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Milwaukee Bucks begin rebuilding project

OJ Mayo

If anyone had predicted a few months ago that guard O.J. Mayo would be the Milwaukee Bucks’ highest-paid player next season, the remark likely would have generated a few laughs.

Strange but true.

The 25-year-old guard signed a three-year, $24 million free-agent deal with Milwaukee last month and his $8 million salary is tops on the team for the 2013-’14 season, just above the $7.9 million owed to power forward Ersan Ilyasova.

The Bucks tried to sign point guard Jeff Teague to a four-year, $32 million deal but had the offer matched by the Atlanta Hawks.

Instead they made a trade with Detroit that landed 21-year-old point guard Brandon Knight, who is still on his rookie-scale contract and will make $2.9 million next season.

Bucks general manager John Hammond worked tirelessly during July to reshape the roster and start a rebuilding process that he hopes will pay dividends in the future.

The approach was to acquire young talent to build around 24-year-old Larry Sanders and 22-year-old John Henson; and also to sign veterans (Zaza Pachulia, Luke Ridnour and Carlos Delfino) to contribute and provide leadership in the locker room.

Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Larry Sanders hopes stay with Milwaukee Bucks

Bucks center Larry Sanders is eligible to sign a contract extension before Oct. 31 and there were indications Thursday that the process is moving along.

Sanders sent out two tweets hinting at the talks. The first said: “Well let’s get it done then! #Buck4Life

And the second followed: “I love the city of Milwaukee and I will stay as long as you’ll have me.”

Sanders is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie-scale contract and will be paid about $3 million next season. He is eligible to sign a four-year extension that would run through the 2017-’18 season.

Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Blog)

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed second round draft pick Nate Wolters, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

The Bucks acquired the draft rights to Wolters (6-4, 190) from the Philadelphia 76ers. The guard was originally selected by the Washington Wizards with the 38th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. His rights were subsequently acquired by Philadelphia before being moved to Milwaukee. In exchange for the draft rights to Wolters, the Bucks sent the draft rights to Ricky Ledo, the 43rd overall pick in the draft, and a future second round pick to the Sixers.

Wolters played four years of college basketball at South Dakota State University (2009-13) and left holding school records for scoring (2,353 points), assists (663) and free throws made (644). He is one of only four players in Division I history to leave school with 2,000 points, 600 rebounds and 600 assists, and the only player in South Dakota State history to surpass the 2,000-point mark.

As a senior in 2012-13, Wolters averaged 22.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game. He became the first Summit League player ever to earn AP All-American honors when he was named to the Third Team. Wolters also earned First Team All-Summit League honors in addition to being named the 2013 Summit League Player of the Year. He was selected First Team All-Summit League following his sophomore and junior seasons as well. Wolters scored in double figures in 72 consecutive games and in all but 13 of his 128 games as a Jackrabbit – 11 of which were in his freshman year and two in his sophomore season.

Guard Gary Neal excited to join Bucks

Guard Gary Neal excited to join Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks announced the signings of free-agent guard Gary Neal and rookie forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the team’s first-round draft pick, on Tuesday.

Neal signed a two-year deal worth $6.5 million, while Antetokounmpo will make more than $3.6 million in the first two years of his rookie-scale deal, including about $1.8 million next season…

Neal was a key reserve for the San Antonio Spurs the past three seasons and sank 6 three-pointers in the Spurs’ rout of Miami in Game 3 of the NBA Finals in June…

“I wasn’t really surprised,” Neal said Tuesday. “My family loved San Antonio and I had a great three years. I will be forever grateful to Coach Pop (Gregg Popovich) and (Spurs general manager) R.C. Buford for giving me a chance to live out my dream in the NBA… But it is a business. Milwaukee was the best situation for me and I’m excited.”

Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee Bucks sign guard Gary Neal

Milwaukee Bucks sign guard Gary Neal

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed free agent Gary Neal (6-4, 210), General Manager John Hammond announced today. According to USA Today, it is a two-year deal worth nearly $3 million per season.

