Buck hits: Bucks name new CFO, investors are divulged and Jerryd Bayless is around


According to a report from the Milwaukee Business Journal, new Bucks owners Marc Lasry and Wes Edens have sold $84.5 million to various local minority investors.

The investors, whose names were not previously disclosed, include six Milwaukee-area businessmen:

The biggest name disclosed so far, as far as Milwaukee-area business assets, is Ted Kellner, the executive chairman of both Fiduciary Management Inc. and Fiduciary Real Estate Development. The next-biggest name is Keith Mardak, CEO and chairman of Hal Leonard Corp., a Milwaukee sheet-music and online-music publisher.

The other four minority investors disclosed so far are: Milwaukee Brewers executive Teddy Werner, Milwaukee media and marketing executive Craig Karmazin, Kapco Inc. president and Lakeshore Chinooks owner Jim Kacmarcik, and Mike Kocourek, who lives in Lake Geneva where he owns and operates a commercial real estate portfolio.

To accommodate the new investors, Lasry and Edens recently founded a corporation, aptly named Fear The Deer LLC, which serves as the “holding entity for the capital raised outside of the principal investors,” per the report.

The NBA was believed to require a minimum $5 million commitment from new shareholders, though Lasry indicated last month that some investors could be let in for less.

The Bucks also made some notable organizational changes recently. Patrick McDonough, longtime New York Knicks/MSG executive, will take over as CFO, while Bob Cook, the former vice president at HNTB Corporation, will serve as VP of Business Affairs. Per the Bucks’ official release:

Prior to joining the Bucks, Cook served as a vice president at HNTB Corporation, a national engineering and architecture company specializing in complex transportation projects and sports venues. At HNTB, Cook was based in Wisconsin’s state capital and brings with him a wealth of relationships in government, policy and statewide community organizations that will allow the Bucks brand to elevate beyond the Milwaukee city limits to become a respected name across the state and a true partner in both local and statewide economic revitalization.

So yeah, Cook brings a ton of extremely useful experience and connections to the front office. As far as the arena process is concerned, having him on board is massive. I’m not going to lie and say I know much more about Cook, but if nothing else he’ll be a strong presence to assist in leading the fund-raising campaign, as well as designing and managing arena costs.

Along with the additions of McDonough and Cook, the Bucks also assigned veteran executive John Steinmiller to a new role as Executive Vice President of Community Affairs and Social Responsibility. Beginning his 45th year with the franchise, Steinmiller will “reinforce the team’s commitment to the region through the planning and implementation of team and league-wide initiatives,” according to the release. “He will also lend his years of experience to assist Lasry and Edens in their efforts to engage as new members of the community.”

Bucks Sign Jerryd Bayless, Finally

The Bucks ended their standoff with Jerryd Bayless on Thursday, officially signing the guard to a contract. The terms of the deal have not been released.

The signing comes more than two weeks after the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Bayless was “closing in” on a deal with Milwaukee. That report indicated Bayless would receive a two-year deal with a total value of $6-to-$7 million. Now, whether those figures are accurate is anyone’s guess at this point, but a $3-to-$4 million annual price tag seems about right. Bayless’ previous deal paid him $6.135 million over two years.

The 25-year-old, who split last season between the Grizzlies and Celtics, will join his seventh team in as many NBA seasons. He arrived in Boston in January as part of a three-team deal that delivered Courtney Lee to Memphis. After averaging 8.1 points on just 37.7 percent shooting with the Grizzlies, Bayless’ production improved to 10.1 points on 41.8 percent shooting (39.5% 3PT) as a member of the Celtics.

A true combo guard, Bayless should see plenty of minutes at both backcourt spots this season. His position has been fluid throughout his career. As we noted previously, he’s had more success at the shooting guard position. But, at 6-foot-3, he’s the size of a point guard.

Last season was a prime example of his fluidity: In Memphis, Bayless spent 61 percent of his minutes at the point. In Boston? 25 percent. And as the chart below demonstrates, it was by no means an anomaly.


Bayless brings much-needed versatility to a Bucks’ backcourt filled with unknowns. Brandon Knight experienced relative success as a shoot-first point guard last season, but it remains to be seen whether that will be his long-term positional fit. He’s expected to be the starter again this season, meaning Bayless will compete with O.J. Mayo and Carlos Delfino (yes, he still plays for the Bucks) for the starting shooting guard spot. Chances are, Giannis Antetokounmpo will work his way into the backcourt rotation as well.

Even with Knight slated to start, pairing him in lineups with Bayless – or fellow recent-signee Kendall Marshall – would allow Knight to play off the ball, where he’s a more efficient outside shooter. Knight shot a career-worst 32 percent from three last season, due in large part to a high volume of pull-up attempts. Only 64.5 percent of Knight’s made threes resulted in an assist, compared to 89.2 percent two years ago with Detroit, when he converted nearly 37 percent of his attempts. It’s not a massive difference, shooting percentage-wise, but the numbers lend credence to the belief that both Knight and the Bucks could benefit by playing him off the ball more frequently.

The Bayless signing leaves the Bucks with 17 players currently under contract. That number is not likely to change prior to training camp, but the roster will have to be whittled down to 15 before the season begins. A multi-player trade centered around, say, Ersan Ilyasova could be one way to do so, but the chances of that happening appear slim-to-none at this point.

The more realistic scenario is the Bucks waiving two players. That means Chris Wright and his non-guaranteed deal are all but gone. The second move is more difficult to project, but Miroslav Raduljica comes to mind as a potential candidate to be waived. His deal is guaranteed for next season, but he’s owed only $1.5 million. 

