Tag Archives: Jon Brockman

Deal!!! NBA players, owners reach tentative agreement

NBA players and owners came to their senses during ten-hour settlement talks Friday, and will advance a tentative agreement to their respective memberships for approval.  No, the lockout’s not over, not yet.  But the lawsuits will be withdrawn, the players’ union will reform, and approval of the deal is expected from all parties.

Many reports cite “significant concessions” by the owners.  Whether that happened is highly suspect, considering that objective observers at Yahoo Sports, The New York Times and CBS Sports had weeks ago decided that the divisive issues were relatively minor.

The real issue at stake here was respect.  NBA commissioner David Stern had made too many ultimatums, issued too many deadlines and given us all the high hat.  The players responded by disclaiming interest and filed an anti-trust.  This tentative settlement, ten days later, was more of an apology from the NBA than a compromise. 

Some of the details as reported HERE and HERE:

  • The split of Basketball Related Income was set at a “band” of 49-51 percent.  This reflects the 50-50 agreement that had been previously reached.  One percent will go to the fund for retired players, a nice play by the union and a swell gesture by the owners.  Apology accepted.
  • The “Carmelo Anthony rule” was dropped by the owners.  This would have prevented players from exercising their Larry Bird contract extension rights in “extend-and-trade” deals like the one that sent Anthony from the Nuggets to the Knicks last spring.  It’s very unclear as to why the owners were trying to stop these deals, which amount to a player limiting his own movement in deals that all parties have to agree to.  This was never a sensible bargaining item, and not much of concession.  Shrugs all around.  The OK City Thunder are still stuck with Kendrick Perkins (also an extend-and-trade deal last season).
  • Mid-level Exception (MLE) contracts for teams over the salary cap were set at four years.  The owners had wanted to alternate four-year and three-year deals, but what was the point?   There’s no rule that says a team has to use its MLE at all.  Don’t want a player for four years?  Don’t sign him.  And how was a team limited to three-year deals going to compete with a team that could offer four?  More shrugs at the bargaining table.
  • Sign and trade deals by teams paying luxury tax would be allowed but “limited,” according to reports.  Huh?  These types of deals occur too rarely to figure out what that means.
  • Qualifying offers to restricted free agents would be raised.  Aha.  The Bucks had two restricted free agents, Luc Mbah a Moute and Chris Douglas-Roberts.  Because they were 2nd round draft picks, their pay scale was low and the Bucks only had to commit $1 million to retain their rights to the players.   That’s pretty low risk, especially for Luc, who’s due to get a raise.  The Bucks decided not to retain rights to CDR, despite the low financial commit.  Raising the qualifying offer would not necessarily drive salary higher for a player like Luc, whom the Bucks want to keep.  But it would make it more difficult for teams to restrict players they have little interest in retaining.   Freedom! – but not necessarily for players in high demand.
  • The owners conceded on when to assess the Mid-Level Exception (MLE).  Teams not paying luxury tax will be allowed to use the full $5 million MLE, regardless of whether, on paper, the MLE nudges the team into tax territory.  This keeps any number of improving teams in small and big markets from being penalized as though they were repeat tax offenders like the Lakers and Celtics and Spurs, which is what the owners wanted to do.  I’ve wondered why Herb Kohl or any small market owner agreed to this and questioned whether this was a clause to level the playing field for the luxury tax payers, contrary to the owners’ rhetoric about “competitive balance.”  If the owners actually conceded on this, I can finally stop blogging about it.

“Yessssssssss!!!!!!!!!!” – Andrew Bogut tweeted this morning.  

“Does the beard and mullet stay or go?” wondered Jon Brockman.

“Es finalmente todo esto verdad o sigo soñando ???”  That was from Carlos Delfino.

Que?

Signing Jon Brockton, the imaginary back-up center in the Milwaukee Bucks plans

This just in from a newspaper report in Denver, where the Bucks are preparing to play the Nuggets tonight:

“Early in the third quarter, Skiles sent center Jon Brockton into the game for rookie Larry Sanders …” – JSOnline Bucks Blog by Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Bucks beat reporter Tom Enlund.