The 28-year-old guard has played three seasons in the NBA for the San Antonio Spurs (2010-13), where he averaged 9.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 21.4 minutes per game over his career. His .865 free throw percentage (64-74) during 2012-13 was a career and team high. In the 2013 NBA Playoffs, Neal and Danny Green became the first two teammates to make at least six 3-pointers in the same Finals game. That 6-for-10 effort from behind the arc on June 11 vs. Miami was a career postseason high for him.

Neal played overseas in Italy, Spain and Turkey for three seasons prior to joining the NBA. Undrafted, he was a member of the Spurs 2010 Summer League team before earning a permanent spot on San Antonio’s roster. The Towson University product made an immediate impact during his first year, becoming just the second undrafted rookie in NBA history to earn All-Rookie First Team honors. He was also selected to play on the Rookie team in the 2011 Rookie Challenge during All-Star Weekend, becoming just the sixth undrafted rookie in NBA history to participate in that event. Additionally, Neal broke San Antonio’s rookie record for 3-point field goal percentage (.419) and 3-point field goals made (129).

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed first round draft pick guard/forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAHN-iss ahn-teh-toe-KUHN-poe), General Manager John Hammond announced today.

All players selected in the first round of the NBA draft are guaranteed to receive a contract. So, this signing is standard and was expected.

The 15th overall selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, Antetokounmpo (6-9, 210), joins the Bucks after spending the 2012-13 season with Filathlitikos (Greece) where he averaged 9.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 26 games. He posted a season-high 23 points vs. Irakleuo Crete and grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds vs. GS Laviro.

Most recently, Antetokounmpo represented Greece in the Sportland U20 European Championships, averaging 8.0 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.2 assists per contest. Helping Greece to an 8-2 record and fifth place overall finish, he finished the tournament ranked second in defensive rebounds (7.0) and seventh in blocked shots (1.4).

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed free-agent center Miroslav Raduljica (7-1, 280; MEER-oh-slav rah-DOO-liht-zah), General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Raduljica, 25, enters the NBA after a successful seven-year career in various top pro leagues in Europe. The native of Serbia spent the 2012-13 season with the Ukrainian club Azovmash, leading the team to the Ukrainian Superleague Finals and earning Eurobasket.com All-Ukrainian Superleague Second Team honors after averaging 14.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 blocks in 53 league games. Raduljica has also spent time with professional teams in Serbia, Germany and Turkey, earning numerous awards and honors along the way including All-Serbian League Most Improved Player of the Year in 2010 and All-Serbian League Center of the Year in 2012.

A regular in the Serbian National Team program, Raduljica first represented his country in international competition at the European U16 Championships in 2004, and was later a member of the gold-medal-winning Serbian squads at the U19 World Championships in 2007 and European U20 Championship in 2008 (where he was named MVP of the tournament).

Milwaukee Bucks waive Gustavo Ayon

Milwaukee Bucks waive Gustavo Ayon

The Milwaukee Bucks have requested waivers on center Gustavo Ayon, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Ayon (6-10, 250) appeared in 12 games for the Bucks last season after being acquired from Orlando on Feb. 21, averaging 4.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists per contest. The native of Tepic, Mexico, has appeared in 109 career games over two seasons split between New Orleans, Orlando and Milwaukee, with career averages of 4.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

Larry Sanders gets first look with USA Basketball

Larry Sanders put on his No. 43 USA practice jersey and went to work Monday.

The Bucks center, who admitted he never dreamed of having such an opportunity, was part of a group of eight young big men being evaluated by U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski and the rest of his staff. A four-day USA Basketball national team minicamp opened Monday at Mendenhall Center on the University of Nevada-Las Vegas campus.

“It was an exciting first day,” Sanders said. “A little jittery, a little jumpy, extra active. But my motor was going so it was good.”

