Bucks Lead

Zeller & Jennings Done in Milwaukee?

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We learned Sunday afternoon that the Bucks and unrestricted free agent center Brook Lopez have agreed to a one-year, $3.3 million deal that utilizes the Bi-Annual Exception, as first reported by Yahoo’s Jordan Schultz.

This deal came out of no where, as the Bucks have very little cap space to work with, and Brook Lopez had just made a whopping $22.6 million with the Lakers last season. Nonetheless, both parties agreed to the deal and Brook Lopez will be a Milwaukee Buck come next season. The bi-annual exception can be used once every two seasons.

This signing does put forth implications involving restricted free agent Jabari Parker. By adding Lopez, Milwaukee’s cap space becomes that much smaller.

The non-guaranteed contracts Marks is referring to are that of Tyler Zeller and Brandon Jennings, who would make a combined $4.1 million next season if both contracts are guaranteed.

By waiving both, the Bucks can free up that $4.1 million cap space to use for more flexibility with Jabari or with other free agents (Jason Terry and Shabazz Muhammad for example).

Money isn’t the only reason GM Jon Horst would consider moving on from Zeller and Jennings. In signing Lopez, the Bucks now have four centers on the roster. Lopez joins Zeller, Thon Maker and John Henson. Assuming new head coach Mike Budenholzer inserts Lopez into the starting lineup, this leaves the other three with bench scraps. So, waiving Zeller appears to be the likely move sooner than later.

As for Jennings, the Bucks brought him in late last season to provide stability in what was an injury-ridiculed backcourt (Malcolm Brogdon and Matthew Dellavedova had both been sidelined for a significant amount of time). Jennings was not asked to suit up for games one and two during the playoffs, and even though he took Henson’s active roster spot due to injury, he did not appear for meaningful minutes in any of the other five games during that first round playoff series. The Jennings-Bucks reunion was quite nostalgic for everyone, but his services don’t appear needed at this point. If the Bucks have interest in bringing back their other veterans (Terry & Muhammad), they will have to part ways with Jennings, simply because they currently have no vacant roster spots.

The above list does not include Bucks’ 2018 first round draft pick, Donte DiVincenzo, as the two have yet to agree on a rookie scale deal. Assuming they do, DiVincenzo would take Milwaukee’s 15th roster spot.

Horst has until August 1st to decide on Jennings’ contract status, which becomes guaranteed automatically unless waived prior to August 1st. The date was originally July 1st, but the two parties agreed to push the date back one month.

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About Eric Peterson

CEO and Content Manager at TLSM and Bucks Lead branch. Currently studying Sport Management at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Twitter: @EricTLSM

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