The Milwaukee Bucks took care of business with a big win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, and the team decided to put in the final dagger via Twitter.
Milwaukee won 111-104 to improve to an NBA-best 25-4, while the Lakers are now 24-5. The two teams are the best in the league this season by record, but that didn’t stop the Bucks from trolling the Lakers after the win.
Milwaukee shared a screenshot of an October tweet from the Lakers that bragged about winning a preseason game over the Warriors. The Lakers said in that early-October tweet that the league should be warned that they would be a threat. The Bucks then included a burn over that screenshot, saying:
“Was this just for preseason? Asking for a friend.”
Was this just for preseason?
Asking for a friend. pic.twitter.com/JgRVg4itWe
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) December 20, 2019
The Bucks better hope that tweet doesn’t come back to bite them. If I were the Lakers, I’d start preparing a followup tweet in case the purple and gold beat the Bucks in the NBA Finals. Between this and what Giannis Antetokounmpo did during the game, the Bucks were definitely celebrating the victory.
- Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks have every intention of paying Giannis Antetokounmpo as much money as they possibly can to convince him to finish his career with the team, but apparently they are not allowed to say that publicly.
On Tuesday, the NBA announced that the Bucks have been fined $50,000 for comments general manager John Hurst made about the team’s plan to offer Giannis a super-max contract extension next summer. NBA rules state that they are not allowed to talk publicly about that yet, even though Antetokounmpo is their own player.
Fine is in response to Bucks GM Jon Horst recently saying Giannis Antetokounmpo will be offered the five-year, nearly $250M supermax next summer when he is eligible for extension. https://t.co/tUR7nIKXk7
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 24, 2019
That seems a bit absurd.
The NBA recently took steps toward penalizing teams more severely if they are found guilty of tampering, but tampering almost always involves talking about a player who is under contract with another team. Giannis is one of the best players in the NBA, and contract rules are designed to give the Bucks the advantage in re-signing him before or when he becomes a free agent. They shouldn’t be fined for stating the obvious.
For what it’s worth, Giannis has hinted that he may accept the insane max extension the Bucks will be eligible to offer him after next season.
After a successful BIG3 campaign, Joe Johnson is eyeing a route back to the NBA.
According to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, Johnson is set to visit the Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, and Brooklyn Nets next week in a bid to return to the league.
Story filed to ESPN to go up shortly: Joe Johnson, fresh off an MVP and championship trophy in the BIG3, will travel to Detroit, Milwaukee and Brooklyn for workouts next week to try to get back into the league, sources told ESPN.
— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) September 2, 2019
Johnson last played in the NBA in 2017-18, when he split the season between the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets. He featured in the BIG3 league this season, where he was a massive success, winning a league title and an MVP award.
The 38-year-old, who has been linked with an NBA return for a while, would be the first major figure to parlay BIG3 success into another NBA opportunity.
Kyle Korver will be lurking on the perimeter in support of a new NBA superstar this season.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Saturday that Korver has agreed to a one-year deal to join the Milwaukee Bucks, reuniting him with Mike Budenholzer, who coached him with the Atlanta Hawks.
Free agent Kyle Korver has agreed to a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, agent Jeff Schwartz of @excelsm tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 20, 2019
Korver had a tough decision between Sixers and Bucks but relationship and history with Mike Budenholzer certainly played a major factor in Korver’s choice. https://t.co/94WinjWJ38
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 20, 2019
Korver will provide perimeter firepower around Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose outside shot is still very much a work in progress. He had been previously linked to the Los Angeles Lakers, partially due to his experience playing with LeBron James.
Korver is a career 42.9 percent three-point shooter. The 38-year-old shot 46.7 percent last year, averaging 8.6 points per game as he split the season between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz.
JR Smith was waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers this week after they were unable to find a trade suitor for him, and the veteran swingman is already drawing interest from at least one team.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Smith was scheduled to meet with the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday.
JR Smith will have a free-agent meeting with the Bucks today in Milwaukee, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Bucks are searching for a wing shooter and both sides will have opportunity to sit down.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 18, 2019
As Charania notes, the Bucks are in search of a perimeter shooter. That is Smith’s specialty, though he appeared in just 11 games for the Cavs last season and shot 30.8 percent from three-point range, which was his lowest mark since his rookie year.
Smith did what he could to help facilitate a trade, but no team was interested in giving up anything for him. There had been some talk that he could reunite with LeBron James by joining the Los Angeles Lakers, though that is reportedly not likely.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will be eligible to sign the richest contract in NBA history next summer, and it sounds like he is planning to do just that if the Milwaukee Bucks make the offer and the team remains competitive.
ESPN’s Malika Andrews reported during the playoffs back in May that Giannis may be convinced to sign a contract extension next year if the Bucks make it to the NBA Finals. While speaking with ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk at the PUBG MOBILE Team Up Superstar Showdown event over the weekend, Antetokounmpo seemed to indicate that is accurate. The reigning MVP said his ultimate goal is to win a championship, and he fully intends to remain with the Bucks as long as they share that same level of commitment.
“As long as that we are all on the same page and we are all focused on that goal, why not play for the Bucks 20 years, why not play 25 years?” he asked. “Why not, after playing, be a member of the coaching staff or a member of the front office? But we got to have the same goal. We got to have the same principles. … We got to focus on winning a championship.”
Giannis reiterated that he wants to be part of a winning team, and he said he would love to take the same career path as superstars like Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan if the Bucks find sustained success.
“As long as we have the same mindset and same approach to the game, there’s no reason for me to move and not be like Steph [Curry], not like be like Dirk [Nowitzki] or Kobe [Bryant] or Tim Duncan,” he added.
The contract Antetokounmpo will be eligible to sign next summer has some truly eye-popping figures, but he has the potential to own the NBA after LeBron James retires. The supermax exists to give teams like the Bucks a chance to keep their star players, and it may end up working the way it is intended to in this instance.
The Milwaukee Bucks are, at least for now, parting ways with guard George Hill.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Bucks have waived Hill, and he will become a free agent. They are interested in retaining the guard, but he is expected to be hotly pursued by multiple teams.
Milwaukee guard George Hill will be waived and become a free agent, league sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. Hill had a terrific finish to the season and will be a sought-after combo guard on the market. Bucks are working to find space to re-sign Hill, too.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 28, 2019
Hill played a valuable reserve role for Milwaukee last year. He really came into his own during the playoffs, where he averaged 11.5 points per game off the bench while shooting 41.7 percent from three-point range.
The Bucks are facing some salary cap issues that could also cost them some other key players. They’ll try to retain Hill, but multiple teams are going to be pursuing him.