Update: Bucks close to waiving Wolters and signing Martin to 10-day contract

UPDATE: Gery Woelfel and Adrian Wojnarowski are reporting that Nate Wolters will be waived.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Milwaukee Bucks are close to signing Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract:

The Milwaukee Bucks are signing former All-Star power forward Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract, according to league sources.

Sources told ESPN.com that the Bucks have committed to add Martin to their roster this week, perhaps as early as Thursday, after letting a player go to open up a spot.

This news has been expected, and it seemed even more likely this week than it was last week when Jason Kidd first met with Kenyon Martin. Since then, Ersan Ilyasova has missed more games with a concussion and the flu that was keeping Larry Sanders out of the lineup turned into personal issues that have him out indefinitely. There’s no firm timetable for either of them to return.

We’ve also learned that, in addition to Jabari Parker, Damien Inglis will be out for the rest of the season as well. So Milwaukee’s down four members of its front court and only one, Ilyasova, seems at all likely returning in the next 10 days. So Martin’s addition makes sense on a very practical level.

But the Bucks have 15 players on the roster. As noted, Milwaukee’s battling some injuries though, so do they qualify for a roster exemption? Here’s a great breakdown on the idea of a roster exemption from Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:

What is a hardship exception?

It’s a temporary roster spot that must be granted by the league. It allows a team to exceed the 15-man maximum roster when it has at least four players who are sick or injured for longer than two weeks. Each of the four sick or injured players must miss at least three consecutive games during their two-week absence. An independent physician, not the team’s doctor, must decide whether each player is required to miss two weeks.

Given the sensitivity and difficulty of the Sanders situation and the possibility that Ilyasova may be able to return soon, it’s unclear that Milwaukee would be eligible. Given the language Stein uses above about letting a player go, it sounds like the league won’t be so generous as to gift Milwaukee another roster spot.

Absent an exemption, Milwaukee would need to clear a spot for Martin. How? A 2-for-1 trade would do it, as would a player-for-pick trade, but it sounds like Stein’s intel says Milwaukee will be releasing a player. The most likely candidates? Johnny O’Bryant comes to mind, as does Nate Wolters. Both have playd sporadic minutes, though O’Bryant has been starting out of necessity lately. Wolters seems worlds more polished and skilled than O’Bryant, but Milwaukee has a bit more depth at the guard position.

A release of a member of Milwaukee’s more regular rotation would be a surprise.

If Milwaukee’s going to release a guy with a future of some sort, it would be strange if Martin only stuck around for 10 days. No, they wouldn’t be sacrificing a significant building block, but Wolters and O’Bryant are young enough to still make an impact at some point. To dispose of a player like that for only 10 days of Martin seems curious. I’d expect Milwaukee, if pleased with his play, to look at investing in Martin for the rest of the season after a 10 day contract or two in the event they sacrifice a piece to bring him on.

Categories: Fringe Players



  1. I would say I’m going to miss the Jackrabbit but you’d have to see him to miss him. Still though, he’s done everything anyone’s ever asked of him.

  2. Dislike. Let’s say Martin is wildly successful in Milwaukee, and bumps them up 3-4 games in the final standings.

    How is that worth giving up one of their young players? How is that better than continuing to give those minutes to O’Bryant, and seeing if he starts to develop into anything?

  3. Strongly against this move.

    Wolters hasn’t been playing much this season which has been pretty disappointing. But this is exactly the type of move we weren’t supposed to be making. This was the type of move that would be made during the Herb Kohl era, not the Lasry and Edens era. Yet here we are.

    Even if it makes sense on paper, it doesn’t sit right with me dropping a 23 year old who at the very least is polished and ready to contribute off the bench with room for improvement, for a 37 year old who may have little to nothing left in the tank.

  4. This is really and truly scary, bordering on sickening.

    Just how formerly has it been since Kenyon was an all-star?

    Would we really give up on Johnny O’Bryant already? Plus, I’d really like to give Nate more of a chance, especially over one of our vets. The O.J./Jared/Jerryd ensemble really eats up a lot of minutes; are any of them in the long term future for the Bucks?

    A guy who seems to have been playing really poorly for two months now is O.J. — at least that is true of his shooting, and my impression is that his overall game hasn’t been jaw-droppingly stellar. I’m all for giving a player a chance to work his way through a slump, but that would apply much more to younger players, or veterans with a long track record of contributing substantially to a team. Plus, even if O.J. was lighting it up, I’m still wary of taking too many minutes away from younger guys like Khris and Kendall and Nate — unless O.J. is seen as a fixture on the Bucks for years to come.

    Are we heading back to the 2012-13 Bucks? — 8th seed or bust? — or maybe if we sacrifice the future by dumping or diminishing a young player like Tobias, a 6th seed, possibly? If we’re so thin on the frontcourt — which seems to be the case — why still so stingy with John Henson’s minutes? If we need to make changes, let’s do it right, and go with youth, or at least veterans who might be around for a few years.

