My autocorrect never figured out Mamadi. It always switched it to Maradi, which is a city in Niger. I don’t have a segue for this, but the breaking news of the day is that Mamadi Diakite has been waived by the Milwaukee Bucks.
Diakite, 24, was a four-year player (and redshirt freshman) at the University of Virginia, playing an integral role in their 2019 NCAA Championship. He signed a two-way deal with the Bucks last season, which was later converted to a “multi-year” standard contract...with significant non-guarantees. In fact, the Bucks are out only $100K since they cut Diakite loose before December 15, freeing him up to seek a training camp deal elsewhere in the NBA...or a more lucrative contract outside of it.
So why did Diakite end up on the outside looking in, and why now? Well, as our Ranking The Roster series illustrated...he’s not very good. Well, that’s unfair, but he’s not “NBA good,” mostly because of his lack of size and strength at a position where size and strength are fairly important. Mamadi can play, but his limitations affect his ability to tap into any potential on both sides of the ball, and the Bucks were already one roster spot over the regular season limit, which they don’t have to reach until the end of preseason. But Milwaukee’s staff has likely seen everything they need to from Diakite, and it’s probably a better use of resources to take a look at someone else, even if only for a month or so.
The last question (for now) is then why Diakite was cut instead of Elijah Bryant, who is fully non-guaranteed until December 15 (where his guaranteed salary escalates to $500K). Do the Bucks intend on keeping Bryant over Diakite, which would be a questionable value judgement? In all likelihood, the odds are that the answer is a simple “no.” Cutting Diakite and Bryant is a perfectly reasonable scenario, allowing the Bucks to carry one open roster spot into the season to provide flexibility for tertiary trades and/or the midseason buyout market. At least now Diakite can go pursue other options that might allow him to remain in the NBA; Bryant will probably not be afforded the same opportunity.
So for now, we say farewell to Mamadi Diakite, who was unlikely to ever reach the sky-high potential that his supporters claimed he would if only he was given a chance. Breathing a huge sigh of relief is Brook Lopez, who at least now can stop sweating the innumerable trade proposals lobbed to and fro on social media by the #FreeMamadi movement.
You’re free now, Mamadi. Good luck.