The Dallas Mavericks will be preparing to turn the page on a hoped-for pursuit of a top free-agent target in Khris Middleton as an NBA source close to the Middleton situation tells DBcom that the standout wing is planning to decline his player option and then re-sign with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Paul Henning: Bucks free agent, Khris Middleton, has reportedly moved into a new home in a Milwaukee area suburb. Have to think that bodes well for him resigning with Bucks when free agency opens on June 30th.
Matt Velazquez: Khris Middleton talked about having unfinished business with Giannis and the Bucks as a whole. Also said he learned a lot about how to take care of himself & approach FA from a few years ago. Says he will do what’s best for himself and his family — that’s the top priority.
Middleton is a free agent after the season, and the Bucks will make it a priority to keep him around. “It's rare to keep pieces together. Hopefully, we can make deep playoff runs and compete for championships together,” Middleton said.
League sources say that the Mavericks intend to fling themselves into the chase for Khris Middleton and/or Kemba Walker with gusto in hopes that they have a shot at one of them.
Middleton hopes so, and wants to stay. Milwaukee fits his low-key personality. "It has to be the right situation," he says. "But I feel like we have a team that can compete." He is fine with his role next to Antetokounmpo. "People expect us to be more buddy-buddy, but it's not like that," he says. "We're friends. We respect each other. We need each other."
I have yet to hear any credible suggestion that the Mavericks can get in the mix for the elite free agents such as Durant, Thompson and Kyrie Irving. But Middleton is an inevitable (and sensible) target.
Matt Velazquez: Khris Middleton was asked about his future postgame: “I’ll think about the summertime in the summertime. We have a lot more work to do, hopefully. The second half of the season is going to be tough. We’ve been playing great basketball, so that’s the only thing I’m worried about.”
Bledsoe is one of four Bucks’ starters who figure to be free agents this summer, the others being Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Brook Lopez. Like Bledsoe, the aforementioned trio of Bucks are all bound for pay raises. “It might have happened before but I don’t ever recall a team having four starting players hitting the free agent market in one summer,’’ a longtime NBA executive said. “I don’t know how they’re going to handle this; I know they’re struggling with it, too.’’
On the high end, Middleton’s 2019-2020 salary will well exceed that of superstar teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is on the books for $25.84 M next season. “He’s going to get the max,’’ an NBA general manager said last week about Middleton. The max? “The max,’’ the GM insisted.
The Bucks feel Middleton can fill that role and should he opt out to hit free agency, a Bucks official told Yahoo Sports: “We’re gonna do everything we can to keep him.” Half of the league will hit free agency in July, and Middleton will have plenty of suitors if he so chooses. “I feel like over the years we’re building something special here, so I feel like there will be an opportunity for me to be here and win at the same time,” Middleton said. “If I feel like I have a chance to win somewhere else and do better things, I’ll look into that.”
Those are star-quality numbers, and they’re the reason Middleton has max-deal buzz. There will be opportunities to explore — both the Lakers and Clippers, sources say, will have interest in Middleton, and he’ll have options with rebuilding teams such as New York, Dallas and Cleveland. Either way, Middleton will get something around a five-year, $190 million deal from Milwaukee, or a four-year, $140 million contract to sign elsewhere.
There’s still plenty of time, but here in the depths of the early season, Middleton is shaping up to be one of the most interesting players of next summer. It’s a forgone conclusion that Middleton will opt out, because he is slated to double his payday if he does. The Bucks, a source told Sporting News, are prepared for that reality and prepared to be aggressive when it comes to re-signing Middleton.
Middleton is not going to thump his chest over any of this speculation. That’s not his way. He’s got five months of season left, plus the playoffs, and after a wistful max-salary interlude, it does not take long for him to get back to speaking in bland platitudes. “I have always been the kind of guy who just takes it one day at a time,” Middleton told Sporting News. “Focus on what needs to be done that day. Don’t think too far ahead. Once you start thinking too far ahead, you get distracted by things that don’t matter on that day. So that doesn’t matter.”
