669,178 cap hit.

Nets Notes: Harris, Irving, Durant, Lineup, Bembry

The Nets could soon have one of their top perimeter shooters back in the lineup. Joe Harris is expected to return to practice soon and could be back in action “in the next couple weeks,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on SportsCenter (hat tip to Adam Zagoria of Forbes).

Harris, who is in the second year of a four-year, $75MM contract, was averaging 11.3 PPG and 4.0 RPG in 14 starts before he underwent ankle surgery on November 29. At that time, he was given a four-to-eight week timetable for his return. Harris is a 43.9% career 3-point shooter and would be a huge boost for a club currently ranked No. 16 in 3-point shooting.

We have more on the Nets:

  • Kyrie Irving would be more than just a part-time player if he got vaccinated. However, Kevin Durant said he won’t pressure the enigmatic point guard to get the shots, Nick Friedell of ESPN writes. “I told him how important he is, how much I want him to play — play every game. But I’m not about to force somebody to get a vaccine, like that’s not my thing. So he can play basketball? Nah, I’m not about to do that,” Durant said. “We’ve had conversations about wanting him to be a part of the team and conversations about him being here full-time, but that’s on his time.”
  • Brooklyn’s lineup won’t have any stability due to Irving’s status, but coach Steve Nash will try to keep it as simple as possible, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Patty Mills started on Friday when the team lost at home to Milwaukee. “I think it’s to be simple,” Nash said. “Two things. One, keeping it simple is best for everyone. Two, something is always going on with our squad and availability, so we’re mixing-and-matching often. So keeping it simple in this case is probably the best way, and the way that makes the most sense. “
  • DeAndre’ Bembry got his salary guaranteed for the rest of the season on Friday but he’s not content with signing one-year, non-guaranteed deals every season, as he told Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News“I’m not the one to just sit there and think about the contract. I’m thankful for these opportunities as always,” Bembry said. “But like I said, (I’m) looking forward to the next opportunity. I want more and feel like I deserve more, and I’m definitely going to go out there and take it.”

Nets Notes: Bembry, Irving, Aldridge

The Nets intend to keep DeAndre’ Bembry on their roster, fully guaranteeing his minimum-salary contract for 2021/22, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Bembry’s salary was already partially guaranteed for $1,250,000 and his overall cap hit is just $1,669,178, so the cost of guaranteeing the remainder of his salary is modest, making it a relatively easy decision for the Nets. The swingman’s performance this season helped seal the deal — he has averaged 6.2 PPG, 3.4 RPG, and 1.0 SPG with a .599 FG% and .462 3PT% in a part-time role (20.3 MPG) across 32 games.

Here’s more out of Brooklyn:

  • After scoring 22 points in his season debut on Wednesday, Kyrie Irving sidestepped questions about whether he might get the COVID-19 vaccine and said he was just happy to be back on the court, as Nick Friedell of ESPN relays. Irving’s teammates were also thrilled to have him back. “I just missed his presence around the locker room, his energy, his vibe around the team,” Kevin Durant said. “And then his game is just so beautiful. It makes the game so much easier for everybody out there. It was amazing to see him out on the floor again.”
  • With a two-game home stand on tap this weekend, the Nets won’t have Irving on the floor again until Monday, when they travel to Portland to make up one of the games that was postponed in December. James Harden said the team is still adjusting to the on-again, off-again nature of Irving’s availability. “It’s going to take some time [to get used to],” Harden said, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. “… But we’ve been a resilient group all year and [we’ll] eventually figure it out. Hopefully he’s able to play every single game. Home games and away games. But until then we’ll figure it out, we’ll keep pushing and find ways to come up with wins.”
  • LaMarcus Aldridge has played in three games since exiting the NBA’s health and safety protocols, but he admitted this week that he’s still dealing with the aftereffects of his case of COVID-19. “It was my first time getting it, so I think it definitely hit me harder than most,” Aldridge said, adding that he experienced “all the symptoms,” as Brian Lewis of The New York Post writes. “I’m still trying to get my legs back, get my wind back, and just feel normal again.” Aldridge acknowledged that his history of cardiac issues put him at greater risk when he contracted the virus.

Four Nets Players Enter Health And Safety Protocols

Four Nets players have joined forward Paul Millsap in the health and safety protocols, the team announced this morning. As Ian Begley of relays (via Twitter), LaMarcus Aldridge, DeAndre’ Bembry, Jevon Carter, and James Johnson have all entered the protocols and have been ruled out for Tuesday’s game vs. Toronto.

We don’t have information yet on whether any or all of the five Nets players in the protocols have tested positive for COVID-19. If they’ve registered a false positive or have been deemed close contacts of someone who tested positive, it’s possible they could be cleared later this week.

However, if they’ve all tested positive for the coronavirus, they’ll be sidelined for at least 10 days or until they can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart. In that scenario, the Nets would be eligible to add multiple extra players via the hardship provision.

The Nets, who are also without Kyrie Irving and Joe Harris, will now find themselves a little shorthanded when they host the Raptors on Tuesday. They should have as many as 10 players available, but there are a few little-used rookies in that group, including David Duke, Kessler Edwards, and Day’Ron Sharpe.

Kevin Durant and James Harden will, of course, be leaned on heavily to carry the scoring load, assuming Durant plays — he’s listed as questionable due to right ankle soreness (Twitter link via Marc Stein).

The Nets aren’t the only New York team currently being affected by the health and safety protocols. The Knicks announced this morning (via Twitter) that rookie guard Quentin Grimes is out for Tuesday’s game vs. Golden State due to the protocols.

Grimes is the third Knick to enter the protocols within the last four days, joining RJ Barrett and Obi Toppin. It’s unfortunate timing for 2021’s No. 25 overall pick, who had his best game as a pro in his first career start on Sunday when he scored 27 points with seven 3-pointers vs. Milwaukee.