Summer agenda: Milwaukee Bucks

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·The Vertical
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The Vertical Front-Office Insider Bobby Marks, a 20-year executive with the Nets, examines the off-season plans for teams that didn’t make the postseason.

THE PLAN GOING FORWARD
Giannis at the point

Giannis Antetokounmpo has franchise-player potential. (AP)
Giannis Antetokounmpo has franchise-player potential. (AP)

Give coach Jason Kidd and his staff credit for putting Giannis Antetokounmpo in position to become the focal point of the offense this season. In a league in which creativity and putting your five best players on the court (not based on positions) is the trend, the 6-foot-11 Antekounmpo has found a comfort level running the Bucks’ offense.

With a strong offseason of development and continued familiarity running the offense, Antetokounmpo’s potential is limitless. He’s only 21 and has franchise-player talent.

Rebuild the bench
Priority No. 1 this offseason is rebuilding a bench that struggled because of injuries, the inconsistencies of youth, and the trades of veterans Jared Dudley and Zaza Pachulia last summer.

With veterans Jerryd Bayless, Greivis Vasquez and O.J. Mayo set to enter free agency and the starting lineup set for next season, the focus for the Bucks will need to center around finding athletic wings to complement their starters and a reliable power forward to back up Jabari Parker.

With cap space and Michael-Carter Williams moved to a reserve role, along with the solid late-season play of Tyler Ennis and John Henson, the Bucks’ bench should be much improved.

Don’t mess with the core
Milwaukee is on solid footing despite missing the playoffs. Antetokounmpo, 21, Khris Middleton, 24, and Parker, 21, are three of the NBA’s best players under 25.

With Parker turning the corner after ACL surgery last season, Antetokounmpo moving closer to becoming an elite player, and Middleton possessing size, length and versatility, Milwaukee has three players to build around.

Milwaukee controls Antetokounmpo and Parker for the near future, and Middleton has four more years left on his contract.

Trying to fit Monroe

Greg Monroe didn't quite fit with the Bucks last season. (AP)
Greg Monroe didn't quite fit with the Bucks last season. (AP)

The numbers might say Greg Monroe performed at the same level he did when he was in Detroit.

The eye test however revealed a skilled offensive player who performed as one the worst defensive centers in the NBA.

Fortunately for the Bucks the cap is rising this summer, so the two years left on Monroe’s contract ($33.5 million total) is manageable.

However, Monroe’s role needs to be defined next season. Henson, his backup, missed closed to 30 games with injuries and Miles Plumlee will be a restricted free agent in the offseason. If Monroe is the starter next year, the priority for Milwaukee will be using him with players who can cover for his defensive shortcomings.

TEAM NEEDS
The heavy lifting of finding a point guard, athletic wing and an athletic power forward is done.

The mindset of Bucks management and how it addresses the team’s offseason needs will factor in the comfort level of their young players.

Have Ennis and Rashad Vaughn, former first-round picks, shown enough to be counted on for roles next season?

One could make the argument that Ennis is actually better suited than Carter-Williams to come off the bench. Vaughn, 19, is a work in progress who needs to have a strong summer.

With a lottery pick and $20 million in cap space, the Bucks should be looking to shore up the backup wings and reserve power-forward position.

SUMMER CAP BREAKDOWN

Guaranteed

2016-17

    Insider info

1. Greg Monroe

$17,465,500

    None

2. Khris Middleton

$15,200,000

    None

3. John Henson

$12,517,606

    None

4. Jabari Parker

$5,374,320

    None

5. Michael Carter-Williams

$3,183,526

    Eligible for rookie extension

6. Giannis Antetokounmpo

$2,995,421

    Eligible for rookie extension

7. Rashad Vaughn

$1,811,040

    None

8. Tyler Ennis

$1,733,880

    None

Non/partial

2016-17

    Guarantee date

9. Damien Inglis

$980,431

    Full protection after June 30

10. Johnny O'Bryant

$980,431

    Full protection after June 30

FA cap holds

2016-17

    Free-agent status

11. O.J. Mayo

$12,000,000

    Full Bird rights

12. Greivis Vasquez

$9,900,000

    Early Bird rights

13. Jerryd Bayless

$3,900,000

    Early Bird rights

14. Miles Plumlee

$5,273,235

   Restricted/full Bird rights

15. Steve Novak

$980,431

    Non-Bird rights

First-round hold
No. 10 selection overall: $2,140,500

Dead money
Larry Sanders, $1,865,546 (stretch provision)

CAP PICTURE

Guaranteed

$60,281,293

Non/partial

$1,960,862

FA cap holds

$32,053,666

First-round hold

$2,140,500

Minimum holds

$0

Dead money

$1,865,546

Total

$98,301,867

Salary cap

$92,000,000 

Cap space

None ($6,301,867 over cap)

PROJECTED CAP SPACE
Milwaukee is technically over the salary cap but the likely scenario is for the Bucks to have $16 million in cap space this July. Cap space will be created once the large free-agent cap holds of Vasquez and Mayo are removed.

The free-agent decisions of Bayless and Plumlee could see the Bucks’ cap space grow to $25 million if both players sign elsewhere.

JUNE DRAFT PICKS
First ound: Own

Second round: Own; also has New Orleans’ selection

FUTURE PICKS
First round
Own all first-round picks starting in 2017.

Key rights to: None

PREVIOUS SUMMER AGENDAS: Nets | Pelicans | Timberwolves | Lakers | Knicks | Wizards

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