The camp brought together 26 NBA players and two top collegians - Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart and Creighton’s Doug McDermott - in the opening step of preparations for the 2014 World Cup in Spain and the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.

“The goal is just to perform as best I can and let them worry about the rest,” Sanders said. “They’re waiting for that new wave to come through. It was a good experience, a good start.”

Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

John Henson had good summer league for Bucks

Nick Van Exel made his summer-league head coaching debut Friday as the Milwaukee Bucks concluded their weeklong stay in Las Vegas.

Despite another strong effort from rookie point guard Nate Wolters, the Bucks lost, 90-80, to the San Antonio Spurs.

But the bigger picture showed some positive developments for the Bucks (2-3) as they packed their bags and prepared to head home.

Second-year player John Henson proved to be one of the top big men in the NBA Summer League. He sat out Friday’s game with a minor injury but finished with averages of 14.7 points and 13.7 rebounds in three summer games.

Wolters, who scored 20 points Friday, gained confidence with each successive game and showed an impressive ability to get into the lane.

Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Milwaukee Bucks sign Zaza Pachulia

Milwaukee Bucks sign Zaza Pachulia

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed free-agent center Zaza Pachulia (6-11, 240), General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Pachulia, 29, returns for his second stint with the Bucks after also spending the 2004-05 season in Milwaukee. A native of Tbilisi, Georgia, Pachulia was selected by Orlando with the 42nd overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft. After appearing in 59 games for the Magic during his rookie season, Pachulia was selected by the Charlotte Bobcats in the 2004 Expansion Draft before being traded to the Bucks for a future second round pick. Pachulia appeared in 74 games (four starts) in a Bucks uniform, averaging 6.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per contest.

Following the 2004-05 season, Pachulia signed as a free agent with the Atlanta Hawks, where he has spent each of the last eight NBA seasons – including the last three under Bucks head coach Larry Drew. A 10-year veteran in the NBA, Pachulia owns career averages of 6.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in 689 career games. Pachulia’s teams have advanced to the postseason six times, where he has appeared in 40 games and averaged 4.9 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest.

Milwaukee Bucks sign Carlos Delfino

Milwaukee Bucks sign Carlos Delfino

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed free-agent guard/forward Carlos Delfino (6-6, 230), General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Delfino, 30, returns to the Bucks after spending the 2012-13 season with the Houston Rockets, where he averaged 10.6 points while shooting 37.5 percent from beyond the arc in 67 games. Prior to signing with Houston last offseason, Delfino wore a Bucks uniform for three seasons from 2009 through 2012, and averaged 10.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 36.6 percent from three in 178 games with Milwaukee. Delfino connected on 325 threes during his time as a Buck, which places him seventh on Milwaukee’s all-time 3-pointers made list.

Originally selected by Detroit with the 25th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, Delfino is entering his ninth NBA season and has seen action with the Pistons and Toronto Raptors in addition to the Bucks and Rockets. The Argentine owns career averages of 8.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 507 games and is a career 36.5 percent shooter from beyond the arc. Delfino has advanced to the postseason at each stop in his NBA career, appearing in 41 playoff games with averages of 4.9 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.2 assists per contest. He is also a decorated Olympian, having participated in three Summer Olympics for his native Argentina (2004, 2008 and 2012). The squad earned a gold medal in 2004 and bronze in 2008.

mMilwaukee Bucks waive Drew Gooden via amnesty provision

The Milwaukee Bucks have waived forward Drew Gooden and designated him as the team’s amnesty player as allowed by the Collective Bargaining Agreement, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Gooden originally signed with the Bucks as a free agent prior to the 2010-11 season. The 11-year NBA veteran appeared in 107 games over three seasons with the Bucks, averaging 11.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per contest.

Atlanta Hawks match Milwaukee Bucks offer sheet for Jeff Teague

The Atlanta Hawks have matched the offer sheet extended by the Milwaukee Bucks to Jeff Teague, President of Basketball Operations/GM Danny Ferry announced today.

