Tony Snell

Bucks Shopping Snell, Ilyasova For Cap Room

The Bucks are looking to move either guard Tony Snell or forward Ersan Ilyasova in a trade this week with draft compensation as the sweetener to the deal, Marc Stein of the New York Times tweets.

Milwaukee had the league’s best record but its roster is in a state of flux. The Bucks’ second-best player, swingman Khris Middleton, will become an unrestricted free agent when he opts out this month. Starting center Brook Lopez will also be unrestricted and guard Malcolm Brogdon will be a restricted free agent. The Bucks are also expected to make guard George Hill an unrestricted free agent, rather than guaranteeing his $18MM salary before the end of the month.

Snell has an $11.4MM salary next season and a player option for $12.2MM in 2020/21. Ilyasova’s contract might be easier to move. He’ll make $7MM next season but his $7MM salary for 2020/21 is not guaranteed.

There are also limitations to which draft picks the Bucks can offer, since they already are obligated to move several of them. They owe a protected first-rounder to the Suns next year and a protected first-rounder to the Cavaliers in 2022. They’ve also traded second-round picks to the Kings (2019), Pelicans (2020) and Pacers (2021).

This year’s first-round pick (No. 30) could be officially traded after the pick has been made, but not before then, due to the Stepien rule.

Snell, 27, appeared in 74 regular-season games this season, including 12 starts, but was a non-factor in the postseason due to an ankle injury. He’s a career 38.2% 3-point shooter.

Ilyasova, 32, has played for six organizations since the 2015/16 season. He’s a 36.5% career 3-point shooter and also led the league this past season in charges drawn.

Bucks Notes: Giannis, Middleton, Snell

Now that their season is over, the Bucks will shift their focus to free agency, as several of the team’s key contributors don’t have contracts for the 2019/20 season. Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is locked up through 2020/21, said today in his end-of-season session with reporters that he doesn’t want to get involved in front office decisions, but he hopes Milwaukee can re-sign all of its top free agents (Twitter link via Matt Velazquez of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel).

“Obviously, I want everybody back,” Antetokounmpo said, per Malika Andrews of ESPN.com. “Great fricking team — unselfish players that play basketball the right way. They’re winners. We had a great atmosphere. We didn’t have no — I want to be polite. I want to say the A-word — we didn’t have no buttheads. Obviously, I want everybody back. I’m going to let my teammates know that.”

Khris Middleton, perhaps the Bucks’ most important free-agent-to-be, spoke today about having unfinished business with Giannis and the Bucks as a whole, tweets Velazquez. That doesn’t necessarily guarantee he’ll be back though. As Andrews tweets, Middleton said that his top two priorities will be what’s best for his family, followed by his fit.

Here’s more on the Bucks:

  • Although Antetokoumpo was disappointed not to win the Eastern Conference Finals, he’s confident that the Bucks are in position to make more noise in the playoffs in future seasons. “I think it’s just the start of a long journey,” Antetokounmpo said after Saturday’s loss, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “We’re going to get better. We’re going to come back next year and believe in who we are, believe in what we’ve built this year, and hopefully, we can be in the same situation and be the ones moving forward.”
  • Prior to the end of the Eastern Finals, Gery Woelfel of Woelfel’s Press Box wrote that some NBA officials believe the Bucks are eager – or even “desperate” – to dump Tony Snell‘s contract. Snell is owed $11.59MM in 2019/20 and $12.38MM in 2020/21. “I think the only way they can move him is if they package him with a pick,” one NBA executive told Woelfel. “But [the Bucks have] already traded two [future] No. 1s, so that won’t be easy to do that, either.”
  • It will be interesting to see how imperative it is for the Bucks to move off of Snell’s deal. If Milwaukee re-signs Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, and Brook Lopez (or Nikola Mirotic) to lucrative contracts, getting rid of Snell’s money could help the team avoid the tax. But if even one of those players departs, keeping Snell on their books for another year may not hurt the Bucks.

