Are we there yet?
The start of Bucks camp may still be 24 days away, but it would appear that we at least know who will be on the opening night roster when the season tips off in New Orleans October 27. On Friday, the Bucks finally signed 37th overall pick Darington Hobson, bringing Milwaukee to the maximum allowable 15 roster spots. Expect the Bucks to bring in some additional warm bodies just for camp, but the 15 contracts on the books mean no room for Tiny Gallon as things currently stand.
Because the Bucks used their MLE on Drew Gooden, Hobson's deal can't be for more than the minimum-level for two years, which would pay last year's Mountain West Player of the Year $473,604 this season and $788,872 in 11/12. The JS implied the deal was guaranteed for this season, though it's not clear how much of the second season is guaranteed--assuming there is one.
Among non-internationals, Hobson had been the highest unsigned second rounder, and it's worth noting that John Hammond's second round picks the past two seasons, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Jodie Meeks, were both signed in early July. Hammond also used part of the MLE to give Mbah a Moute and Meeks three year deals that paid them slightly more than the minimum as rookies, but that wasn't possible this summer because of the Gooden signing. That meant the only negotiating points with Hobson were whether the deal would be one or two years and how much of it would be guaranteed.
I can't offer more than speculation on why it took so long, but it should be noted that NBA teams have to offer second rounders a minimum tender offer by September 6 or they become free agents. The groin injury that kept Hobson from playing in Vegas may have given the Bucks some pause about offering much guaranteed money. Hobson tweeted that his injury was "doing fine almost there" a week ago, but clearly a three month layoff from a groin injury is fairly serious.
The other issue was how the Bucks wanted to fill out the roster--and how Hobson and Gallon fit into that. Brandon Jennings was the only point guard under contract when the summer started, and the signing of Earl Boykins suggested the Bucks weren't comfortable with just Jennings and Keyon Dooling manning the point. But Gallon's fate may have been sealed a few weeks earlier, when the Bucks parlayed Darnell Jackson's non-guaranteed deal into a sign-and-trade for Jon Brockman.
The Bucks would retain Gallon's NBA rights if he signed in Europe, but somehow I don't see that being the preferred route for him. The other obvious option would be trading Gallon's rights to another NBA team (likely for a future second round pick), though I doubt there's much demand for him at the moment given a) he's a ways from being NBA-ready and b) most teams have more or less filled out their rosters at this point. However, if the Bucks don't offer Gallon a tender offer by Monday they'll lose all rights to him. What's not clear to me is whether they can even do that--if it can be completely non-guaranteed then they have nothing to lose, but I'd guess they'd rather let Gallon walk than owe him money when they inevitably have to cut him to get down to 15 players on opening night. [Update: Just read Dan's comments on this at RealGM and it seems like they could just offer Tiny a completely NG'ed deal. But then they'd have to cut him at the end of camp to get down to the roster limit--you can guess Gallon would strongly prefer a trade now to that fate]
And though Hobson is now in the fold, it's not clear what if any role he'll play as a rookie. Hobson excelled as a savvy point forward at New Mexico--he names Penny Hardaway as his idol and from his highlight reel bears a resemblance to fellow lefty Jalen Rose--but I would guess his size (6'7") and lack of top-shelf quickness would make it difficult for him to defend smaller perimeter players. John Salmons, Corey Maggette, Carlos Delfino, Luc Mbah a Moute and Chris Douglas-Roberts figure to be ahead of him at the 2/3 positions, and like Ridnour a year ago, Keyon Dooling could also get some run at the off-guard position.
Barring injuries to those guys, Hobson figures to spend most nights on the inactive list with Michael Redd and Boykins. Then again, Hobson is also something of an unknown quantity to most of us at this point. Hopefully he's healthy by the start of camp and gets a chance to show his stuff in the preseason, but it's hard to say if he'll be able to make enough of an impression to crack a rotation filled with fairly proven veterans. The one guy Hobson could target is CDR, who hasn't proven himself as a consistent NBA player but figures to be plenty motivated entering a contract year. The D-League is also a possibility, but we all know the Bucks prefer to keep rookies in Milwaukee, where they can practice with the big club and work with the Bucks' coaching staff.