According to multiple reports, the offer sheet was for four years and $32 million.

“We are happy to bring Jeff back to our team. He has improved each year of his career and continues to get better,” Ferry said. “At 25, he’s already been a key contributor on a playoff team and we look forward to seeing him develop into even more of a leader on our team.”

Teague increased his scoring and assist averages for the third consecutive year, posting career highs with 14.6 points and 7.2 assists in 32.9 minutes per game in 80 games (78 starts) during the 2012-13 season. His 7.2 assists per game ranked 12th in the NBA last season and he shot .881 from the free throw line, the eighth-highest percentage in the league. He is one of just 10 players in the NBA to increase their scoring average in each of the past three seasons.

The four-year veteran from Wake Forest posted 10 games with at least 20 points and 10 assists, tied for the fourth-most in the league last season with Stephen Curry (Golden State) and behind only LeBron James (Miami, 13), Tony Parker (San Antonio, 12), Chris Paul (LA Clippers, 11) and Deron Williams (Brooklyn, 11) . The Hawks posted an 8-2 record in those games.

“I am very excited to have the opportunity to coach Jeff. He has a high level of talent. Keeping him with our group allows us to continue to build and improve going forward,” Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said.

The 19th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Hawks, Teague has career averages of 9.0 points on .451 shooting and 4.0 assists in 22.6 minutes per game in 287 games (154 starts). He has also played in 29 postseason games (18 starts) and has averages of 9.4 points on .409 shooting and 3.0 assists in 25.3 minutes per game.

Milwaukee Bucks sign guard O.J. Mayo

Milwaukee Bucks sign guard O.J. Mayo

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed free-agent guard O.J. Mayo (6-4, 210), General Manager John Hammond announced today. According to the Associated Press, the Bucks agreed to terms on a three-year, $24 million contract with Mayo last week.

With Bucks guard Brandon Jennings exploring free agency and Monta Ellis agreeing to sign with the Dallas Mavericks, a guard like Mayo was a much-needed addition for Milwaukee.

Mayo, 25, spent the 2012-13 season with the Dallas Mavericks, where he averaged 15.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 35.5 minutes per game. He finished the season shooting 44.9 percent from the field and a career-best 40.7 percent from beyond the arc (26th in the NBA). Mayo scored in double figures on 63 occasions last season, including a career-high-tying 40 points in a win at Houston on Dec. 8.

Originally selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the third overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Mayo was dealt to Memphis on draft night and played his first four seasons with the Grizzlies before signing with Dallas as a free agent prior to the 2012-13 campaign. The USC product has appeared in 383 games in his five-year career, averaging 15.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals per contest. Mayo’s 383 games played are the fifth-most in the league since the start of the 2008-09 season, and he’s avoided missing a single game in four of his five seasons thus far.

The Milwaukee Bucks have traded forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (6-8, 230) to the Sacramento Kings, General Manager John Hammond announced today. The Bucks will receive the more favorable of two 2016 second round draft picks (Sacramento’s own pick or one acquired from New Orleans) and future considerations from the Kings in the transaction.

A five-year NBA veteran, Mbah a Moute appeared in 58 games (45 starts) last season and averaged 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds per contest. Drafted by Milwaukee in the second round (37th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft, the 26-year old native of Cameroon has played in 335 career games for Milwaukee with averages of 6.9 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.0 assists, while shooting 46.0 percent from the field and 67.9 percent from the free throw line.

Dallas Mavericks are signing Monta Ellis

Monta Ellis

The Dallas Mavericks continued to stack the deck in their backcourt Friday when they agreed to terms with Monta Ellis on a three-year contract worth close to $30 million.

Ellis becomes the fifth guard the Mavs have signed this off-season, joining Jose Calderon, Devin Harris, Gal Mekel and Ricky Ledo. They selected Shane Larkin in the first round of last month’s draft.