Central Notes: Pistons, Bullock, Bucks, Pacers

Although the Pistons traded Reggie Bullock to the Lakers at last month’s trade deadline, Vince Ellis of The Detroit Free Press says he gets the impression that Bullock would be open to returning to Detroit as a free agent this offseason (Twitter link). The Pistons would likely reciprocate that interest, though it would depend on Bullock’s price tag, Ellis adds (via Twitter).

With the Pistons projected to be over the cap next season, they’ll be limited to a few modest exceptions, including the mid-level, as they attempt to upgrade their roster. Signing a three-point shooter like Bullock – or perhaps current Piston Wayne Ellington – will be a priority, but Detroit figures to commit part of its MLE to a point guard, Ellis notes. Reggie Jackson remains under contract for another season, but Ish Smith, a key part of the club’s rotation, will be a free agent.

Here’s more from around the Central:

  • After officially signing Tim Frazier today, the Bucks are now only about $250K below the tax line, tweets cap expert Albert Nahmad. As Nahmad explains, Tony Snell can earn up to $400K in bonus money if Milwaukee wins the Finals, but the team should be on track to stay out of the tax if it falls short of a title — or if Christian Wood is claimed on waivers tomorrow.
  • In a pair of recent pieces by Sam Amick and Scott Agness of The Athletic, Indiana executives revisited the Paul George trade that turned into a rare win-win for both the Pacers and Thunder. “I think it worked out good for Paul, and I think it’s working out pretty well for us,” consultant Donnie Walsh said of the deal, per Amick.
  • In Agness’ story on that trade with the Thunder, Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard raves about Domantas Sabonis, who gets somewhat overlooked as the only non-All-Star (so far) involved in the swap. “When we looked at all the deals, once we heard ‘Sabonis’ is when I said, ‘I’m in. I want to do this,'” Pritchard said. “And I asked everybody around the room, ‘Is everybody on board?’ As soon as that happened, we got pretty excited about that.”
  • Dwane Casey‘s ability to respond to adversity, which has been on display throughout his first season with the Pistons, is one reason why owner Tom Gores hired him as the club’s head coach last spring, writes Keith Langlois of Pistons.com. Despite a 9-22 stretch earlier in the season, Detroit currently holds the East’s No. 6 seed.

Bucks Acquire George Hill From Cavs

DECEMBER 8, 9:00am: As part of the deal, the Wizards also removed the protections on the 2020 second-round pick they owe the Bucks, reports Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). In summation, the trade looks like this, as Smith tweets:

  • Bucks receive George Hill, Jason Smith, cash considerations (from Wizards), the Wizards’ 2021 second-round pick (from Cavaliers), and the protections removed on the Wizards’ 2020 second-round pick.
  • Cavaliers receive John Henson, Matthew Dellavedova, the Bucks’ 2021 first-round pick (protections detailed below), the Bucks’ 2021 second-round pick, and the Wizards’ 2022 second-round pick.
  • Wizards receive Sam Dekker.

DECEMBER 7, 9:25pm: The trade is official, according to a Cavaliers press release. as relayed by Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix.

6:20pm: The Wizards have agreed to make it a three-team deal by acquiring Dekker for big man Jason Smith and a second-round pick, Wojnarowski tweets. The Cavs will swap a 2021 second-rounder with Washington for a 2022 second-rounder, Brian Windhorst of ESPN tweets.

5:05pm: The Bucks have agreed to acquire veteran guard George Hill from the Cavaliers in exchange for guard Matthew Dellavedova, injured center John Henson and first- and second-round picks in 2021, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

Cleveland is also sending forward Sam Dekker to Milwaukee, Brian Windhorst of ESPN tweets.

As always, the deal is contingent on the players passing physicals.

The Bucks will save approximately $18MM for the 2019/20 season with this move, which will increase their flexibility to make more moves next summer, Wojnarowski notes in a separate tweet. With Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe both on track to become free agents in July, that extra flexibility could be crucial.

The Cavs are showing a continued willingness to take on salary in order to acquire future assets, Wojnarowski adds.

There was a sense of urgency in getting this deal done on Friday. These players are now eligible to be aggregated on the February 7th trade deadline, Wojnarowski points out in another tweet. Thus, these players can be combined with other contracts in a deadline deal.

