The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired veteran guard Luke Ridnour (6-2, 175) as part of a three-team deal involving the Minnesota Timberwolves and Oklahoma City Thunder, General Manager John Hammond announced today. The Bucks also received a 2014 second round draft pick from Minnesota (via the Los Angeles Lakers) and cash considerations from Oklahoma City as part of the trade, while the Thunder signed Kevin Martin to a contract and traded him to the Timberwolves along with cash considerations. Milwaukee sent the draft rights to 2003 second round pick Szymon Szewczyk (35th overall) to Oklahoma City to complete the deal. Ridnour, 32, started all 82 games for Minnesota last season and averaged 11.5 points, 3.8 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.0 steals in 30.2 minutes per game. The 10-year pro shot 45.3 percent from the floor, 31.1 percent from the three-point arc and 84.8 percent from the free throw line. Selected with the 14th overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, Ridnour played his first five NBA seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics. Prior to the 2008 season he was traded to Milwaukee where he played two seasons with the Bucks, including the 2009-10 campaign when he shot career-highs of 47.8 percent from the floor and 90.7 percent from the line. He signed a multi-year contract with the Timberwolves in 2010 and has played the last three seasons in Minnesota. Ridnour owns career averages of 10.0 points, 4.8 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.1 steals in 722 regular season games (479 starts).
by ESPN.com news service New Bucks Coach Larry Drew
Larry Drew could have sulked during his last season in Atlanta, complained to anyone who would listen about being a lame duck despite a winning record and three straight playoff appearances. He never did.
“When you stay in this game as long as I have, the most important thing is you don’t take a negative situation and keep it negative,” Drew said. “I thought I would get something positive of it.”
That came Monday, as Drew was introduced as the new coach of the Milwaukee Bucks six days after his awkward tenure with the Atlanta Hawks ended with the hiring of his replacement. Drew has a three-year deal with the Bucks, and the team has an option for a fourth season.
“I am very, very excited about being here, I really am,” Drew said. “I’m going to do everything in my power to put this group together as fast as possible, to making us competitive, to making sure these guys are in tune with each other. If I do that, chances are we’re going to be a pretty good basketball team.”
If not, he’ll have to answer to his uncle.
Drew’s uncle, Norman Johnson, has lived in Milwaukee for 49 years, and he joined the coach, his wife and the couple’s two younger sons for Monday’s news conference.
“I’ve been a Bucks fan ever since the Bucks have been here,” Johnson said. “I’m very proud of him,” Johnson added. “I hope he continues his good work. I think he will.”
Drew was 128-102 in Atlanta, and the Hawks reached the postseason in each of his three seasons. His first year, they upset Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic in the first round and then took the Chicago Bulls to six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals. They reached the playoffs again last year despite having Al Horford for only 11 games.
And he did perhaps his finest job this season.
Despite knowing he would be out of a job at the end of the year as new general manager Danny Ferry remakes the team, losing All-Star Joe Johnson to an offseason trade and seeing Lou Williams and Zaza Pachulia go down with season-ending injuries, Drew led Atlanta to a 44-38 record. The Hawks took Indiana to six games before losing in the first round of the playoffs. “I feel very good about who I am as a coach,” Drew said.
“You give me some guys who are willing to play hard every night, who are committed to playing for one another, who are committed to playing for the city, I guarantee you I’ll give you a group you can be proud of.”
Drew repeatedly stressed the importance of building relationships with his players, a quality general manager John Hammond had made a priority after Milwaukee’s late-season collapse. The Bucks lost 12 of their last 16 games to finish with a losing record for a third straight season, then were swept by the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs, losing all four games by double digits.
Teaching Xs and Os is no longer enough, Drew said, and one of the things he was most proud of during his time in Atlanta was that his players always knew he had their backs. In fact, as Drew was flying to Milwaukee on Sunday, he got a congratulatory text message from Atlanta guard Kyle Korver.
“That’s not going to change. I’m going to do the exact same thing coming here to Milwaukee,” Drew said. “We’re going to become buddies. We’re going to become good friends.”
He plans to start reaching out to his new players immediately, starting with John Henson. The rookie had planned to be in Milwaukee later this week, but re-arranged his schedule so he could be here in time for Drew’s news conference.
“You get on the coach’s side right away,” Drew joked, drawing laughs.
“I think he’s going to be a real good fit,” Henson said. “He’s just what we need. He’s a player relationship guy and the players are going to know their roles.”
Drew said he’s not committed to a specific offensive style–“I’m not a big fan of predictability. Offensively, I think that’s very easy to defend.” — but Milwaukee’s two young big men, Henson and Larry Sanders, will have big roles.
“This team has really good young talent. Young talent that I’m excited about developing,” Drew said. “The big guys are going to be a big part of the future. Their development is going to be very important, but you can’t teach height, you can’t teach length.”
As strong as Milwaukee’s frontcourt is, its backcourt is just as unsettled.
Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings, who led the Bucks in scoring, are both question marks to return next season. Jennings is a restricted free agent while Ellis has until June 20 to exercise an $11 million player option.
That kind of uncertainty doesn’t faze Drew, however.
“I wouldn’t call it a challenge,” he said. “I would just say there’s some uncertainty and that’s part of the NBA.”