After losing out on Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum, Ellis is an ideal Plan C for the Mavs. He’s elusive, has a quick jumper and should allow the Mavs to play a more uptempo style.

Reported by Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Kevin Martin

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has acquired guard Kevin Martin via a sign-and-trade as part of a three-team deal with Oklahoma City and Milwaukee. As part of the trade, the Wolves send Luke Ridnour and a 2014 second-round pick (from the Los Angeles Lakers via the Phoenix Suns; acquired on July 27, 2012) to the Bucks. Minnesota and Milwaukee also receive cash considerations from Oklahoma City while the Bucks send the draft rights to Szymon Szewczyk to the Thunder.

“We are excited to add a talented veteran in Kevin Martin to our team,” said Flip Saunders, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “Kevin is one of the top shooters and more efficient scorers in the NBA and will help us immensely in those areas. Kevin is familiar with Coach Adelman’s style of play and had success playing for him in Sacramento and Houston. We expect that to continue.”

The Timberwolves were last in three-point shooting in 2012-13 and Martin shot a career-high 42.6 percent from three-point range last season and is 39 percent from that distance for his career. Also, in the last seven years, Martin is the fourth leading scorer at two-guard, behind only Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade and Monta Ellis.

In his nine seasons in the NBA with Sacramento (2004-10), Houston (2010-12) and Oklahoma City (2012-13), Martin has averaged 17.8 points. 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 552 games (387 starts). The 30-year-old has career shooting averages of .443 from the field, .385 from three-point range and .867 percent from the free throw line. He has averaged over 20.0 ppg and made more than 100 three-pointers in a single season five times in his career. Martin has previously played three-plus seasons for Rick Adelman (2004 - 2006, Sacramento; 2010 - 2011, Houston), averaging 14.9 ppg, including 23.4 ppg in the 2010-11 season which ranked ninth in the NBA.

In 2012-13, Martin, a 6-7 guard, averaged 14.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 77 games for Oklahoma City. He shot .450 from the floor and a career-high .426 from three-point range while making 158 treys, the second-highest single-season total of his career. Martin ranked 4th in the NBA in free throw percentage, shooting .890 from the charity stripe. In 11 playoff games with the Thunder, Martin averaged 14.0 points and 3.1 rebounds, including scoring 25 points in the series-clinching Game 6 at Houston and 25 points in the series opener vs. Memphis.

Martin was originally selected with the 26th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings out of Western Carolina. He was traded to Houston in exchange for Carl Landry and Joey Dorsey on Feb. 18, 2010. Oklahoma City acquired Martin, along with Jeremy Lamb and three future draft picks, on October 27, 2012 in exchange for James Harden, Daequan Cook, Lazar Hayward and Cole Aldrich.

Martin will wear uniform No. 23 for the Wolves.

“We thank Luke for his contributions to the Wolves during his three seasons in Minnesota,” said Saunders. “He is a consummate professional and we wish him the best in Milwaukee.”

In his three seasons in Minnesota, Ridnour averaged 11.7 points and 4.6 assists in 206 games (201 starts). In 2012-13, he averaged 11.5 points and 3.8 assists in 82 contests (all starts). Ridnour returns to Milwaukee where he played from 2008-10.

The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired two future second-round draft picks as part of a three-team deal involving the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns, General Manager John Hammond announced today. As part of the trade, the Bucks re-signed free-agent guard J.J. Redick and dealt him to the Clippers, with Los Angeles sending Eric Bledsoe and Caron Butler to Phoenix in exchange for Jared Dudley. Both the Clippers (2015 or 2016 with protections; 2017 unprotected) and Suns (2014 from Toronto) will send a future second-round pick to the Bucks to complete the deal.

“The addition of a very dynamic young player in Eric Bledsoe and an All-Star veteran in Caron Butler is very exciting for the Suns,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby.  “At the same time, we thank Jared Dudley, a consummate professional in every respect.  He takes our best wishes with him to the Clippers.”