While Cleveland is technically acquiring Milwaukee’s 2021 first-rounder in the deal, it’s likely to get pushed back to 2022. That’s because the first-rounder that Milwaukee owes Phoenix next summer almost certainly won’t change hands until 2020, as it’s protected 1-3 and 17-30 for 2019. Since teams can’t trade future first-round picks in back-to-back seasons, the Cavs would have to wait an extra year to get their pick from Milwaukee.

There are protections on the first-round pick going to Cleveland, according to Zach Lowe of ESPN (Twitter link). The first-rounder is protected 1-14 in 2021; 1-10 in 2022; 1-10 and 25-30 in 2023; and 1-8 in 2024. If still not conveyed by then, it converts to two second-rounders in 2025.

Hill is making $19MM this season but his $18MM salary for next season doesn’t become fully guaranteed until July 1. Only $1MM is guaranteed, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Milwaukee will almost assuredly cut him loose before then, eating his $1MM partial guarantee. However, Hill can be a contributor this season on a playoff contender.

He joins a guard rotation that includes Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon and Tony Snell. The addition of Hill would seemingly reduce Donte DiVincenzo‘s minutes.

Henson is making $11.3MM this season and has a $10.5MM guarantee for next season in the final year of his deal. He recently underwent wrist surgery and could miss the rest of the season.

Dellavedova, who will begin his second stint in Cleveland, is making $9.6MM this season and the same amount next season.

Dekker is making $2.76MM and Milwaukee would have to extend a $3.9MM qualifying offer after the season to make him a restricted free agent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Central Notes: Stephenson, Parker, Stefanski, Griffin

Lance Stephenson has left the Pacers again, but just like last time it may not be forever, writes Dana Benbow for The Indianapolis Star. Stephenson, who signed a one-year deal with the Lakers this summer, was asked about a possible return during a party he threw Wednesday to say goodbye to Indianapolis.

“Oh, of course. This is home. Of course,” he responded. “I would always want to come back here.”

Stephenson was among Indiana’s most productive reserves last season, appearing in all 82 games and posting a 9.2/5.2/2.9 line. His previous stints with other teams — the Hornets, Clippers, Grizzlies, Pelicans and Timberwolves — produced mostly disappointing results.

“We stayed in constant communication with him,” team president Kevin Pritchard said. “At the end of the day, Lance gave us some great years. We love Lance. We love Lance on the court, we love Lance off the court.” 

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Mike Budenholzer may be having “buyer’s remorse” over taking the Bucks‘ head coaching job after the loss of free agent Jabari Parker, suggests Gery Woelfel of WoelfelsPressBox in his latest podcast. He adds that the entire organization was counting on Parker to stay and never expected him to get an offer in the $20MM range like the Bulls gave him.
  • The Bucks are still hoping to make a deal before the season starts, Woelfel adds in the same discussion. He names John Henson, Malcolm Brogdon and Tony Snell as the players most likely to go, but says Eric Bledsoe has also been mentioned as a trade candidate.
  • Ed Stefanski has made a lot of progress in his first 100 days as a senior advisor to the Pistons, notes Chris Schwegler of NBA.com. The most significant moves were the hiring of reigning Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, adding Khyri Thomas and Bruce Brown through the draft and signing free agents Glenn Robinson III, Jose Calderon and Zaza Pachulia.
  • Blake Griffin is looking healthy during his summer workouts at UCLA, relays Kurt Helin of NBC Sports. A knee injury limited Griffin to 58 games last year between the Clippers and Pistons, and he hasn’t played more than 67 in a season since 2013/14.

Central Notes: Bucks, Doncic, Pacers

As we relayed yesterdayBucks’ interim head coach Joe Prunty is still a candidate to retain Milwaukee’s head coaching position. However, as we also indicated, former Hawks’ coach Mike Budenholzer is just one name circulating as a possible replacement for Prunty, with the Bucks planning to conduct an open and active search for their next head coach.