Ken Berger: Khris Middleton and the Bucks have finalized their five-year, approximately $70 million deal, league source confirms.
Marc Stein: ESPN sources say Milwaukee and Khris Middleton are closing in on five-year, $70 million deal
Eric Pincus: The Milwaukee Bucks have given Khris Middleton a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent @BBallInsiders
August 14, 2022 | 3:06 am EDT Update
Brian Windhorst spent much of his Friday episode of “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast talking about Durant’s situation. Windhorst said he felt the Nets won the recent showdown between Durant and team owner Joe Tsai. But Windy doesn’t necessarily think that means all is over between the sides. In fact, Windhorst says he now could see a world where Durant holds out of training camp. “A week ago, if you had asked me, ‘Will Kevin Durant hold out of training camp if he is not traded?’ I would have been like, ‘eh, I can’t see it.’ Now I can see it. That is what we are headed towards,” Windhorst said.
Some analysts speculated that the Nets would play hardball with Durant. Brooklyn’s calculation would have depended upon Durant’s love of basketball. The thinking was that KD loves playing too much to sit out a season in order to get his way. Now Windhorst says he thinks a scenario of Durant sitting out could be on the table.
Longtime basketball writer Marc Stein reported on Saturday that a matchup between the Grizzlies and the rival Golden State Warriors is on the NBA’s preliminary schedule for the 2022-23 season. Morant, the Memphis star, responded to the news with some trash talk for Warriors counterpart Draymond Green. “we got what we wanted dray. @Money23Green,” Morant tweeted along with a photo of a heated moment he had on the court with Green last year. Green was actually fairly muted and deferential in his response to Morant, tweeting back, “That’s the power of your voice Young! Let’s gooooo! Bring the fam to the crib for dinner after.”
The lawsuit says that by sharing the photos, those involved — including the deputy at the bar and firefighters weeks later at an awards banquet — violated the victims’ families’ constitutional rights to control images of their loved ones’ remains. “Mrs. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child, and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online,” Bryant’s lawyers wrote in a complaint. “Many social media users have claimed to have seen photos of the victims’ remains, and their accounts are plausible given the number of deputies who took photos, the ease with which cellphone pictures are transmitted and saved in cloud storage, and the Sheriff’s Department’s egregious failure to take reasonable steps to prevent dissemination of the photos.”
Surveillance video inside the bar showing Cruz and Gutierrez interacting and appearing to look at Cruz’s cellphone together played throughout his testimony. At times, it appeared that Cruz and Gutierrez were smiling and laughing after viewing the photos — but Gutierrez disputed that interpretation. “What type of human being would laugh at photos of other human beings like that?” he said. Bryant, sitting in the courtroom, repeatedly wiped away tears and, at times, held her head in her hands. At one point, while Gutierrez testified about the photos, she asked the judge for permission to leave the courtroom. She stood up and walked out, wiping tears from her eyes. The trial is expected to last at least another week, with 52 total witnesses slated to appear. Villanueva and Bryant are among those scheduled to testify.
August 13, 2022 | 9:32 pm EDT Update
Draymond Green: That’s the power of your voice Young! Let’s goooo! Bring the fam to the crib for dinner after
USA Basketball has picked its 12-man roster for the opening second-round window of World Cup qualifying, as the Americans look to move closer to clinching a spot in the field for next year’s event. Jim Boylen will return as coach, assisted again by Ty Ellis and Othella Harrington.
The roster will include six players — Michael Frazier II, Langston Galloway, David Stockton, DaQuan Jeffries, John Jenkins and Eric Mika — who were with the Americans for the previous qualifying window in July. The other six players for games Aug. 25 in Las Vegas against Uruguay and at Colombia on Aug. 29 are Tyler Cavanaugh, Malik Ellison, Dewan Hernandez, Mac McClung, Robert Woodard II and McKinley Wright IV.