Woelfel: Knicks, Clips, and Sixers still possible?
As much as it's nice to have something to talk about in late July, the Ramon Sessions saga is beginning to wear on me. Gery Woelfel continues to tweet about Sessions' prospects with multiple teams, naming the Sixers as potential challengers in addition to old standbys the Clips and Knicks. Meanwhile, Alan Hahn at Newsday writes:
Ramon Sessions would still be the best fit here among the players left. Walsh is reluctant to give the 23-year-old the full-MLE at this point, especially with no other teams competing for his services yet. The Clippers are said to be interested, but I’ve heard Sessions is hesitant to join a team that already has Baron Davis and just added Sebastian Telfair to the backcourt. Too much of a logjam. That, of course, could change.The Knicks make sense from a personnel perspective, and signing Nate Robinson and/or David Lee to one-year deals doesn't make a longer-term deal for Sessions any less appealing from a 2010 cap space point of view. He's less useful with Robinson around, though certainly not completely incompatible with Robinson.
Still, an offer sheet would have to be for at least two seasons (them's the rules) and so signing Sessions to any deal would take a bite out of the Knicks' massive projected 2010 cap space. Moreover, Walsh's purported interest in Jamaal Tinsley doesn't speak highly of their interest in Sessions, though the Tinsley talk is all preliminary at this point. As Hahn notes, Walsh doesn't really have serious competition for Sessions at this point so he's reasonable in taking his time.
The problem for the Knicks is that the lack of competition is somewhat illusory since the Bucks don't have to bid on him. And if they're only going to offer $3 million per season then it would seem obvious for the Bucks to match. An MLE deal for four or five years should get the Bucks to pass, but it doesn't sound like Walsh is interested in going that route--at least not right now. That could change, but from a Bucks' perspective no news would seem to be good news.
JS: Jennings signs
Signing a first round pick is really a non-event these days, as every deal is a standard two years guaranteed with two team option years. After four years they are eligible for restricted free agency assuming they get a qualifying offer (see the Charlie V situation), though many players (like Bogut) sign extensions before the fourth year. In other words, if Jennings is as good as we hope he is then he'll be a Buck for quite some time. I haven't heard of any recent first rounders not getting the maximum 120% of their scale amount, but the JS today quoted the 100% scale number.
The Milwaukee Bucks signed Brandon Jennings to a rookie-scale contract on Tuesday, a multiyear deal which will pay him $3.75 million over the first two seasons, including a salary of $1.8 million next season. The Bucks hold options for the third and fourth seasons.I'd be pretty shocked (in a good way) if they actually got him for less than the maximum amount, so I'll continue to assume he's getting $2.17 million in 09/10 and $2.33 million in 10/11. The JS also reported Joe Alexander's contract last year at the 100% scale number, though he also got 120%. Update: Colin Fly of the AP seems to have the right numbers.
Bucks Diary: Bucks will win around 45 games
I always love reading Ty's stuff since it's fresh and entirely driven by stats, and any time stats tell me my favorite team is going to be surprisingly good it makes me happy. But at this point...well, I can't say I'd be betting on it.
Ty's preseason predictions have generally been fairly conservative in the past, so I wouldn't accuse him of letting any homerism bias what most would consider to be an extremely optimistic early win projection for the 09/10 Bucks. Besides, he's mostly just using historical data to run his projections. He doesn't have Ilyasova anywhere in here and still has Keith Bogans, but otherwise his assumptions seem reasonable.
With all of those caveats (and there are many, admittedly), I think the Bucks look like a play-off team next season. Most of the productive estimates, as I say, are fairly conservative. In arriving at 44.9 wins, I didn't require any player to play beyond his career norms.As we've discussed in the comments, I think it's perfectly reasonable to think that relatively healthy seasons from Bogut and Redd make up for (and then some) the losses of Jefferson and Villanueva, and re-signing Sessions to go along with a bunch of improving young players could easily get you back to the 34 wins the Bucks won last year. Let's remember that CV was a sixth man (albeit a good one) when the Bucks were showing serious signs of life before injuries struck, and Jefferson was solid but nothing special over that same span. Similarly, Sessions wasn't even getting consistent minutes at that point.
Are they a playoff team? That's a much bigger leap. I do think everyone's overreacting to the significance of losing RJ and CV, but at the same time we don't know how much guys like Jennings, Ilyasova, and Alexander will bring to the table. Detroit and Philly could certainly see drop-offs from last season, but Toronto and Washington figure to be significantly better (Washington was of course truly awful). Just eyeballing last year's standings, that leaves the Bucks battling for respectability with those teams as well as Indiana and Charlotte, and any of those teams could be significantly worse than the others and not surprise me on bit. The Bucks should be a fun team to follow, but growing pains should also be expected. Besides, isn't it more fun to be a surprise team?
SI: Jennings plays away concerns over reputation
Scott Howard-Cooper has a good read on Jennings' time in Vegas.
"I think sometimes there's a perception of people, and the perception is not always reality," Hammond said. "And certainly there were perception issues with him before the draft and right after. But what we found is that he wants to please. He wants to please the coaches. He wants to please his teammates. You see that when he's so unselfish on the court.
"We felt like we had a pretty good handle on him, drafting him with the 10th pick. But like any pick, you don't know for sure until you see him in situations every day. It is summer league. That being said, as a measuring stick, it was an important time."