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Marcus Landry and Jorge Gutierrez waived, the rise of Sean Sweeney, Bucks popular in GM rankings

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Bucks trim roster to 15
The time has come to say goodbye to Marcus Landry, Jorge Gutierrez and Josh Powell. The Bucks' last three non-guaranteed players were sent packing on Wednesday, leaving the Bucks with the same 15 guaranteed contracts they began camp with three weeks ago. No surprises.

A Milwaukee native and former UW Badger, Landry scored five points in Tuesday's homecoming game in Madison but not surprisingly couldn't unseat Johnny O'Bryant, Chris Copeland or any other Buck with a guaranteed deal. Jorge Gutierrez also saw his second stint in Milwaukee come to an end, though given his history with Jason Kidd you never know if he might be back at some later date. That leaves the Bucks with the maximum number of roster spots and just over the salary cap heading into the regular season, though they'll still project to have around $24 million in cap space next summer even with John Henson's new $45 million deal kicking in.

A couple interesting notes:

  • Both Henson and Khris Middleton have deals that decline in value over time, providing additional flexibility in 2017-2020 when the Bucks are hoping Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker sign rich new deals. This is not a coincidence.
  • Looking ahead, Giannis is eligible for an extension next summer that kicks in for the 17/18 season, while Jabari can get his in 2017 to take effect in 18/19.  However, because the cap is expected to spike in 2017 and then actually go down the following season, Giannis actually projects to be eligible for a larger max starting salary ($25 million) than Jabari ($23 million).
  • Meanwhile, Monroe will presumably opt out of his contract in 2017, when he'll have the option of playing one more year for just shy of $18 million or becoming an unrestricted free agent with a max of up to around $30 million. Assuming he doesn't get hurt or wildly underperform, you can guess which option he's likely to choose.
  • Like Giannis, Michael Carter-Williams is also eligible for an extension next summer before potentially hitting restricted free agency in 2017. And no, I'm not even going to try to guess what (or where) MCW will eventually be paid.

The Rise of Sean Sweeney | Milwaukee Magazine
Our own Eric Nehm wrote a great feature on Bucks assistant Sean Sweeney for Milwaukee Magazine this week. Read it. Read it now. NO SERIOUSLY READ IT RIGHT NOW.

When Kidd brought Sweeney along to Milwaukee, he said, "We brought him out of the film room. Film is kind of interesting because you can only go two ways, coaching or management. He wants to coach. He's going to be great."

You can also check out Eric on the Milwaukee Mag podcast talking Bucks with our friends Dan Shafer, Jeremy Schmidt and Howie Magner.

Annual GM survey | NBA.com
The Bucks feature prominently in the league's annual GM survey, ranking second behind OKC for team that will improve the most (whoa) and also nabbing votes for breakout player (Giannis Antetokounmpo 2nd, Jabari tied for third) and best in-game adjustments (Jason Kidd) among others. Still, it's a bit funky that the Bucks could rack up the second most number of votes for most improved team and yet rank just 7th (ie one spot lower than last year) in GMs' projection of the East playoff race, right?  The easy answer is that the East should be much more competitive, meaning that more wins won't necessarily translate into a higher playoff seed.

Milwaukee Bucks player profiles | ESPN Insider profiles
Bradford Doolittle's in-depth breakdown of the Bucks' entire roster is the best cheat sheet you could hope to find.  A must read if you have access to ESPN Insider.

Scouts see big things for Giannis...but bench for MCW? | SI.com
Anonymous NBA scouts seem to be either super accurate or horribly misinformed. Let's hope this one is a little bit of both?

Jason Kidd does a great job. They're young and athletic, they figured out a plan, identified their top guys and built a culture. They still have question marks, but I think they'll progress and win a playoff series... Giannis Antetokounmpo is ready to take the next step. There's so much to like: He puts his wingspan to good use on defense, he converts plays in transition and he's a great kid. His shooting isn't quite where you want it to be, but he gets away with it thanks to his activity level. He's like a young Scottie Pippen... Their biggest question is Michael Carter-Williams. He creates no space on the floor, and he's not a high-energy player. Given his lack of shooting, it's hard to keep him on the court if he's not doing something else at an elite level, and I don't know what that would be... I could absolutely see Greivis Vasquez beating out Carter-Williams. He can run a team and he's started before. It might be better if Kidd turns Carter-Williams loose on the second unit...

Jabari Parker of Milwaukee Bucks 'still a rookie' to team, coach Jason Kidd says
But is he still carrying luggage?

Recounting the question of the status of Jabari Parker, who missed most of his first NBA season with an injury, Bucks coach Jason Kidd said, "In our eyes, he's still a rookie."

Milwaukee Bucks No. 65 in Ultimate Standings
In ESPN The Magazine's annual ranking of 122 pro sports teams, the Milwaukee Bucks are No. 65 -- a whopping 55 spots higher than last year.  Only the Cavs (who signed that LeBron dude) made a bigger leap.