Johnny O’Bryant Signs Rookie Deal

In addition to the Bayless signing, the Bucks also announced 36th overall pick Johnny O’Bryant signed his rookie contract, for which the terms were also not disclosed.

The former McDonald’s All-American was a three-year standout at LSU, twice earning All-SEC First Team honors. O’Bryant averaged 12.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 91 career games.

A 6-9 power forward, O’Bryant appeared in all five of Milwaukee’s Las Vegas Summer League contests, posting 8.2 points and 5.4 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game. While his inexperience was often on display, O’Bryant was comfortable around the rim and flashed an emerging mid-range game.

He’ll enter the season as Milwaukee’s fourth or fifth power forward – depending upon how you view Khris Middleton – likely seeing most of his rookie minutes in garbage time.

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  1. want to gag every time i hear some Bucks exec talk about Giannis playing guard. he’s 6’10. for God’s sake, stop complicating young Giannis’s learning curve. he’s a 3 or 4. Parker is a 3 or 4. interchangeable forwards playing 35 minutes a game.

    Middleton back-ups 3, and Henson backs-up 4.

    Inglis & O’Bryant are 3rd string forwards, but uneccesary. probably should have traded these 2 picks for a promising young shooting guard at mid/end of 1st round like Gary Harris, Jordan Adams, PJ Hairston, Bogdan Bogdanovic, CJ Wilcox.

    Ilyasova needs to be traded for a 2015 1st rd pick.

    • Complicating his learning curve? He has been a quick learner thus far. He is a natural ball handler not a post player. Just because he’s 6’10 (actually 6’11) doesn’t mean he can’t play guard. I don’t think he will ever end up at point guard (despite playing time at that position during summer ball) but I have no problem seeing Giannis playing the 2. I believe Giannis is more of a 2 or 3 rather than a 4.

      • He’ll probably end up primarily playing as a point forward at the 3 spot. It’ll help lessen the need for the Bucks to have a so-called “true” pass-first point guard to lead the team and create opportunities for players as Giannis will be that play-maker and hopefully grow into the role of floor general.

    • Ilyasova needs to be traded for a 2015 1st rd pick.

      I wish….think anyone gives that up though?

    • Giannis was 10th best player in summer league. should’ve been top 3. too much focus on guard, not enough on backing cuts, offensive rebounds. Giannis is a true 3. 4 when playing small-ball (ie Chris Bosh).

      If Hammond had a clue, Bucks could easily get 1st rd pick for Ilyasova, probably from playoff team looking for a stretch 4, so pick might be late in round 1. better than Hammond picking loads of 2nd rds, and keeping none because he signs mediocre veterans for too much money, for too long (Bayless, Delfino, Mayo, Pachulia) and there’s no roster spots to develop young players.

    • I think the current trend to downlplay the point guard position in the NBA will be regretted and reversed.

      I’m really high on Brandon Knight as a talented starter and possible all-star at shooting guard, especially if the Bucks solidly establish him without ambivalence at that position, which is much more natural for him.

      I think Kyrie Irving has much better skills at point than does Brandon, and yet even Kyrie should be shooting guard. I think a big reason the Cavs have floundered despite Kyrie’s excellence is that it’s difficult to have a primary scorer playing point — there’s just not enough ball movement, and it’s really not Kyrie’s fault (same situation with John Wall with the Wizards).

      Kendall Marshall is going to be really good if he continues to improve as an outside shooter and finisher at the rim, but remains a pass-first point who breaks down defenses off the dribble and mainly facilitates for others. He also has to really emphasize his defense with hustle and smarts, and get help from his coaches with team defensive schemes that minimize his weaknesses.

      I can live with the Bucks not showing the creative initiative to sign Scott Suggs as an outstanding three-point shooter and good all-around player — but not so much when they go the bland route and sign a mediocrity like Jerryd Bayless. At least they could have gone for another point guard with a savvy veteran somewhat like Andre Miller or Devin Harris.

      Finally, I agree that the new NBA generally requires players with multiple skills instead of just one or two specialties. That seems to be the lesson of the champion Spurs. However, it would be a mistake to conclude from this that a true point guard is unnecessary. As long as he’s at least respectable with his other skills, an outstanding floor-leader — who can help his teammates flourish on offense and stay motivated on defense — is an invaluable treasure.

  2. First of all, we have 3 PG’s!!! Giannis should play #1 point SF/#2 PF Henson is #1 PF… With our current roster, Ersan #2 PF (needs to be traded)!!!! This will free up minutes for Parker off the bench… I really like Middleton, but either he or Delfino will have to go with Ersan, unless we package Mayo with him to get a 1st and an Expiring contract!!! I would love to try to get J-Smooth or Monroe from Detroit, but im afraid its gonna cut into Parkers minutes!!!!

  3. All this talk of trades to improve the team, the only trade I see down the road is ilyasova to a contender, and dont expect much value back from that. I say that because due to how buried he is going to be on the depth chart at this point in time (barring a different trade), his value, by default, is lessened significantly.

    The problem here is the perception of the bucks at this point. Whether it be true or not, they are, at this point, not in the position to hold enough trade value to get someone good. Theres 2 bobble heads in the cupboard, and 3 bobble heads in the display case that are not going anywhere in the near-term. Everyone else on the roster in terms of trade value is trash, just fillers for deals, not centerpieces. That means trading for someone we could actually use is a tough proposition for any gm. This perception of the bucks also prohibits good FAs from landing here as well. Until the giannis/parker combo starts producing on the court in the NBA at a near all star level, dont expect the free agent moves and trades to produce much of anything. Temper your expectations of what is possible given the current environment of the team.