The 2013 NBA Free Agency period kicked off at 11:00 pm CST last night. Technically the league is now in the "July Moratorium" phase of the calendar, when the number-crunchers tabulate things like salary cap and luxury tax levels, which in turn set the contract figures for many types of deals.
During this time teams are free to negotiate with free agents and come to verbal agreements, though many contracts can't be officially signed until July 10. As such, there's always a flurry of activity when the period opens, focused primarily around the top free agents who are sure to get a lot of attention from many teams.
The Bucks might not have a great shot at the elite free agents out on the market, but the status of nearly every guard on the roster will definitely make them key players in free agency. The rumors started popping up in short order last night. Here's a quick update on what we've heard so far.
It is appearing less and less likely that J.J. Redick will return to Milwaukee in free agency, league sources tell Y! Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2013
While maybe not totally unexpected, this might come as a shock to some fans after the Bucks gave up young forward Tobias Harris to acquire Redick at last season's trade deadline. But Redick's short tenure with Milwaukee underwhelmed and ultimately proved rather meaningless, and the team may have come to the realization that keeping him isn't prudent, even if it might help them save face from what looks like a very lopsided trade in hindsight. It is still possible to recoup some value, though:
Sign-and-trade scenarios are emerging for Milwaukee and J.J. Redick, but no talks on a return to the Bucks, league sources tell Y!— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 1, 2013
The Bucks aren't likely to renounce Redick for precisely this reason, though it's worth asking whether Redick could possibly bring back anything of real value. Because the most likely S&T destination--a contender over the cap--would require the Bucks to presumably take back roughly equal salary, it might not prove so beneficial in the end. Unless, that is, they can convince a team to include some other asset, be it a young player on a low salary or a draft pick. But it's unclear if Redick is coveted enough to score such a return. The best thing the Bucks have going in their favor is that there should be a fairly large market for J.J.'s services this summer.
Budinger, Martin are possible targets
Budinger, who is more of a 3, also has interest from Pelicans, Bucks, Indy & Dallas. Also, Kevin Martin was called by Milwaukee already.— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) July 1, 2013
Chase Budinger missed most of last season for the Timberwolves recovering from knee surgery, but he's been reasonably efficient in his 4-year career with a cumulative PER of 14.2 He'll likely come cheaper than Redick and can probably handle the 3 a bit better. Assuming Amick is correct in the above tweet, Kevin Martin would have been one of the first players contacted by the Bucks. As a 30-year-old free agent coming off depressed per-game statistics with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Martin won't touch the $12 million salary he earned last season, but still isn't likely to come cheap. He's a fantastic scorer (59.6 career TS%) who can stretch the floor and attack the basket, though he doesn't do much more than that and isn't a good defender. One would hope that the Bucks' interest in Martin would be on a short deal, sort of a more-expensive Mike Dunleavy-type contract, since he doesn't figure to be a long-term solution at shooting guard.
Jeff Teague getting an offer sheet?
As if their backcourt situation not sufficiently up in air ... hearing Bucks, at behest of new coach Larry Drew, pursuing RFA Jeff Teague— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 1, 2013
Teague has been tossed out here from time-to-time as a possible alternative to Brandon Jennings should the latter sign elsewhere. He's got similar counting numbers and much better advanced metrics, though Teague is hardly a guy anyone expects to make a huge jump beyond where he is now. But he'll probably be much more affordable than Jennings and already has a good relationship with Coach Drew. Teague isn't the sort of player who can single-handedly win you a game the way Jennings can, but he's a very capable point guard who would fit with a more balanced roster. It's unclear how any run at Teague would affect Jennings' status with the Bucks, but it would certainly seem to suggest the Bucks are reconsidering how they'll use Jennings if both are on the roster. Teague is really too good (and too pricey) to play off the bench, and Jennings can't play SG more than a few minutes at a time in specialized lineups. It would take some juggling to come up with a cohesive rotation featuring both players, and might hamstring the guys they can be paired with.
Probably no Iguodala
For what it's worth, I haven't seen anything other than second or third-hand mentions of Iguodala linking him to the Bucks, so I don't think this is even really a thing. Iguodala's going to get a very large contract and the Nuggets are apparently interested in keeping him anyway, so I wouldn't hold your breath on landing him.
And as for Monta...
As for Ellis? "Looks like they're going to let him walk," said the first source.
One of Ellis' apparent suitors may have disappeared when the Sacramento Kings landed Ben McLemore in last Thursday's draft, but apparently he's still got others lined up. Reports suggest money but be less of an issue than expected, with Ellis willing to forgo a big deal in order to sign with a good team. This is welcome news if you're in favor of the Bucks cutting ties with him, since the biggest thing they had going for them was the ability to offer him more money regardless of their cap situation.