I’ve spent the past week in NY and returned to find things eerily similar in Buckland as when I left. We’re still talking about the Knicks getting closer to making an offer to Ramon Sessions. Bruce Bowen is still a Buck (though maybe not past today) and Dan Gadzuric is probably still shooting jumpers that he has no business shooting. But it’s possible that things could be changing in a hurry.
- Marc Stein is reporting that the Knicks are finalizing an offer sheet for Sessions. Word is the Bucks will not make matching a lucrative offer to Sessions a priority (no surprise there) but focus on newly unrestricted free agent Hakim Warrick formerly of Memphis. The Bucks would be competing with Cleveland and Philadelphia to win the heart of Warrick writes Stein. Warrick’s qualifying offer from the Grizzlies was rescinded last week.
Terms of the proposed deal were not immediately available, but NBA front-office sources told ESPN.com that the Bucks were indeed bracing for the offer sheet and also more likely to pool the free-agent cash they’re prepared to spend this summer to try to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers to the signature of athletic power forward Hakim Warrick rather than matching what’s coming to Sessions from the Knicks.
One trusted source insists that the Knicks believe they can extend Sessions far enough to dissuade Milwaukee from matching but without affecting their well-chronicled strategy to leave enough salary-cap space to recruit one maximum-salaried free agent in the summer of 2010. An offer sheet to a restricted free agent must be for at least two years, but it remains unclear how much of New York’s $5.9 million mid-level exception Sessions would receive.
- David Aldridge basically echoes what Marc Stein is hearing in regards to the Knicks and Sessions. The very second Sessions signs an offer sheet with the Knicks (or Clippers for that matter) the whole prospect of a sign and trade is off the table, though I doubt the Bucks would cry over that. The Knicks have virtually nothing to offer, as they have no interest in taking back salary that is not expiring next year and have few players that are young and/or cheap.
- 3 Shades of Blue has some info on just why Warrick’s offer was rescinded so far into free agency. Surely you remember that the Bucks made a similar decision with Charlie Villanueva, only much sooner. It generally doesn’t sound like it’s necessarily because the Grizz don’t think Warrick can play, but more along the lines of they want to have flexibility. Flexibility has suddenly become as important in the NBA as it is in gymnastics. Warrick seems to be the exact kind of player the Bucks have been targeting this entire off-season: one-year-deal kind of guy, athletic, relatively young with upside and capable of thriving (by thriving I guess I mean doing okay) in an up-tempo offense. Whether he lands with the Bucks or not, get ready to see a much faster Bucks team than we’ve seen in the past few years ladies and gentlemen.
- Saturday is the day when we found out about Bruce Bowen’s future. If the Bucks are very confident they can trade him, I’d expect he does not get released, that way the Bucks save $4 million as opposed to the $2 million they’d save by merely releasing him. There have been persistent rumblings that the Celtics are interested in Bowen to be the wing defender and corner three-point shooter they’ve lacked since James Posey left before last season. From Hoopsworld:
The Bucks have been aggressively shopping Bowen trying to unload his contract before Saturday’s deadline to guarantee. The Boston Celtics are rumored to have more than a passing interest in Bowen should he be waived by the Bucks, although sources close to the situation say Bowen might opt to return to San Antonio if he gains his release.
- I’d also like to point out that while I was in NY I happened to be walking through Times Square only to see a sports ticker on one of the buildings there (was likely a sports related one). Anyway, I’m checking it out seeing what’s going on for the day as I had relatively limited internet access only to see across the ticker: Jennings signs with Bucks. Yes, news that Brandon Jennings contract had been officially signed was flashing across the ticker in NY. You think that happened last year when Joe Alexander inked his deal? I don’t. Another reason to love Brandon Jennings.
- Again at Hoopsworld there is a relatively rosy piece on the current state of the Milwaukee Bucks.