But just days prior to the start of free agency on July 1, the Bucks released O’Bryant, a move that surprised more than a few people in the NBA. “Every time I’ve talked to somebody (from another NBA team), they wanted to know why Johnny was let go,’’ said Gerald Collier, O’Bryant’s agent. “And I would tell them what they (Bucks GM John Hammond) told me and that was that they were looking to open roster space and he was a casualty of it.’’
As for O’Bryant, he’s looking for a new employer as an unrestricted free agent. He has been working out religiously after having attended Bucks assistant coach Tim Grgurich’s camp in Las Vegas, where he did well. “We’re still exploring our options,’’ Collier said. “There are four or five teams that are showing interest. We want to get a roster spot, a guaranteed deal.’’
That won’t be easy, with most teams having already filled out their rosters for next season. But Collier believes in his client and his client believes in him and thus they aren’t going to make a rash decision and pursue some deal overseas. “Our goal is stay in the league,’’ Collier said. “Johnny has improved in each season he’s been in the NBA and he’s still young; he just turned 23 (on June 1). We have received a lot of positive feedback, so we’re staying patient. We’ll see what happens.’’
July 27, 2021 | 9:31 pm EDT Update
Joseph Hoyt: Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd confirms that Igor Kokoskov is on his way to join the Dallas coaching staff. Kidd said Kokoskov, a former coach of Mavs star Luka Doncic, will be a great coaching teammate. Said he’s in that offensive genius category of coaching.
Scott Agness: Steve Gansey — the former Mad Ants (and summer Pacers) head coach — is in Atlanta to finalize a deal to become the head coach of the Hawks’ G League team (College Park Skyhawks), league sources said. The job would reunite him with Nate McMillan.
More Than a Vote, the organization launched a year ago by prominent Black athletes and entertainers to protect African Americans’ voting rights, is launching a campaign focused on the nation’s criminal justice system. The campaign, called Protect Our People, kicked off Monday with an episode of the HBO series “The Shop,” which is produced by the basketball star LeBron James and Maverick Carter, Mr. James’s close friend and business partner. Mr. James was among the charter members of More Than a Vote.
U.S. Rep. Michelle Steel of Orange County is asking Congress to designate Aug. 24 as “Kobe Bryant Day.” The Republican congresswoman introduced legislation to honor the late basketball legend, who died in a helicopter crash in January last year, along with his daughter and seven others. Aug. 24 was chosen to pay tribute to the two jersey numbers — 8 and 24 — that Bryant wore during his 20-season career.
“Kobe Bryant used his platform to inspire millions and help kids around the world achieve success and strive for greatness. On August 24th we should remember Kobe, celebrate his life, and encourage the next generation to dream big just like Kobe did,” Steel said in a statement.
July 27, 2021 | 7:57 pm EDT Update
Tony Jones: The Oklahoma City Thunder are not expected to extend a qualifying offer to center Tony Bradley, League Sources tell The Athletic, making him an unrestricted free agent. Bradley, a former Jazz, is expected to have multiple teams interested in him on the open market