At first I thought this was simply a brain-fart by a tired NBA beat reporter, a little light-headed by the lack of oxygen in Denver’s mountain climate. Of course Enlund meant to write “Brockman” instead of “Brockton” when describing the third quarter substitution in Monday’s Bucks-Jazz game.   But on second look — and third glance — it became increasingly apparent that this reference to Brockton could not be shrugged off as a simple slip of the mind.

It should be noted here that Enlund knows a thing or two about the NBA and the Bucks, whom he’s been covering since the late 1980’s, before Sidney Moncrief’s number was retired.   This fact alone suggests that “center Jon Brockton” did not make his appearance in Enlund’s story haphazardly.  Also note the use of the word “details” in Enlund’s headline.  This may have been Enlund leaving a clue of some sort, one that at least demands further inquiry.

Note the use of the word “center” – not “forward” or “big forward” which is what one would use in referring to Jon Brockman, who is certainly not an NBA center.  Yet Enlund identifies this unknown player as “center Jon Brockton.”

Who is Jon Brockton?  When did the Bucks sign him?  How long has he been with the team?   Let’s look back to last July and see if the Bucks or the media can provide an answer to these questions.

On July 21, the Bucks announced that they had acquired a 6-7, 252-pound “forward/center” named Jon Brockman. No such player seems to exist, not in real life anyway.   That same day the Milwaukee daily newspaper, Journal Sentinel, reported that the Bucks had signed a 6-7, 252-pound “forward” named Jon Brockman.   Forward Jon Brockman did appear in the Bucks camp.  However, no such “forward/center” has been found.

Here’s what seems to have happened — remember that July 21 was the day after Milwaukee was hit with record floods in the streets that eventually created a sink-hole that swallowed an SUV.  That made national news.  Somehow, in all the watery confusion, Bucks GM John Hammond — in his mind — believed that he had acquired a forward-center.  This never occurred, though the idea of this new forward/center persisted in Hammond’s mind, and in the minds of those who work in the Bucks organization, and on to many fans who follow the Bucks.

One conclusion can be made:  Jon Brockton is that forward/center — or at least the center reality of a forward very likely named Jon Brockman.  Brockton may be something of an imaginary twin of Brockman, who lives on in the Bucks brain trust.  They believed they were filling a need for a back-up center — and they filled it — in their imaginations.   This belief may be strong, so strong that on certain occasions (usually on the road where the presence of doubting, skeptical Bucks fans might prevent it) …

… a center named Jon Brockton appears.  Bucks beat reporter Tom Enlund saw him Monday night in Utah.  Maybe we’ll see him tonight in Denver.

If so, somebody hand him a Bucks contract — they need center Jon Brockton.

Center Erick Dampier to back up Yao Ming in Houston

Hoopsworld, CBS and numerous sources reported earlier today that Erick Dampier will sign with the Rockets.  This is bad news for the Bucks and GM John Hammond, who had been courting the  6’11”, 35-year-old Dampier to come to the Bucks, badly in need of a back-up for Andrew Bogut.

Early foul trouble for Bogut in Minnesota Friday opened up the glass for the T-wolves, who embarrassed fill-ins Drew Gooden, Jon Brockman and rookie Larry Sanders on their way to a 62-39 rebounding advantage.  The T-wolves pounded the Bucks for 19 offensive boards and 24 second chance points on their way to a 96-85 victory.

That sort of thing doesn’t happen when you have a veteran presence like Dampier taking up 270-pounds of space in the paint.  The timing of Dampier’s decision couldn’t be worse. He might as well have lit a dozen flares around the Bucks’ most glaring need.

Dampier spent the last six seasons in Dallas, where he blocked over 450 shots and averaged more than 7.5 rebounds per game despite playing less than half time in 356 games.  His six-year, $60 million contract expired at the end of last season.  The Bucks, the Rockets, Portland, Toronto and Phoenix were reportedly bidding for his services.

A sign and trade deal is probably out of the question.

Can the Bucks get a do-over?

John Salmons looked like he needed another week (or two) of pre-season.  Same for Corey Maggette, who seemed confused on defense (“Defense? What’s that coach?)  The spacing and ball movement on offense was reminiscent of some of the worst days of the Michael Redd-Terry Stotts period.

