No one will confuse the Milwaukee Bucks for favorites in the three-legged sack race for Dwyane Wade's services, but they seem to be "hanging around" nonetheless. Via ESPN's Marc Stein:
The Bucks, according to league sources, remain scheduled to have a free-agent recruiting meeting after the July 4th holiday with Dwyane Wade— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2016
The belief leaguewide remains that Miami and Wade find a resolution, like they always do, but the Nuggets and Bucks are still hanging around— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) July 4, 2016
League source: Dwyane Wade becoming a Milwaukee Buck is "real" possibility.— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) July 3, 2016
We go deeper into the Wade story in our latest podcast below, which also features extended discussion of the two guys the Bucks are expected to sign (Mirza Teletovic and the surprisingly polarizing Matthew Dellavedova):
For what it's worth, I'd speculate that this is still just a leverage play from Wade's camp. As the most important player in Heat franchise history, the 34-year-old Wade is more than deserving of one last big contract from Miami, especially after watching him nearly carry the Heat to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance this past spring. However, Pat Riley also knows that Wade wants to stay in Miami and that it doesn't really make sense for another franchise to pony up for a deal that in many ways could end up being more of a lifetime achievement award than anything else (rule of thumb: let the team where a guy actually achieved stuff pay for that, OK?).
As a result, Riley has been able to keep Wade on ice as he pursued first Hassan Whiteside and then Kevin Durant, a tactic that predictably hasn't gone over well with Wade. The longshot pursuit of Durant will likely end today, however, at which point the Heat will have enough room to pay Wade roughly a $20 million starting salary, and another $5 million or so if they can dump Josh McRoberts' salary. Meanwhile, the Bucks will ironically be unable to offer more than $10-11 million unless and until they find a way to dump Greg Monroe's salary. Interestingly, the complexities of the NBA's over-36 rule mean that Wade is effectively limited to signing no more than a three-year deal with any team, which is relevant for a team like the Bucks that will be in luxury tax territory if they sign Wade for more than two years.
Still, the Bucks might deem Wade's age, fit and payroll issues secondary to the general wow factor of landing one of the league's most dominant players of the past two decades, and they could spare themselves almost certain luxury tax issues in 18/19 by simply offering Wade a monster deal that's only one or two years in length -- even two years, $55 million wouldn't cause the Bucks' long-term tax issues. Odds are they won't be given the option, but at least we'll have something to entertain us this week.
620 WTMJ: Frank talks Bucks free agency
For an abridged version of the free agency discussion, you can also check out my interview from Sunday with Justin Garcia on 620 WTMJ:
Doolittle: What does Matthew Dellavedova deal mean for Bucks, Cavaliers? | ESPN Insider
ESPN's Bradford Doolittle looks at the pluses and minuses of the Delly deal.
Dellavedova is a career 40-percent 3-point shooter and last season ranked in the 96th percentile (top 5 percent) on catch-and-shoot opportunities, according to Synergy, with a 66.4 effective field-goal percentage on those looks. The Bucks made the fewest 3-pointers in the league last season and had a putrid 48.4 effective field-goal percentage on catch-and-shoots.
Giannis, Greece begin Olympic qualification tounament today | FIBA
Hey, it's actual basketball! Giannis Antetokounmpo's Greek team begins Olympic qualifying today vs. Iran at 11 am CT, followed by their second (and final) group game vs. Mexico on Wednesday at the same time. They would then need to win in the semis and finals in Italy to qualify for the Rio games in August, with Croatia and the host Italians their biggest threats in the elimination rounds. Alex Boeder has a full breakdown over at Bucks.com.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world in the Philippines, Tyler Ennis will be trying to turn a similar trick for Canada, which begins its qualifying tournament at 5:30 am on Tuesday.