    Bucksketball is an excellent site, but the one thing I’d would personally like to see is more opinion from contributors and fans. I’d like to read a lot of comments about why this is a really good thing, if it’s not instead a really bad thing. Either way, or in between, I’d like to know what others think.

    My guiding message for comments would be: Respect authority, but question it!

    • I definitely see where you’re coming from and I’ve had thoughts that this team truly isn’t “Owning the Future,” especially since Jabari going down but the biggest difference between where this team is now to the “8th seed or Bust” 2012-2013 Bucks team is Kidd. He has the team’s respect, he’s getting the best out of a lot of guys that were buried in their other previous team’s rotations and most importantly, is creating a true team atmosphere. The end of that 2012-2013 Bucks team was just a disaster and honestly, if it wasn’t for last year, it would have been tied for the lowest point of the franchise (I wouldn’t argue against the Gary Payton/Ray Allen fiasco as being a lower point). The last 2 months, starting with the Harris for Redick trade, then finishing the season 6-14 in their last 20 games and finishing the season/playoffs by getting shut out by the Heat (expectedly, also don’t forgot an incredibly toxic locker room situation and the abomination known as #Bucksin6). Everyone on that team (players and coaches) ran as far as they could from Milwaukee, as they should of, and the Bucks ended up only having 4 players from that team the start of the next season. The 8th seed or bust 2012-2013 Bucks team was not a team. The whole year was handled at best mediocre and we ended turning some of those mistakes into something more intriguing and refreshing to see (Jennings for Knight/Middleton was a win, no doubt). I know signing Martin isn’t a “Own The Future” type move, but what he can give to this team right now (i.e. rebounding, low post offense/defense) is exactly what this team needs right now and unfortunately what Wolters can give to this team right now, as much as I like him, is already being delivered by players who do it better (Marshall, Bayless, Knight). This team has a lot of big decisions coming in the next few months, like Knight, Middleton, Ersan (maybe, because we all know how that goes) and Larry, and where this team is now compared to where the 2012-2013 Bucks team was is day and night.

      • This is good commentary, Jordan, but remember that Scott Skiles was looking pretty good during the season of Fear the Deer; it was this same coach and one of his assistants who presided over the miserable 2012-13 season you assess so compellingly in your posting.

        We can applaud Jason Kidd for the team’s early success, and yet still question him and express our concerns in a very passionate way. Even our success this season — with impressive wins over the Clippers, Hawks and Suns — is still resulting in a fifty-fifty team, and with more than half of the winning fifty (I’m guessing) coming over a truly embarrassing Eastern Conference, and lesser teams from the Western Conference.

        I don’t know the proportion, but my hunch is that a great part of Jason Kidd’s early success has to due with having an extraordinarily bright and selfless core of young players — players who could easily be lost due to mismanagement. That doesn’t mean Jason Kidd doesn’t deserve a lot of credit, or that he won’t be successful over the long term, but I’m not ready to acclaim him a coaching genius for awhile yet.

        To me, at least, there are some troubling undercurrents with the Bucks that began with the way Kidd came to the team, but go well beyond that into his handling of the players so far this season. Plus, with this Kenyon Martin situation, one wonders who is calling the shots as far as personnel, and whether the inexperienced Kidd is pretty much an absolute ruler for the Bucks, whether benevolent or not.

        • It’s hard to compare Skiles to Kidd, however. Skiles is undoubtedly a good coach, but he also had a major tendency to piss off the team, similar to how he did in Chicago, and his rotations were even more damning as far as preferring veterans over youth even when the youth was arguably more productive.

          You are very much correct in regards to not being too quick to praise him given how little of a sample size we have to work with. As it stands, while his rotations have some head-scratchers, he has done well this season and been willing to play some very creative lineups with varying degrees of success.

        • I totally agree with everything you’ve said. I do worry that Kidd may have a trajectory like Skiles (getting the best out of his players early on/peaking early to eventually getting run out of town because grow tired of his philosophy and don’t buy in to the team) coaching-wise, but that remains to be seen. You can argue that he’s already done that with what happened to him in Brooklyn, but poor team decisions prior to him becoming head coach and having to deal with unreasonable expectations definitely clouded his brief tenure there. What happens with the team while he’s the coach down the road, obviously remains to be seen, but what he’s done with this team, with no clear cut star/alpha dog with a similar set of circumstances that we had to deal with last year (i.e. injuries, Larry’s off the court issues) has been incredibly encouraging to see at this point of the season.

