JS: Bucks match offer for Mbah a Moute
Luc Mbah a Moute was back at practice today for the first time--check out this positively adorable photo of him with Andrew Bogut--but he couldn't play as he awaited visa clearance. So Luc, excited to be back in Milwaukee?
"I'm still going to be playing as hard as I can when I get out there. I'm back in Milwaukee.
"I'm in a situation where I quadrupled my salary, and anybody in that situation should be happy."
OK, so he may not have been thrilled with the idea of returning to Milwaukee--inconsistent playing time, lack of clear role, yada yada--but at least he's pumped about, uh, well...the $18.7 million at least. It's a similar story for Bucks fans, many of whom were wary of overpaying Mbah a Moute but mostly fearful of losing a young player with an elite skill. In our weekend poll after the deal was announced, 77% favored the Bucks' decision to match.
Sure, Luc may never be a 35 mpg starter, and his offensive limitations will make it particularly difficult to give him major minutes at the small forward position where he excels defensively. But he'll probably earn the $4-5 million he'll be paid annually over the next four years even if he doesn't improve a lick, which is a nice thing to fall back on. At minimum, a healthy Mbah a Moute should be one of the league's very best wing defenders and good for 25 mpg. And if he does actually improve his jump shot or otherwise up his offensive game, his deal becomes an obvious bargain. At ESPN John Hollinger doesn't share my enthusiasm, though I also don't buy one of his main reasons.
The other reason I don't like this contract is because it took Milwaukee out of the amnesty derby. The Bucks would have had just more than $5 million in cap space to bid on players waived via the amnesty clause, such as Chauncey Billups or Richard Jefferson, but Mbah a Moute's deal soaked it up.
The amnesty auctions are interesting in that fairly high profile players can be had on the cheap and they don't have a choice in who gets them, which in all honesty does help small-market and otherwise "undesirable" destinations like Milwaukee. But you're also not going to find any young building blocks, and Chauncey Billups (perhaps the best player available) even went so far as to threaten retirement in order to avoid a lesser team making a claim on him. So do I think the Bucks would have been better off not matching Mbah a Moute just so they had a chance at putting in a claim on an amnesty casualty? Not really. Call me crazy, but I think I can live with the Bucks spending their money on Luc over Richard Jefferson.
Dunleavy is 31 and has a bad knee, too, but he played 61 games last season and was a better player than [Caron] Butler. I find this deal eminently reasonable and he will help fill out a Milwaukee wing rotation that was a bit short-handed last season.
"He hasn't missed a shot all week besides that free throw at the end (Monday)," Bogut said.
"Literally, yesterday and the day before, he made every three he shot. He's another shooter we have to put next to Carlos (Delfino), and Beno (Udrih) is a backup point guard that can shoot the three.
JS: Tobias Harris and Larry Sanders sit out due to dehydration
Charles Gardner reports from day four of camp.
Bucks.com: Official camp roster
In case you missed it, here are the official number for the 11/12 squad. New players: Stephen Jackson (5), Shaun Livingston (9), Darington Hobson (11), Tobias Harris (15), Mike Dunleavy (17), Beno Udrih (19), Jon Leuer (30). Random fact: every number between 0 and 12 is now either in use or retired. D-Leaguers Ron Howard (Opie!) and Marcus Lewis are also in camp.
Bucksketball: Stephen Jackson says the darndest things
Alex wrote about the differing perspectives of Stephen Jackson and Andrew Bogut at media day, and Jeremy offers up a little more of the zaniness we've come to expect of Mr. Jackson. My favorite part:
"Who won the championship again? I didn't even watch the playoffs."
[Reporter says it was the Dallas Mavericks]
"Dallas sucks to me."
Woelfel: Hobson gets two year, partially guaranteed deal
Gery Woelfel reports that Darington Hobson does have some guaranteed money in his new Bucks deal (how much is unclear), which would seem to reinforce the notion that he's a good bet to make it through camp. Woelfel tweets that the deal is for two years and totals around $1.4 million, which would likely make it your run-of-the-mill minimum-level deal. I'll be curious to see how Leuer's deal compares.
Courtside Analyst: Bucks 11/12 win projection
Ty's initial run through the numbers suggests that the Bucks will most likely be a slightly above-.500 team.
Davis Dish: Mbah a Moute signing, keys to the season
Ted Davis offers his take on why the Mbah a Moute signing should be celebrated and what it will take for the Bucks to take a major step forward.