Three weeks before he likely would have been waived, Chris Wright appears to have found himself a soft landing.
Head coach Jason Kidd announced Wright's departure after practice on Monday, two days after Wright was notably absent from Saturday's open practice and less than a week after rumors first surfaced that Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos was interested in adding the 6'8" wing.
Kidd generously played it off as Wright's decision to leave, but in all likelihood he would have needed a new home sooner rather than later. With 14 guaranteed contracts plus Kendall Marshall's non-guaranteed minimum deal, the Bucks projected to have a full 15-man roster before accounting for the 26-year-old Wright, whose non-guaranteed $915k deal made him the obvious choice for the Bucks to cut loose ahead of opening night.
It's not to say Wright hurt his cause on the court last season. While it's tough to draw too many conclusions from a miniscule 126 minute sample, Wright did post solid numbers (16.5 PER, .577 TS%), and it didn't take long to see why the former Dayton star had developed a rep as one of the D-League's most athletic and defensively capable wings. Still, Wright's lack of perimeter game and the Bucks' logjam of young talent on the wing meant he was always going to be a longshot to stick past camp, and an uninspiring performance in Vegas--which mostly consisted of Wright launching himself into the paint with decidedly mixed results--only confirmed what we already knew about his limitations. Either way, no one seemed to have anything but good things to say about Wright during his time in Milwaukee, and we certainly wish him luck on his next adventure.
Barring a trade (O.J. Mayo? Ersan Ilyasova...maybe?), the Bucks would now seem to be left with the roster they're likely to carry into the season opener on October 29. Here's a quick cap overview, which removes Wright's cap number and also reflects the potentially huge cash influx expected from the league's massive new TV deal:
Note that the Bucks still have the potential to open up in excess of $7 million in cap space, a figure that could potentially be of use during the season should they try to swing a deal that requires them to take back more money than they ship out. It's also quite possible that next year's cap increases significantly in anticipation of the 2016 jump from the new TV deal, as Adam Silver made it clear on Monday that he hoped to avoid a massive one-time leap in the cap at the start of the summer of 2016. So stay tuned, but the bottom line is that the league will be awash with cap space in the summer of 2016--and possibly next summer as well.