Woelfel: Devin Harris wouldn’t mind coming ‘home’
We began to throw around the topic of the Bucks going after Devin Harris a few times last season--namely every time he and Jeff Teague torched the Bucks' higher-profile backcourt--and Gery Woelfel reports that the Milwaukee native and free agent-to-be is not surprisingly open to the possibility of a homecoming this summer.
Asked if he would entertain the possibility of signing with the Bucks, Harris, a former Wauwatosa East High School and University of Wisconsin star, said: "I would. Of course. Who wouldn’t want to play for their hometown team?
"I know they got a lot of decisions to make, but I know I would be interested in them. If it’s going to work out, who knows?"
There's really no reason for a solid-but-unspectacular free agent like Harris not to say nice things about potential free agency destinations--players need to market themselves, too--but going after a versatile and affordable combo guard like Harris makes sense even if you ignore the whole Wisconsin feel-good factor. Afterall, someone will have to fill out the Bucks' guard rotation next season, and Harris has shown himself to be a useful utility guard even if his best days are past him. He's got the size and handle to play both guard spots, won't embarrass himself defensively (ahem), and he presumably won't cost more than mid-level money.
At 30 years old he's not the player he was, and he certainly won't command the $8 million salary he earned last season. But if the Bucks want to turn the page on the Monta Ellis/Brandon Jennings experiment--and they should--they're going to need some guys to plug holes in the short term. Given the option of Harris at $5-6 million per over two years vs. one of the swag twins at close to $10 million annually over four years, I'll take Harris and worry about finding a long-term solution later. Moreover, even if the Bucks bring back one of Ellis or Jennings, there's no reason Harris couldn't be a solid third-guard option. Bottom line: Harris won't solve the Bucks long-term problems, but he won't kill the cap or hurt the Bucks on the floor either.
JS: Bucks interview Larry Drew, Kelvin Sampson for second time
As expected, the Bucks met with both of their presumed coaching finalists on Wednesday, a day after Atlanta's hiring of Mike Budenholzer officially put Drew in the unemployed category (does that count as an endorsement?). But Charles Gardner writes that no decision was made on Wednesday, begging the question of what the Bucks will do next.
So will they try to court Grizzlies coach and former Bucks' assistant Lionel Hollins, who despite winning 56 games hasn't exactly endeared himself to the new Grizzlies brass? Though the Bucks have been linked to Hollins numerous times over the past couple weeks, Gardner writes that the Bucks are "not expected to aggressively pursue" him, which may be the Bucks' way of saying "we can't compete with the Clippers and Nets."
I wouldn't expect either Sampson or Drew alone to move the Bucks out of the East purgatory they've occupied in recent seasons--they'll need more talent to do that--but for my money I'll throw my support behind Sampson if only because of the allure/illusion/potential of the unknown. It's not a great argument, but we all know the Bucks need some new ideas. And while we know Drew is solid, the Bucks need more than that. Odds are Sampson isn't the next great NBA head coach, but his reputation for working well with players and forward-thinking approach might at least give him a chance.
Ball Don't Lie: The no-win choice between Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings
Eric Freeman delivers some sobering truth about the decisions the Bucks face in the backcourt.
Woelfel: Shane Larkin, Tim Hardaway to work out on Friday
Along with the rest of the league, the Bucks' draft preparations took them to the Brooklyn group workout last week and Minnesota's workouts this week, with their own sessions starting up again on Friday.
Bucks resume pre-draft workouts Friday: Shane Larkin and Tim Hardaway Jr. among 6 players auditioning.— Gery Woelfel (@GeryWoelfel) May 29, 2013
The son of baseball hall-of-famer Barry, the younger Larkin (DX#23) went from unheralded recruit to likely first round pick in his two seasons at Miami and wowed at the recent pre-draft combine with some off-the-charts athletic testing (44" max vertical, y'all). Larkin's biggest problem is that he's not big at all, standing just 5'11.5" in shoes with a sub-6' wingspan to boot. Anyone dreaming of a bigger PG to replace Brandon Jennings will be sorely disappointed by those numbers, but that's also why he's generally considered a mid-to-late first round prospect.Here he is talking to DraftExpress in Chicago:
Michigan shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr. (DX #31) doesn't have the same size concerns (6'6.25" in shoes, 6'7" wingspan), but his three seasons with the Wolverines were plagued by inconsistency and as a result he's considered a bubble first round prospect at best. My guess is he ends up a serviceable NBA player, but it doesn't look like he'd be in the mix when the Bucks pick in the first round (15th).