According to Sean Deveney of Sporting News, the Bucks would be wise to move on from Prunty and seek a head coach who can do a better job of inserting franchise cornerstone Giannis Antetokounmpo into a superstar role. Per Deveney, the Bucks have failed to do so to this point in Antetokounmpo’s young career, and it is negatively affecting both Antetokounmpo and the team.

Deveney mentions Budenholzer, former Grizzlies coach David Fizdale, and former Cavaliers coach David Blatt as worthwhile candidates for the position, but ultimately opines that whoever the Bucks hire, he needs to be able to formulate an offense that runs through Antetokounmpo, creating mismatches and finding options for when teams double team him.

Deveney also touches on what he deems disappointing seasons from role players Tony Snell, Thon Maker, and Matthew Dellavedova, as well as the upcoming free agency of former No. 2 overall pick, Jabari Parker. Deveney feels that the best case scenario for the Bucks, although highly unlikely, is a total lack of suitors for Parker, thereby opening the door for the Bucks to potentially sign Parker to a one-year deal at the value of his qualifying offer.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • Regardless of how the Bucks plan on approaching Parker’s free agency, at least one teammate is extremely confident that the former Duke star is not leaving Milwaukee (story).
  • As one part of a 10-part series focusing on the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft, Marc Strotman of NBC Sports Chicago argues that the Bulls should select Luka Doncic if he is available when Chicago makes its selection in June, as his elite-level passing ability is a perfect fit for today’s fast-paced NBA game.
  • Fresh off a heartbreaking loss to the Cavaliers in Game 7 of the teams’ first round series, the Pacers should be excited about their promising future, writes Michael Marot of The Associated Press. As Marot notes, the Pacers could have their top eight players all back next year if Thaddeus Young and Cory Joseph exercise their player options and the Pacers exercise their team option on fan favorite Lance Stephenson.

Nikola Mirotic, 15 Others Become Trade-Eligible

Today is January 15, which means that trade restrictions have lifted for most of the rest of the NBA’s 2017 offseason signees. While the majority of those ’17 free agents became trade-eligible on December 15, there was a small subset of free agent signees whose trade ineligibility lasted for another month.

The 16 players whose trade restrictions lift today meet a specific set of criteria: Not only did they re-sign with their previous teams this offseason, but they received raises of at least 20%, their salaries are worth more than the minimum, and their teams were over the cap, using Bird or Early Bird rights to sign them.

The most notable name in this group is Bulls power forward Nikola Mirotic. He’s not the best player on the list — Blake Griffin and Kyle Lowry would be among those vying for that honor. But Mirotic is the most likely player to be dealt out of the 16 guys becoming trade-eligible today. He has been linked to a handful of teams already, including the Jazz, Pistons, and Trail Blazers.

Here are the 16 players becoming trade-eligible today:

With three and a half weeks left until this season’s February 8 trade deadline, nearly all of the NBA’s players are now eligible to be dealt. The only players still ineligible to be moved are those who signed free agent contracts later than October 15, plus certain players who signed contract extensions in the offseason.

Hawks guard Isaiah Taylor (January 17), Nuggets forward Richard Jefferson (January 19), and Pelicans guard Jameer Nelson (January 22) are now the only remaining players who will become trade-eligible between today and February 8. For the full list of players who won’t become trade-eligible before this year’s deadline, click here.

Bucks Sign Tony Snell To Four-Year Deal

JULY 31: More than a month after the Bucks and Snell agreed to terms on a new deal, the team has made it official, issuing a press release to formally announce the signing.Tony Snell vertical

“Tony was an integral part of our team’s improvement last season and we’re excited to re-sign him,” new GM Jon Horst said in a statement. “He is a tireless worker, a terrific teammate and a man of great character. We look forward to having him back with the Bucks as we continue to build toward a championship.”

JUNE 30: The Bucks have agreed on a four-year deal with Tony Snell worth $46MM, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Snell will hold a player option after the third year.

The agreement comes on the heels of a season in which Snell emerged as rotation player on a postseason contender. In 80 games for the Bucks, the swingman posted 8.5 points and 3.1 rebounds per contest.

