Bucks.com: Alec Burks, Tristan Thompson, Markieff Morris strut their stuff
The Bucks got an up-close look at three lottery talents on Saturday, with a trio of big names from the Big 12 in town working out and speaking to the media afterwards. As always, Bucks.com has full coverage, including a video report from Jim Paschke. Michael Hunt writes that Burks would fit well, though a shoulder injury suffered in Milwaukee forced him to miss a workout in Charlotte on Sunday. There was the usual praise for each of the prospects from Director of Scouting Billy McKinney, including some particularly glowing words for Texas' Thompson.
"Just absolutely love Tristan Thompson the way he plays, the way he approaches the game. He always plays like he's a pit bull that hasn't been fed in about a year and that you've got pork chops in your pockets and that's the basketball. He's a guy you don't have to tell to play hard. He's a guy that you don't have to tell to defend. He's a guy that you don't have to tell to come and play with energy and zest every night.
McKinney also had some nice comments about Burks and Morris, but I'm not sure how much we can read into anything at this point. Remember what he said about the possibility of drafting Larry Sanders at #15 last year?
"I think that might be a little bit of a stretch, but anything is possible. This draft is a little bit crazy right now because we're not sure how the top 15 is shaking out. Every week we go through mock drafts and we look at the mock drafts and different people are all over the board. We think that might be a little bit of a stretch (to have Sanders at 15) but we have him in anyway to look at him in the event that something might happen in the event that we might move back."
You're a sly one, Billy.
Woelfel: Burks gets wined and dined, team officials hitting the road
While McKinney's words may not be the best indication of the Bucks' intentions, the Bucks' decision to take Burks out for dinner on Friday night might say a bit more. Though dinner with a prospect doesn't seem like it should be a huge deal, the wining and dining of Brandon Jennings and Larry Sanders were cited as key indications of the Bucks' interest the past two years, so there's at least some precedent here. Woelfel writes that Thompson was in town at the time Burks was out with John Hammond, Jeff Weltman, and McKinney, which you could reasonably infer as a signal of the Bucks' preference for Burks heading into the weekend.
On the heels of four straight days of working out college prospects, the Bucks' braintrust will be heading to Europe this week for some more due diligence on the four European-based lottery prospects: Jonas Valanciunas, Bismack Biyombo, Jan Vesely, and Donatas Motiejunas, three of whom the Bucks saw back in April right after the NBA regular season ended. Based on the chatter so far, Valanciunas looks unlikely to slip all the way to the Bucks while the more skilled-but-soft Motiejunas has been trending towards the late lottery/mid-first.
Motiejunas and Vesely are still playing for their club teams and are not expected to work out for teams individually, so this could be the Bucks' last chance to interview them in person ahead of draft night. Vesely is also going to be in New York mid-month for team meetings, but it's not clear if the Bucks will be on his guest-list.
Woelfel writes that the Bucks aren't done with American prospects and also plan to have Washington State sharpshooter Klay Thompson and San Diego State swingman Kawhi Leonard in before the draft. The Bucks will also have officials in Chicago to watch Marshon Brooks on June 12, though it's not clear if Hammond, Weltman and McKinney will be back from Europe at that point.
Big 1070: Woelfel talking Brandon Jennings trade
Via RealGM, Woelfel was on Big 1070's Mike Heller Show on Friday with some interesting speculation about the possibility of a Lakers/Bucks blockbuster that would feature Jennings and others in exchange for Pau Gasol. The Lakers obviously want to upgrade their point guard position, but is there really a chance something this big could go down?
As much as he was dogged for his postseason problems, Gasol is still rather terrific and a better player than Brandon, but he's almost 31 and a key asset that the Lakers would rather use to pry Dwight Howard out of Orlando's hands. Besides, the Bucks would have to ship a ton of deadweight salary out to absorb Gasol's big contract, which seems like a tall order. So I doubt there's much to this one, though it's not insignificant that Woelfel continues to talk about the Bucks potentially trading Jennings. John Hammond didn't take too kindly to the last time a rumor about Jennings' availability made the rounds, but then again why would he?
ESPN: NBA union leader Billy Hunter 'hopeful' after four-hour labor meeting
Reason for optimism? The two sides could be getting a bit closer, though Bucks' player rep Keyon Dooling is keeping things in perspective.
Both sides realize how damaging a work stoppage immediately after their first season would be, so players executive Keyon Dooling of the Milwaukee Bucks said the fact there was good dialogue Wednesday means "you've got a chance."
"But at the same time," he said, "we're far away and we realize that and we've got to try to find some middle ground so we can find balance."
Yahoo: Kelvin Sampson a potential target for Pistons?
Now that John Kuester is finally out in Detroit--seriously, couldn't they have done this six months ago?--Adrian Wojnarowski thinks Sampson could get in the mix for the Pistons' vacant coaching position.