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
The Milwaukee Bucks were swept by the Miami Heat, who many believe will be the eventual champions of the NBA for the second year in a row. (Above) The Heats LeBron James goes airborne and around the Bucks Luc Richard Mbah A Moute. (Below) Former Marquette star Dwayne Wade looking to pass or shot as Monte Ellis looks on. (Photos by Bill Tennessen)
Milwaukee Bucks players Ekpe Udoh and Doron Lamb did some coloring with 2-year-old Everlyn Cannon (above) during a visit to Children’s Hospital by the entire Bucks team and coaching staff. The team made the visit to spread a little holiday cheer during their annual visit with patients at the MACC Fund Center for Cancer for Cancer and Blood Disorders at the hospital. The visit came nearly 36 years to the day after the founding of the MACC Fund on Dec. 10, 1976, during halftime of a Bucks game when Jon McGlocklin’s jersey number 14 was retired. As part of this year’s visit, Sam’s Hope will donated over 400 new books for the Bucks to distribute to the children. (Photo by Yvonne Kemp)
Honor coincides with 40th anniversary of his becoming the first African American general manager in professional sports
Forty years after the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks named him the first African-American general manager in all of professional sports, Hall of Famer Wayne Embry returns to Milwaukee on August 17 to be honored by the annual Fellowship Open golf tournament with its Legends Award.
The Legends Award goes to citizens who have demonstrated a personal commitment to and vision for helping others. Previous recipients have included fellow Wisconsin sports icons Hank Aaron, Willie Davis and Junior Bridgeman.
More information on the Fellowship Open and its work in supporting youth-related nonprofit organizations can be found at www.fellowshipopen.com.
Embry, presently in his 9th year as a senior advisor to the Toronto Raptors, will be presented for the Legends Award by fellow Hall of Famer and Milwaukee Bucks legend Oscar Robertson, his longtime Cincinnati Royals teammate and roommate earlier in their careers.
The two first met and competed against each other in 1957-58, when Embry was a senior pivotman at Miami University of Ohio and Robertson was beginning his college career as a sophomore at University of Cincinnati. “Wayne’s legacy is best defined by his leadership and the example he sets for others,” wrote NBA commissioner David Stern in a letter to Fellowship Open board chairman John Daniels. “In addition to acknowledging his position as a role model whose career is an inspiration to younger generations, Wayne recognizes the importance of giving back to the game and to the community.
He has taught players to use the values they have learned while competing to make a positive impact on society.
The NBA has benefited greatly from Wayne Embry’s commitment to the game of basketball. I am honored to join with you to celebrate his career and to thank him for all he has given us. He is a true pioneer.”
Embry’s 11-year NBA playing career included five appearances at the NBA All-Star game while with the Cincinnati Royals, a world championship with the 1968 Boston Celtics, and veteran leadership of the expansion Milwaukee Bucks in the team’s first season in 1969.
Moving into the front office as assistant to the president a year later, he was instrumental in the Bucks’ immediate acquisition of both Robertson and Bob Boozer.
They joined a lineup anchored by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to create one of the most dominant teams in NBA history, winning a then-record 66 games en route to the franchise’s only championship in 1971.
The Bucks also became the first expansion team in any sport to win a title as early as its third season.
Following his 15-year front office tenure in three different positions with the Bucks, and a year as a consultant with the Indiana Pacers, Embry became VP and general manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1986. When he was promoted to the presidency of the team in 1994, he again broke ground as the first African-American president of any professional sports team.
During his 15 years with the Cavaliers, he was twice honored as NBA Executive of the Year.
In addition to his 50+-year NBA career, Embry has been a founder and CEO of his own businesses, a member of numerous corporate and nonprofit boards of directors, and a community activist and mentor for youth in every city where he has lived and worked, shaping and developing opportunities for literally thousands of people.
He is also the author of an autobiography, “The Inside Game: Race, Power and Politics in the NBA” (University of Akron Press, 2004), with Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Embry has been a trustee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame since 1974 and has served on various senior-level committees for the NBA and USA Basketball.
In recognition of his career both on the court and in the front office, he was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame as a contributor to the sport in 1999.
It was a fun ride for the Milwaukee Bucks while it lasted. The roller coaster stopped dead in its tracks, and the team came back down to earth. The win at home last week over the Chicago Bulls was overshadowed by two recent road losses to Washington and Detroit.
Entering the Dec. 6 home game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Bucks sported a 9-9 record. They were 9-10 after the 101-86 loss at the Bradley Center. They were 7-3 before Thanksgiving week.
Milwaukee scored the first 11 points against the Cavaliers. Cleveland outscored the Bucks 21-6 to take a 21-17 first quarter advantage. Milwaukee’s last score in the quarter came at the 4 minute 36 second mark by forward Ersan Ilyasova, which was the start of a long scoreless period between the first and second quarters.
Forward Carlos Delfino scored with 5:13 left in the second quarter. It ended a scoring drought of 11:25. The Cavs had a 52-33 lead in the first half. Shooting 33 percent in the half (15-46) didn’t help the Bucks, who’s a jump shooting team. Milwaukee shot 37.6 percent (35-93) for the game.
“We’ve been living and dying by the three (point shot) anyway,” head coach Scott Skiles said after the game. “None of them went in. And when (Cleveland) was pulling away, we needed to make some plays.”
That long scoring drought allowed the Cavaliers to score 29 straight points in the second. They had a 75-57 lead after three quarters. “I got to check the archives for that,” Cleveland guard Mo Williams said.”
Williams was impressed with rookie guard Brandon Jennings, who guarded him most of the game. “He’s a young player,” Williams said. “He’s definitely getting his attempts. (Bucks) are letting him go, which is going to make him better. And I think if they’re going to hand the ball over to him, they gotta let him go.
“(Jennings) is going to make mistakes, but he’s gonna make plays, too.”
Their only road trip this week was at Boston, which they lost 98-89 Tuesday, making their record 9-11. Milwaukee’s second of three home games this week was against the Toronto Raptors Dec. 9.
Milwaukee led 29-22 at the end of the first quarter. They held a 57-45 halftime lead. The Bucks won 117-95 behind Jennings’ 22 points, one of seven players in double figures for the Bucks (10-11).