Wojnarowski had previously written about how the three-and-D player figured to draw considerable interest on the market and the disclosed agreement falls right in line with what he predicted earlier in the month.

Fun Fact: This was the first Woj Bomb of Wojnarowski’s stint with ESPN.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Lowe’s Latest: George, Hayward, Ibaka, Gallinari

A proposed scenario that would see the Celtics sign Gordon Hayward, trade for Paul George, and sign George to a contract extension isn’t realistic, writes Zach Lowe in his latest report for ESPN.com. As Lowe points out, there would be no reason for George to re-up with Boston right away in that scenario unless he could renegotiate a maximum salary, and it would be extremely difficult for the C’s to accommodate such a deal without moving Al Horford.

Knowing that if they acquire George, he could be a rental, the Celtics have thus far been unwilling to include Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick, or the Lakers’ 2018 first-rounder in any of their offers to Indiana, Lowe reports. Lowe’s best guess at Boston’s offer is a package that would include Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart, and one of the team’s other first-round picks. The C’s will be reluctant to go much higher than that, given their fear that George could leave in 2018 — Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times wrote on Thursday night that the Pacers forward is still telling friends he expects to be a Laker in 2018.

While George could just be a one-year rental, the Celtics have competition for him. According to Lowe, the Wizards would likely be willing to sign-and-trade Otto Porter and include a first-round pick. The Cavaliers would swap Kevin Love straight up, though that doesn’t interest Indiana much, per Lowe. If the Nuggets get involved again via three-way talks for George and Love, they could offer Gary Harris and a first-round pick, though NBA execs expect Harris to command upwards of $20MM annually on his next contract, which is due soon, says Lowe.

Here’s more from Lowe with the free agent period right around the corner:

  • Lowe views Hayward as less than a 50-50 bet to stay with the Jazz, with both the Celtics and Heat as legitimate suitors. The ESPN scribe adds that he wouldn’t be surprised if a mystery fourth team ends up getting a meeting with Hayward.
  • The market for Raptors big man Serge Ibaka and Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari is expected to be in about the $20MM-per-year range, sources tell Lowe.
  • The Sixers have told player agents that they plan on signing one-year contracts in free agency this summer to preserve future cap space. They may also use some of their current cap room to sign Robert Covington to a renegotiated extension, writes Lowe.
  • Lowe expects the Bucks to sign Tony Snell to a deal in the range of $10-12MM annually.
  • Despite drafting De’Aaron Fox, the Kings may still spend on a free agent point guard as a veteran mentor, particularly if they decide they want to chase a playoff spot right away, says Lowe.
  • The Grizzlies are “crossing their fingers” that the market for RFA power forward JaMychal Green isn’t as competitive as expected, according to Lowe.

Tony Snell, Ron Baker Receive Qualifying Offers

Tony Snell and Ron Baker are the latest players to receive qualifying offers from their respective teams, having been tendered by the Bucks and Knicks, respectively, according to RealGM’s transactions log. With QOs in hand, Snell and Baker will now head into the new league year as restricted free agents.

Snell, acquired by the Bucks last fall in exchange for Michael Carter-Williams, was a reliable rotation piece in Milwaukee last season, averaging a career-high 8.5 PPG to go along with 3.1 RPG and a .406 3PT%.

A career 37.3% shooter from three-point range, Snell figures to draw plenty of attention from teams seeking three-and-D wings, with Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical suggesting earlier this month than an annual salary in the neighborhood of $11-13MM may be within reach for the 25-year-old. Since he met the starter criteria, Snell’s qualifying offer will be worth $4,588,840.

As for Baker, the undrafted free agent out of Wichita State will receive a more modest $1,512,611 qualifying offer, though Ian Begley of ESPN.com indicates the 6’4″ guard may draw enough interest to force the Knicks to use some of their cap room to retain him. In his rookie season, Baker appeared in 52 games (13 starts) for New York, averaging 4.1 PPG and 2.1 APG in 16.5 minutes per contest. He’ll be subject to the Arenas Rule.