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Jordan Nwora Expected to Return To Bucks, Join Wing Rotation (Update: It’s Official)

The third year forward was a restricted free agent all offseason.

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NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Milwaukee Bucks Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Editor’s Note: shortly after this post was published, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Bucks and Jordan Nwora landed on a deal. I’ll append that to the bottom of this post.

The chatter about the open roster spot on the Milwaukee Bucks bench had reached a fever pitch last week. Sure, it was with only about thirty people, but as the deadline for Jordan Nwora’s qualifying offer from the team came and (seemingly) passed, the dozens of fans clamoring for the situation to be resolved had their wishes answered during Bucks Media Day.

It’s not a press release, but it’s general manager Jon Horst saying in no uncertain terms that they’re working to finalize a deal to retain Jordan Nwora on the Bucks bench.

Nwora’s imminent return is, by itself, not a terribly remarkable event. He is yet another holdover from this past season; Milwaukee’s training camp roster already contains a whopping four (out of nineteen) players who were not a part of the Bucks franchise in recent months. Those four newcomers are Joe Ingles, MarJon Beauchamp, A.J. Green (who’s on a two-way deal), and the newly signed Marques Bolden (who’s on an Exhibit 10 deal, likely just through training camp). Everyone else has been here, and most of them have been here for a while.

While the roster might benefit from continuity, the Bucks’ wing rotation will not, at least at the outset of the season. Khris Middleton is not expecting to be available when the season kicks off later in October, and Joe Ingles won’t be ready until at least December, probably January. That’s a lot of wing minutes to fill, and Nwora’s prospective return gives the Bucks another candidate for them. Of course Mike Budenholzer (who had an ankle replaced!) has some other options, like Pat Connaughton, Wes Matthews, and Grayson Allen, but all of these players were already expected to have a part in the rotation.

During Khris’ (hopefully short) absence, the available wing minutes are going to come down to who has a better camp: Nwora or first round rookie MarJon Beauchamp. We don’t know the details of Nwora’s contract, but it’s safe to say right now that Beauchamp’s long-term prospects at remaining in Milwaukee are stronger than Jordan’s. Is there anything that the offensively-gifted Nwora can do to even those odds, or is MarJon’s considerable advantage as a defender going to make this extension of Nwora’s tenure short-lived?

It’s too tough to say right now how things will go, but one thing’s for certain: it’s nice to have actual Bucks basketball topics to discuss again.

UPDATE: It’s official, Nwora’s all the way back.

Entering his third year, Nwora’s new 2 year/$6.2 million contract will pay him over two-and-a-half times what he earned in his rookie and sophomore campaigns (a total of $2.4 million). It’s not, as the kids would say, “a bag” but it’s a decent deal for an unproven player with (perceived) limited upside. Until he can capitalize on his scoring talent or shore up his defensive deficiencies, Nwora’s NBA path will have limited options, but for now it seems that the Bucks are interested in keeping him around...and at a level that doesn’t put too big of a dent in their coffers.