“We are thrilled to add Eric and Caron to the Phoenix Suns,” said Suns General Manager Ryan McDonough.  “They were both key parts of the Clippers team that set a franchise record for wins last season and we are excited to add their athleticism, shooting, and leadership to our organization.”

Widely considered one of the best young guards in the NBA, and one of the league’s most highly sought-after players this offseason, Bledsoe is an athletic, two-way player entering his fourth NBA season.  Listed at 6-foot-1, the 23-year-old Bledsoe has a 78-inch wingspan and a 40-inch vertical leap.

Despite playing behind All-NBA First Team guard Chris Paul in 2012-13, Bledsoe averaged career highs scoring (8.5), rebounds (3.0) and steals (1.43) and added 3.1 assists in 76 appearances, 64 of which came in a reserve role.  In fact, the box-score-stuffing Bledsoe started 12 games a season ago and in those opportunities averaged 14.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 2.50 steals.  A high-level ball-handler who can create his own shot, as a starter Bledsoe averaged 4.1 free-throw attempts per game, which would have matched Suns guard Goran Dragic’s team-leading average from 2012-13.  Bledsoe is coming off a season in which he shot a career-best from both the field (.445) and three-point range (.397) last season.

Dudley, 28, appeared in 79 games (50 starts) for the Suns last season, averaging 10.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists. A San Diego native who attended Horizon High School, Dudley shot 39 percent from three-point range in 2012-13. He connected on 106 three-pointers last season, the third time in his career he has made 100 or more three-pointers in a season. The six-year NBA veteran brings career averages of 9.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 449 games (147 starts) for both the Charlotte Bobcats and Suns. He is also a career 41-percent shooter from beyond the arc and 80-percent from the free throw line. The former Boston College star was the 22nd overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Bobcats after earning Second Team All-American honors as a senior.

Redick, 29, averaged 14.1 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists in 78 games (13 starts) last season with the Bucks and Orlando Magic. A veteran of seven NBA seasons, Redick has appeared in 424 career games (54 starts) and owns career averages of 9.4 points, 2.0 assists while shooting 39 percent from three-point range and 88 percent from the foul line. Redick was the 11th overall selection of the 2006 Draft by the Magic after a decorated four-year collegiate career at Duke that saw him named the 2005-06 AP, John Wooden and Naismith College Player of the Year.

Butler is a two-time NBA All-Star (2007, 2008) and former 20-point scorer who has averaged double-digit scoring in 10 of his 11 NBA seasons.  A 6-7, 217-pound small forward, Butler owns career averages of 15.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.46 steals in 730 games (697 starts) with Miami (2002-04), the LA Lakers (2004-05), Washington (2005-09), Dallas (2010-11) and the LA Clippers (2011-13).

A former 2003 All-Rookie First Team selection, Butler has made six playoff appearances in 11 career seasons.  The UConn product averaged better than 20.0 points in both 2007-08 and 2008-09, including a career-high 20.8 points in the 2008-09 season.  Butler is entering the final season of a three-year deal signed with the Clippers on Dec. 9, 2011.

Carlos Delfino returning to Milwaukee Bucks

Carlos Delfino is coming back to the Bucks.

Delfino and the Bucks agreed Sunday night on a two-year, $6.5 million contract with a third non-guaranteed year that could bring the total to $9.75 million, according to a league source.

The Houston Rockets released the 6-foot-6 Delfino last week as part of their salary-shedding moves to clear the way for an agreement with center Dwight Howard, who chose to sign with the Rockets on Friday.

Delfino played for Milwaukee for three seasons from 2009 to 2012 and appeared in 178 games, starting 159. He was a reliable performer under former Bucks coach Scott Skiles, who used him at both the small forward and shooting guard positions.

Delfino has guarded some of the elite wing players in the league, including Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

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