The latest on Milwaukee's rumored interest in Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe.
Gery Woelfel talked about the pursuit on 1250 WSSP, calling it "a possibility" and saying he's more optimistic about it than he was two weeks ago. However, the big hang-up is that the Suns have apparently been telling everybody that they will match any offer Bledsoe might receive. Of course, every team seems to say that about their restricted free agents--witness the Bucks' last year with Brandon Jennings.
The Bucks don't currently have enough cap space to offer Bledsoe a true "max" contract (note that signing Jerryd Bayless could be accomplished using the "room" exception later if the Bucks wanted to use their existing cap space first, though it would require Bayless making $2.7 million or less next year), but moving any one of a few of their veterans could open up the requisite space to do so. That could be done via separate deals, or the Suns could agree to a sign-and-trade.
Another interesting factor is Woelfel's speculation that the Bucks might have interest in Suns' first-round draft pick Tyler Ennis, whom the Bucks talked to extensively during the pre-draft camp process. With Isaiah Thomas now on board in Phoenix, Ennis doesn't figure to see much time for the Suns this season if they retain Bledsoe, possibly making him expendable.
Hard to say how Bayless' expected arrival will affect these pursuits going forward. Adding him to the current roster gives the Bucks three guards who can split time at the 1 and 2, plus O.J. Mayo. That doesn't preclude adding another, but it does make any of those guys a bit more expendable in a potential sign-and-trade situation, save for Bayless himself, who can't be traded for three months after he signs.
One last thing from Gery: Jerry Stackhouse sounds like a decent bet to join the Bucks' coaching staff. He's been talking with Jason Kidd a lot in Vegas, and John Hammond apparently made a push for Stack to join Scott Skiles' staff.
AZ Central: Eric Bledsoe still not under contract with Phoenix Suns, but don't panic
Paul Coro also identifies the Bucks as a suitor for Bledsoe, though he's seemingly operating under the assumption Milwaukee won't look to clear more cap space to give him a bigger offer. Philadelphia and Detroit are also tossed out as potential landing spots.
Free Agency Winners and Losers | Grantland.com
Zach Lowe doesn't expect to see much action from the Bucks this summer, though he does echo the rumored interest in Bledsoe:
The franchise is happy to tank another season and explore the trade market for ways to off-load veteran money and/or rent out its cap space for picks. It wouldn’t shock if the Bucks tossed some last-minute cash at a young free agent — they reportedly had some interest in Bledsoe — but time is growing thin.
Also, there's now a section, presumably recurring, in Lowe's FA Winners and Losers column called "The Annual Milwaukee Bucks WTF Are They Doing Award," so named because everybody was asking it last year when Lowe did his first such column. This year the Kings, Magic, Lakers, and Pistons are top-4 in MBWTFATD Award Balloting.
OH AND BY THE WAY THIS JUST IN ERSAN ILYASOVA IS NEVER LEAVING.
One more note about Milwaukee: Hearing there's strong sentiment within the organization to keep hold of Ersan Ilyasova. Not trade him— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 16, 2014
Well that's a bit of a departure from the last thing we heard. All we really know is this:
Here's the thing about Ersan: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯— Eric Buenning (@ericbuenning) July 16, 2014
Larry Drew may have found a new home already.