The Bucks, still a work in progress, ugly and obvious, after dropping Wednesday’s opener 95-91 in New Orleans, would do well to pick up a win in Minnesota tonight and reset the season at home against the Bobcats Saturday.

GM John Hammond’s newcomers — Drew Gooden, Maggette and Keyon Dooling — have some work to do, and they would be wise to get to it ASAP.  Coach Scott Skiles‘ patience won’t last much longer.  Defensive ace Luc Mbah a Moute and bruising forward Jon Brockman are set to return in Minnesota, and Ersan Ilyasova will not be relegated to 15 minutes of playing time often — and probably not for some time.

Maggette does warrant a pass due to his lack of a preseason, and Gooden was productive in his minutes (15 pts, 11 rebs).  But Gooden — who did have a full preseason — failed time and time again to get a hand in David Wells‘ face.  That’s the kind of defense that gets on Skile’s nerves and won’t be tolerated on a Skiles team.  Just ask Michael Redd.

The Bucks core — plus Salmons — was a winner.  It’s too early to say that GM Hammond did too much this off-season, too early to be aggravated that Hammond and the Bucks are marketing Maggette and Gooden to Bucks fans as part of a winning formula.  Yes, it’s early … but no — the Bucks team that played in New Orleans Wednesday was no winner.

Bright spots

Carlos Delfino (19 pts) – never looked better.  Good spacing, solid D, ball movement, great teamwork with Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings.  The Bucks core knows what it’s doing, nevermind the newcomers.

Andrew Bogut:  The free throw line is only 15 feet away and 50 percent from the floor isn’t quite good enough, big man.  The Bucks will need Bogut to be more efficient offensively. But in every other regard, it was great to see the Bucks center back on the court.  He was in control of the paint all night (15 boards), and Emeka Okafor (0 points) didn’t get free for a single shot the entire game.

Brandon Jennings: Watching Jennings play D — often successfully — against Chris Paul was more fun than watching him run the Bucks tired-looking offense. It’s too bad the Hornets are in the West and BJ gets only one more crack at CP3 (next Saturday). That the Bucks were even in the game was a credit to Jennings, who found Delfino’s hot hand time and time again in the 4th quarter.  If BJ’s sophomore season is a campaign to prove to the world that he’s the real deal, he’s off to a pretty good start.

No back-up for Bogut at center

“Man, the Celtics are big in the middle,” I realized, watching Jermaine O’Neal muscle the Sixers around in the post for half of the preseason scrubfest the Celtics played in Philly tonight. The C’s have Shaq, too, ready for action while starting center Kendrick Perkins recovers from injury.

Our less-than-100-percent center, Andrew Bogut, will have his hands full when he gets back into action.  The centers in Chicago and Orlando will be there too, working the paint to keep the Bucks out of the Eastern Conference top four.  Given all the other problems the Miami Heat pose, Big Z has had Bogut’s number for years.

For all the offseason changes made by John Hammond, the Bucks GM left the backup center’s seat on the Bucks bench empty.  New Bucks Jon Brockman and Dwight? Drew Gooden, they’re not centers.  Rookie Larry Sanders, for all that wingspan the Bucks drafted — he’s a rookie.  And let’s hope coach Scott Skiles has the decency to keep Ersan Ilyasova out of the center mix as he tries to find playing time for Ersan and Luc Mbah a Moute after the addition of Gooden.

In other words, as overloaded and versatile as the Bucks are at the power forward spot that has jinxed them for almost 40 years,’ they’ve got no backup center for their 25-year-old All-Pro as he works his way back from the broken arm and mangled finger that ended his 2010 season. (And no, retread Brian Skinner doesn’t cut it).

Meanwhile, Bogut has yet to play this preseason. Is it time to worry in Bucksland?  Frank over at Brewhoop thinks it’s about time to fugedaboutit and get Bogut out on the court.

And while there won’t be any guarantees that Bogut can stay healthy–whether it’s related to his arm, back, knees, etc–the Bucks may not have the luxury of playing it safe for too long.

They don’t.  Truth is, the Bucks have one NBA center on their roster, and their chances of moving up in the East ride with him.