          Where I do have some concern, like you said, is personnel decisions and who is running the big picture. With long-term future decisions looming over the team in the near future, his say/influence is a little muddled based on the inexperience he has in this situation, considering he left Brooklyn after 1 year. I will say inexperience doesn’t mean he won’t do the right thing, but it just raises questions on how will handle things. He definitely has a bigger say than advertised, not saying coaches don’t have a say in personnel decisions, but he seems to have a big say, especially with how he got here.

          I guess there’s no concrete answer just yet, and I personally am fine with that, but I could also see how that may be troubling to some people. Yes, I won’t disagree there are some signs that the 8th seed or bust days (6th seed or bust in this case) may not be over, but the signs are more encouraging to where we were a couple of years ago. (P.S. I could always change my tune if Martin takes away big minutes from Giannis or Henson, and/or another short-sighted trade to fuel a short run in the playoffs)

  5. TheLastoftheBucksFans

    People are way too upset over us losing our 4th string point guard. I like Nate as much as anyone, but come on.

    The direction of the team can be seen as bad at the moment…true. I like the way the team is going with Kidd though. He is nothing like Skiles, and thus should not be compared to him. The situations of the two are so different. Skiles’ teams had poor chemistry, poor leadership, selfish players, and no real direction. This team is basically the opposite of all that. As Rodgers said:


    • Couldn’t have said it better. Was Nate ever part of this teams plan for the future? Absolutely not. His ceiling is a back up PG on a mediocre team in my opinion due to his limitations both physically and with his skill level. The Bucks are missing 4 players up front and JOB is clearly not ready and its more prevalent with every game he plays. This move isn’t going to kill our future by any means. Everyone needs to calm down.

  6. Wolters gets too much love for a guy who couldn’t shoot the three, and really looked subpar in every other aspect. His defense was questionable and he doesn’t seem to have any upside. He seemed like a nice guy so good luck to him, but I’m not sorry to see him go.

  7. Like most I don’t like the move because as a general principle, it doesn’t make sense for a non-contending team to get rid of a cheap young guy with some upside to sign a washed up veteran who fills a short-term need, when filling the short-term need doesn’t actually mean anything other than a game or two in the standings during the regular season. Also, I can see the Cavs signing Wolters since he is an upgrade over the woeful Dellavadova, and so if the idea is that Kidd wants to make the playoffs and win every game possible to get the highest seed, I would think helping the team you are directly fighting in the standings seems like an odd thing to do. But I guess in the grand scheme of things having or not having Wolters is not a big deal, and so once you stop hating this move for the principle of the thing, it’s nothing to get worked up about. But I do hate the move on principle.

  8. not sure what to think to be honest. was kinda hoping we could avoid dumping a player to add martin. if you have to dump a player tho i would go with wolters over o’bryant due to the fact that nate has gotten on the court time and has shown he can play but hes overall an average player. o’bryant still has an opportunity to learn and improve and we clearly have more of a need for big men than smalls. on the positive end of this move tho bringing martin on as a player/coach is not the worst move we could make. its another skilled player (even if past his prim) to help teach and develop the abundance of young talent we have on this roster. i hope it pans out. here’s to hoping…

  9. Ok some interesting comments here. I like and dont like the move… I like picking up K mart because he’s a former all star who played with KIDD…. Now dumping Wolters I think was unessesary! He’s way more valuable than Inglis… Inglis is hurt and proabally wont get any time this year… At least we could have gotten a 2nd for him!!!
    I do totally agree with Swisch with his John Henson comment!!! He deserves at least 25 minutes a night after his breakout ’13-’14season!!!! Now , we do have a lots of options of playable players, but our rotation is very head-scratching!!! J O’Bryant is possibly a future assit but Henson should be getting his minutes!!!! Also, dont forget about Sanders, which complicates the rotation even more!!! If we do start K Mart, I think he only gets about 20 min a game. I think he comes off the bench for Defense!!! Anyways, its gonna be an interesting rest of the year!!!!

  10. I dont see this as a bad move at all…….. I mean, what are we REALLY sacrificing? ……. had wolters been the #2 or#3 PG there may be a point to keeping him, but he’s had ample opportunity to develop his game. Look at the minutes he got last year and the team still opted to bring in 3 more guards in the offseason, that should tell you from a basketball management standpoint what they really thought of wolters as a player.
    2 things to keep in mind…… 1 martin may not pan out which puts them in a position to find a younger vet who could do more for the team, or give the team the opportunity to bring back wolters. What team is starved enough for mediocre guard play to pick up wolters in 10 days?
    2 martin does pan out and becomes the player/coach kind of guy that can really help kidd with communicating with a young team.

    either way martin is not a part of the bucks long term future unless they choose to bring him on as a coach.

    If this team had the look of dysfunction of the teams under skiles (say what you will, even the fear the deer team had major communication issues), I would be more worried. I just dont see that dysfunction with this team, and i see FAR more effort out of each player than anything ive seen in the last ten years on a bucks squad.

    So Im in the plus side on this one.