Free agent forward and Bucks target Chris Copeland made his way to Milwaukee on Tuesday, not surprisingly triggering a new round of speculation as to whether a deal was imminent with the 6'9", 31-year-old three-point specialist.
What say ye, Twitter?
ESPN sources say Milwaukee indeed finalizing a deal with Chris Copeland to add him to Bucks' bench. Deal on course for completion this week— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 22, 2015
Free agent F Chris Copeland had a strong workout & visit with Bucks today, but SA & OKC still in mix, source said. Jason Kidd an ex-teammate— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 22, 2015
Source clarifies: Serious interest from the Bucks for Chris Copeland. No offer as of yet. Spurs have interest, too.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) July 22, 2015
Not exactly a clear consensus, eh? Still, it's worth noting that Stein has probably been the most plugged-in guy with the Bucks for some time, so I'd probably lean on his sources more than anyone else's.
More importantly, Copeland landing in Milwaukee would also make a fair bit of sense for both sides. The Bucks could use their cap room mid-level exception to sign Copeland for up to two years and $5.75 million total, which wouldn't seem like a big gamble for a team in need of a floor-stretching forward with Jabari Parker's return still uncertain and Jared Dudley and Ersan Ilyasova traded away.
Speaking of which:
Wizards say forward Jared Dudley had surgery today to repair a herniated disc in his lower back & is expected to be out three to four months— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 21, 2015
That's bad news for one of the NBA's great guys, though it does help explain why the Bucks were willing to move one of their key veterans for essentially nothing. After all, a healthy Dudley would have seemed like the perfect guy to fill out the Bucks' forward rotation, particularly with Jabari Parker's timetable for returning to major minutes still unclear.
While Parker seems to be making excellent progress following reconstructive surgery on his left ACL in January, no one from the organization is claiming he'll be ready to play on opening night at this point, and it could be months before he's playing at a high level even if he were nominally "ready" for training camp. Whatever happens, it's probably for the best if you don't expect him to contribute much to the process of winning games anytime this calendar year. I'll cross my fingers and hope for the best, but ultimately there's no sense in leaving anything to chance with someone as young and important as Parker. Ditto with Damien Inglis, who was still hampered by soreness in Vegas over a year after first breaking his right foot.
Despite that, the Bucks opted to dump Dudley for a top-55 protected second rounder and a trade exception (read: basically nothing) just hours after inking the Middleton and Monroe deals, putting a confusing cap to an otherwise joyous day in Bucks nation. However, fast forward two weeks and the idea of a "healthy Dudley" now seems like a rather abstract concept, which is particularly scary considering how badly he tailed off while battling injuries after the all-star break a year ago. The Bucks may still miss his veteran voice in the locker room, but it now appears that he wouldn't have been much help filling in for Parker anyway.
As for Copeland, he struggled to do much of anything consistently in Indiana last season, slumping to just 31% shooting from deep and missing the last week of the season after being stabbed outside a New York nightclub on April 8. That bit of drama capped off a hugely disappointing season for the former Colorado star, though it also shouldn't obscure the fact that Copeland shot 42% from deep while compiling above-average advanced metrics in each of his first two seasons in the league. He won't be any team's savior, and shouldn't be considered more than a stop-gap starter at best. But as an occasional placeholder who can stretch the floor for everyone else? Now that might be more reasonable.