Audio: Wes Edens talks arena deal, Bucks future, Kidd/Hammond dynamic
With an arena bill passed and his team's offseason activities more or less done (I mean...right?), co-owner Wes Edens joined Bill Michaels on Wednesday to talk all things Bucks. Not surprisingly, Edens was pleased with the broad bipartisan support for the final financing package passed by the Wisconsin state legislature on Tuesday, crediting the city, county, state and Sen. Herb Kohl for their willingness to work towards a compromise that worked for all parties. Among other points:
Including an ice hockey configuration is still on the table -- take heart, Admirals fans -- though it won't come at the expense of a basketball-centric arena.
It really comes down to the orientation of the building itself. A very, very critical component to me, and to us as an ownership group, is we want to have the greatest place to have a basketball game exhibited. And that means certain design elements in terms of making the endzones a little bit more up and down as opposed to flattening them out as in hockey arenas. In no way does that preclude you from having hockey in the arena, it just means the main focus of it is what we wanted, the Bucks, and all the other things we want to exhibit in there, both concerts and other kinds of things.
As for the Bucks' summer and the dynamic between GM John Hammond and Jason Kidd?
You know, John Hammond, coach Kidd, they've done a spectacular job in their first year. I think our offseason has been a 10. We're very excited about what has happened, and you know, it's a very different position to be in, to be worried about expectations being too high coming into a season from where we started this time last year, but it's a great, great process to be involved with.
In short: everything is awesome!
Fox Sports Wisconsin: Peter Feigin on arena bill
Peter Feigin tells Fox's Sophia Minnaert that city and county approvals could come within the next few weeks -- note that Edens mentioned September 1 for the Milwaukee Common Council vote. Related: they do have Prime-eligible shovels available on Amazon.
Yahoo: Chris Copeland goes from harrowing incident to stint with Facebook
At long last, Chris Copeland is officially a Milwaukee Buck. The Bucks officially announced his signing Wednesday after a few weeks of us talking about it, so we probably don't need to do another deep dive on what he brings as a player. As expected, he'll earn around $1.1 million this season, slightly above the veteran minimum.
On and off the court, Copeland is one of the league's most unlikely success stories -- a former 29-year-old rookie who rose from basketball oblivion to become a key contributor for a 50-win Knicks team in 12/13 and has designs of becoming an app-developing entrepreneur in his spare time. So what appealed to him about the Bucks?
"The biggest hook for me was Jason Kidd, by far," Copeland said. "Obviously, he was a friend of mine before all this. He was a great mentor for me in New York and someone I continue to grow under. An incredible mind on and off the floor."
SI: Greg Monroe's arrival boosts Bucks, but team needs time to grow
Great stuff as always from SI's Rob Mahoney, who provides some interesting perspective on Zaza Pachulia's defense and how Greg Monroe changes the Bucks' dynamic in the middle.
Monroe will need to overwrite some of his learned habits, which in the short term could bring Milwaukee some defensive shortcomings. The Bucks' system worked as well as it did last season because Pachulia knew exactly where to position himself to deter drives, which in turn led opponents to force passes that could be deflected or stolen by a phalanx of long-armed perimeter players. Pachulia did so even at the expense of the rules; only five players in the NBA were tagged with more defensive three-second violations than Pachulia last season, despite him averaging just 23.7 minutes per game. Teams around the league teach their big men to '2.9'—staying in the paint as long as possible before clearing with a step out of the lane. Pachulia often didn't bother, daring officials to penalize his defensive positioning.
ESPN: Biggest risers, fallers for 2015-16 NBA season
As part of a recent ESPN roundtable discussion, Marc Stein pegged the Bucks as his pick to break out in the East:
I suspect Miami will be the most popular choice among our esteemed panelists, but I've got my eye on Milwaukee. Questions about the Bucks' spacing will be plentiful (and justified) until we see the likes of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker (once healed) making 3s with more consistency, but the Bucks needed more scoring, and Greg Monroe can provide it. I'm sure we'll hear just as much skepticism about Monroe's defense, but Jason Kidd's kids have the length and athleticism to help cover for Monroe at that end. Shooting and experience are real worries, but no less significant than Miami proving it can dodge injury.
Always nice to get some love from the national guys, though I'm still a bit skeptical we'll see the pay-off for the Bucks' big summer this season. That's not a knock on the Bucks' summer so much as a nod of respect to how much last season's team overachieved and the time it might take to get the now-even-younger-Bucks to start firing on all cylinders.
ESPN Insider: Pelton's Eastern Conference offseason grades
The Bucks get a B+ from Kevin Pelton:
The Bucks made three of the summer's weakest value trades, giving up a 2016 first-round pick (from the Clippers) for one year of Vasquez's services and then trading away key reserves Dudley and Pachulia for in all likelihood one midround second-round pick. Yet they still got better because they were able to parlay their unexpected playoff run into landing Monroe, one of the top free agents to change teams. Milwaukee also got a great deal on Middleton, who signed for $70 million over five years. The Bucks have one of the league's better young cores and ample cap space to build around them.