Woelfel: Ilyasova close, Sessions' interest
Gery Woelfel tweets from Vegas that four teams are still interested in Sessions, including the Clips. Woelfel also reports Ilyasova is still close to signing, but again nothing official. I kind of like the theory I first heard from Bern on RealGM that the Bucks have a deal in place with Ersan but are keeping it secret so as to appear flush with cash and scare off Sessions suitors. Reports from Spain and Turkey suggest he's signed for three years and something between $6 and 7 million, which fits with the $2 million starting figure we've seen thrown around. In Vegas the talk was that the Bucks didn't have to actually decide anything by July 15, which was the supposed deadline for picking up his Barca option, but that may have been because he was effectively already signed. The plot thickens!
Meeks and Stoudamire contract details.
Some good news on the contract front is that Salim Stoudamire's deal is unguaranteed until training camp (when it becomes roughly half-guaranteed), meaning the Bucks could free up $884k and another roster spot at no cost should they want to sign both Ilyasova and Sessions. Considering they'd still need to open up one more roster spot, waiving Bruce Bowen with his $2 million buyout would be the other obvious move.
Like Luc Mbah a Moute last year, Jodie Meeks will get slightly more than the rookie minimum in his new contract, reducing the amount left to sign Sessions/Ilyasova slightly (most second rounders get two year minimum deals). The Bucks opted to give him a three year deal with a base salary of $550-650k and the minimum the following two years, the last of which isn't fully guaranteed. It's essentially same deal the Bucks gave Luc last year, which delays restricted free agency by a year in exchange for a few hundred grand extra as a rook. Considering the millions Mbah a Moute will be forfeiting because of that, it would seem that NBA players have high discount rates.
JS: Childress staying in Greece
Josh Childress will not be a Buck this season, as he's heading back to Greece for a second season with Olympiacos. Charles Gardner got John Hammond's reaction:
"It was a business decision," Hammond said Tuesday from Las Vegas. "We wish Josh nothing but the best. We were interested."Personally, I'm not that broken up about it. Still just 26, Childress is a phenomenal role player and glue guy. But as a long-term contract on a young team? Eh, I wasn't quite so enthused. I would have been happy to add him in a S/T if very little was headed out (like Luke Ridnour), but once first round picks and big contracts come into the equation it's less appealing. You could certainly do worse than give Chill an MLE deal, but I'm fine with giving Luc the keys to the car at SF and letting Joe Alexander fight for backup minutes. Besides, I'd rather save our cash to bring back Sessions--yes, even with Jennings lighting up Vegas.
Bucksketball: Focus on Sessions
Jeremy chimes in on Childress and a more pressing issue: the Sessions situation.
Are they waiting for an offer sheet? I sure hope not. Letting other teams set the market usually goes a long way towards souring relationships between players and teams. Don’t believe me? Read about the recent Marcin Gortat fiasco with the Magic. Does he sound like a happy guy? We don’t want Sessions getting promised starter minutes somewhere else only to find out he’s coming back here to fight with Brandon Jennings and Luke Ridnour for minutes.
I'm a bit nervous, too, but the fact that there are rumors of Olympiacos interest is in some ways encouraging--if he's resorting to Mediterranean recruiting trips then it would suggest NBA interest isn't what he hoped it to be. For now that interest appears to be coming from Greece, not Sessions, which is an important distinction. And like the inflated Jarrett Jack deal in Toronto, it only takes one team to force the Bucks' hand.
Jennings showed some of the immaturity he was criticized for having before the draft when after missing a shot on which he thought he was fouled, Jennings tripped Thompson.You couldn't actually see what happened on the NBA.com game feed, but at about 23:30 of the video you see something happens. At the time I assumed it was just the two guys getting tangled up since there wasn't a technical and Thompson just got up and kept walking. On the replay, Jennings looks like he was fouled (though certainly not viciously) by Thompson on a perimeter jumper. Both guys disappear from the picture, a whistle is blown, and then you see Jennings walk back into the picture with his arm raised to acknowledge the foul as Thompson gets up. It's not all that uncommon for guys to hold or otherwise impede opponents trying to break down the court, but there's no way of telling if there was much malice in it or what.
Thompson only offered a stern glare, but has not retaliated.
Either way, Jennings will probably need to get used to fans and media looking for reasons to label him immature, brash, cocky, etc. It's a convenient story given his reputation for flashy play, academic indifference, and trash talk. Even if the hype doesn't mesh with reality, "easy" stories always tend to get retold, and people are always eager to mount their high horses. Hopefully Jennings can walk the fine line of letting his confidence and charisma show without letting it become a distraction.
Ball Don't Lie: Jennings winning over Skeets???
Skeets is Canadian, so sometimes he says unfortunate things. Like, "I hate the Milwaukee Bucks." But he's too good to us to be mad at him. And maybe, just maybe, he's coming around.
Honestly, outside of Brew Hoop and maybe Armen "The Hammer" Gilliam, everything about the Bucks bores me to death. Those tacky Christmas color jerseys, the uninspired team roster (sorry, I've never been a big Michael Redd(notes) fan), that creepy emo mascot ... man, I can't stand 'em. They're just ... just ... there. It's a frustrating franchise to try and follow.
But I'll tell you what, if rookie Brandon Jennings(notes) and new addition Amir Johnson(notes) keep connecting on sick alley-oops (like they do at the 1:17 and 1:24 marks in the Vegas Summer League video above), well, I'm going to start paying a lot more attention to the Bucks. Heck, I might even drink a Milwaukee's Best. (Too much?)