"Seriously, I'm liking the Bucks this year."
StarTribune.com: Bucks and Timberwolves to face off twice in preseason
The league's revised regular season schedule isn't out yet--maybe later this week?--but it's likely the Bucks' two preseason games will be a home-and-home with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the week before Christmas. The Bucks typically have a Midwestern-heavy schedule even in a normal preseason, so no real surprise there. I'm just hoping one of those games will be the annual MACC Fund game, which was among the preseason contests that was canceled back in October.
Ball Don't Lie: Obama has Brandon Jennings’ new shoes
The President might be a fan of Derrick Rose and the Bulls, but he apparently still has plenty of love for Brandon Jennings--or at least his shoes. Makes sense: if you're the president it's always better to wear the shoes of a company headquartered in Baltimore than Herzogenaurach.
Woelfel: Bucks among teams reaching out to Joel Przybilla
As he has been predicting for about six months, Gery Woelfel tweets that the Bucks were among the teams contacting free agent center Joel Przybilla today. Przybilla is coming off a couple major leg injuries, he has stated his desire to come back, and the Bucks need a legit big man to back up Andrew Bogut...so yeah, it would all make sense, wouldn't it?
Twitter: Darington Hobson returning to Milwaukee?
The Bucks' interest in re-signing former 2010 second round pick Darington Hobson has never been much of a secret, nor has Hobson done much to dispel it. After all, not many guys from Vegas stay in Milwaukee to rehab from major hip surgeries after they've been released? So almost one year after tweeting "I'll be back," it was perhaps no coincidence that Hobson was tweeting this week with former/perhaps future teammates Larry Sanders and Drew Gooden about being back in Milwaukee on December 9--the first day of training camp. Those tweets have been conveniently deleted, but my Sherlock Holmes instincts suggest he either expects to be on the Bucks roster or he just really likes hanging out with Drew Gooden.
It'd be an interesting move for the Bucks, who are thin at the swing spots following the departures of John Salmons, Corey Maggette, Chris Douglas-Roberts and (presumably) Michael Redd. While Stephen Jackson will take over Salmons' starting SG spot, the only other small forward brought in over the summer was Tobias Harris, who like Hobson is an unproven commodity at the next level. The other question mark is his health: back in July he told Paul Imig that he wouldn't be pain-free until October, so count Hobson among the players who will have benefited from the NBA's delayed start. (Update: in the comments Brick pointed us to this video of Hobson from a month ago where he put himself at 85%)
Hobson's return would also impact the future of Jon Leuer, whose Twitter account has been eerily silent since the lockout ended. The Bucks would retain Leuer's draft rights even if he stayed in Germany this season, so they don't have much to lose if Leuer stays in Frankfurt. That would be especially true if Ersan Ilyasova was coaxed back into a Bucks uniform, but his future remains similarly unclear. Still, it's also worth keeping in mind that with the exception of Ersan the Bucks typically haven't outsourced their talent development--they've shown a strong preference for having young players work with their staff and practice with the team, even compared to getting some burn in the D-League here and there. I keep coming back to this hypothetical: if the Bucks re-signed Luc Mbah a Moute, had Ilyasova back and signed Harris and Hobson they'd already be at 14 roster spots, and presumably (/hopefully) they want to use one of their remaining roster spots on a big man to back up Andrew Bogut. So does Ersan stay or go?
Ziller: Free agent discussions begin Wednesday
Training camp and free agency officially kick off on December 9, but the league surprised many by announcing that a) discussions between agents and teams could begin today but b) no deals could be agreed to until the 9th. It's a departure from the league's typical model, which allows verbal agreements beginning July 1 even though deals can't officially be signed until the league's accountants have determined the cap, tax and MLE/BAE levels a week or so later. The moratorium has never prevented a raft of deals being announced in the first days of free agency, but this time around teams will not even be allowed to strike verbal deals--or perhaps more accurately, they'll have to do a much better job of concealing them.
Bucksketball: Roster questions that finally matter!
Jeremy, Ian and Josh tackle three key questions facing the Bucks ahead of training camp. No arguments here.
JS: NBA deal helps, but Bucks need new arena
We all know a replacement for the Bradley Center is years away (if ever), but like I've been saying for the past few years: nothing will happen unless people start talking about it. So while the JS editorial staff's piece this week might not move the dial in the short term, at least it's something.
The leaders of this community will soon have a decision to make: Do they want an NBA team in Milwaukee? If the answer is yes - and it should be yes - planning needs to begin for a new home for the Bucks.
The business community is also beginning to mobilize support for the team, so maybe we're at the beginning of having some real conversations (imagine that!) about what has to happen to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee for the long term. The new CBA definitely helps--teams with a chance of making a profit tend to fare better than those who don't, right?--but the Bucks also have to deliver consistently on the court in order to win over the all-important fairweather fans who have shown that they will embrace a winner (Oh, hi Brewers!) and speak cynically of a loser (um, most every Bucks season since 1991). But the Journal is also correct in calling out the most important voice of all: Herb Kohl.
It's rather difficult for a sitting senator to ask his constituents to build his basketball team a new gym, so his silence on the issue has been largely understandable. But with Kohl set to retire in 2012 and a lack of obvious local buyers to keep the team in Milwaukee, the time will be ripe for Kohl to propose a solution that strikes the right balance. You couldn't begrudge him for asking for some public funding--there will no doubt be other cities more than willing to offer up shiny new arenas--but he along with the business community will likely have to bear the brunt of funding required to put the BC into mothballs. Are there enough dollars in Kohl's bank account to get it done? It's a good question, especially since Kohl might have to sell the Bucks to get the liquidity needed to fund most of a new NBA arena.
SB Nation: Bucks not among early suitors for Caron Butler?
Ken Berger writes that Racine native Caron Butler has already drawn interest from six teams--but not his hometown Bucks. The Heat, Knicks, Spurs, Clippers, Nets and Mavs are all reportedly interested in the 31-year-old two-time all-star, who missed the second half of the Mavs' championship season after suffering a knee injury on New Year's Day in Milwaukee.
ESPN: Bucks unlikely to axe Gooden--for now
Chad Ford whiffed a few weeks ago when he suggested the Bucks were likely to waive Beno Udrih, but he and John Hollinger seem to be taking a more sensible stance now.
JS: After exams, gym class in session for Bucks' Harris
More on Tobias Harris' delayed transition to NBA life.
"We've really been working on my jumper," Harris said of his sessions with the sharpshooting Ellis. "I've been taking 1,000 shots a day, shooting on the move, making moves off the dribble. It has become a strong point for me."
FS Wisconsin: Bucks' assistants did film study during lockout
While Tobias Harris was in school, Mark Concannon writes that the Bucks' assistants did plenty of their own homework during the lockout, reviewing tape daily of every team in the league in anticipation of the season actually starting.
"For our scouting, I scout 10 teams," Wolf said. "(Bucks assistant coach) Jim Boylan scouts 10 and (first-year assistant coach) Sidney Moncrief scouts nine.
"We critique how those teams played based on last year's personnel."