The Milwaukee Bucks returned to practice last night, and along with it the trade rumor whirlwinds appeared to calm a bit -- for now. With the NBA's trade deadline at 2 pm CT on Thursday, the rumormill as of Thursday morning appeared relatively quiet, though we might have said the same thing moments before the Bucks shipped Brandon Knight to Phoenix a year ago. We'll keep all the latest rumors posted here as they pop up:
Greg Monroe & Michael Carter-Williams
The "will they or won't they?" dynamic has been going on for a few days (or weeks, or months), and in general seems to paint a picture of the Bucks having a price at which they'd certainly be willing to move Monroe or MCW but not finding offers that get them what they want. Not ideal, but not the end of the world either, and bear in mind that things often change when the urgency of the deadline forces final decisions.
Word is that Bucks, meanwhile, continue to tell PG Michael Carter-Williams to ignore trade speculation because they insist he's staying put— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 17, 2016
Miles Plumlee was first player Bucks made available via trade this season but now it appears they need to keep him with John Henson ailing— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 18, 2016
USA Today's Jeff Ziglitt adds on Monroe:
Milwaukee Bucks forward Greg Monroe won't be dealt before Thursday's trade deadline, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.
Teams have placed calls to the Bucks to see if they can acquire Monroe, who is in his first year with the team. But those conversations didn't advance, and one person said with emphasis there is zero chance Monroe is traded.
As we've discussed, there's no sense in the Bucks giving either guy away, especially given that neither is expiring (yet) or from what we can tell hurting the team's locker room dynamic. In the meantime, they have to prepare for the likelihood of moving on and playing 28 more games this season with one or both of them.
Now here's a name that actually makes some sense. Via ESPN's Marc Stein:
Among the many things Phoenix is discussing today, sources say, is dealing Mirza Teletovic to Milwaukee. But the Bucks' largest trade exception is agonizingly too small ($5.2 million) to absorb Teletovic's $5.5 million salary, so any deal would have to involve players from both teams.
Teletovic played under Kidd in Brooklyn (ALERT!) and would fit in well as a stretch-four off the bench for the Bucks, though he's also an expiring deal and would need to be re-signed to have much value to Milwaukee. While he's not a good defender, Teletovic can get by at the four and has proven himself as a three-point shooter. Not surprisingly, the Bucks apparently also had some interest in him last summer as a Jared Dudley replacement before Teletovic signed in Phoenix and the Bucks settled for Chris Copeland.
Since trade exceptions can't be combined with players to aggregate salaries, the Bucks would have to give up an expiring deal like O.J. Mayo or Greivis Vasquez in a straight swap, or aggregate a couple smaller salaries.
The Bucks have also once again also been kinda-sorta-maybe-not really linked with Minnesota's Kevin Martin, whom we first discussed a month ago. Sean Deveney of the Sporting News writes:
Martin is 33 and doesn't fit in the Wolves' rebuilding plans, but there's been no market for him, and he will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Dallas and Milwaukee, among others, has kicked the tires on him (as had Charlotte, before acquiring Courtney Lee) but with the possibility of him being waived after the trade deadline, there has not been much urgency to acquire him.
Ironically I'm not sure if that even counts as a new rumor -- it reads more like a rehash of what we heard last month with some added explanation for why Martin won't be traded. It's always possible the Bucks could do some kind of deal where they swap one of their expiring vets (O.J. Mayo or Greivis Vasquez) for Martin, but it's tough to look at it as much more than a rearranging of deck chairs. Martin has a $7 million player option for next season, which has likely scared off some teams but might not be an unfair number if he remains a competent bench scorer next season.
UPDATED 1:22 CT
No hot leads at the moment, though we've heard that story before, eh?
Bucks quiet right now, I've been told, but GM John Hammond is the affable gambler at trade deadline. He likes to deal.— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) February 18, 2016
Following up on last night's hints from Woj, Stein writes that the Bucks and Wolves discussed playmaking wizard Ricky Rubio -- but sounds like there won't be anything further before the deadline.
ESPN sources say Minnesota and Milwaukee engaged in fresh Ricky Rubio trade talks today but couldn't find common ground on a deal structure— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 18, 2016
Rubio can't shoot (career 30% from three) and is afraid of the rim -- the former being an especially sore point for most Bucks fans -- but he's basically the perfect point guard in every other respect. While he's never going to be the star he was projected to be as a teenager, he's a phenomenal playmaker, very good defender and unselfish teammate, so much so that the Wolves have actually been a good team when he's on the court (+1.5 pts/100) and his RPM numbers are terrific (+2.36 on offense, +2.36 on defense, +4.72 overall) as well.
Most observers seemed to think Rubio was much more likely to be moved this summer, so given Kidd's appreciation for Rubio be sure to keep an eye on this in June and July. The more difficult question is what Minnesota would want in return; he would certainly seem to be a very good fit next to Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns, which suggests that any deal would likely have a steep price for the Bucks.
Kendall Marshall was a very nice rotation piece for the Bucks before tearing his ACL last season. Might the Bucks be interested in a reunion?
Sources: As Bucks search for ways to reshape guard depth, they've checked on bringing back 76ers Kendall Marshall. For now, no traction.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) February 18, 2016
Marshall's been a mess since returning from his injury in Philly, posting career-worst numbers and struggling to find minutes against the likes of Ish Smith and T.J. McConnell. Much of that is likely related to his knee not being 100% yet, though he's also on a very team-friendly deal that will pay him around $2 million each of the next three seasons. I'm skeptical he'll ever be a starting point guard, but he's already shown he can be a quality distributor off the bench under Kidd and would be worth a long-term flier if Philly was making him available on the cheap.
There's been no talk of suitors for Jerryd Bayless, but there was this bit of bad news today:
Latest Bucks injury news: Kidd says Jerryd Bayless suffered knee injury in practice Wed. night and is having MRI exam today.— cfgardner (@cf_gardner) February 18, 2016
Bayless could have been a useful third guard for a playoff team, but a possible knee injury would likely throw a wrench into any interest on that front. It's also bad news for the Bucks on the court, who have leaned on Bayless' three-point marksmanship throughout the season. Stay tuned.