Milwaukee Bucks open up Fiserv Forum

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks opened up Fiserv Forum on Sunday afternoon in downtown Milwaukee. The ceremony was filled with speakers, fans, music, and superstar cameos.

Among those in attendance included current Milwaukee Bucks Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, Bucks legends Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, Michael Redd and Vin Baker, coach Mike Budenholzer, general manager Jon Horst, and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Owners Wed Edens, Marc Lasry, Jamie Dinan, and Mike Fascitelli were in attendance as well as former Bucks owner Senator Herb Kohl and Governor Scott Walker.

The arena took roughly two years to complete after construction began back in June of 2018.

The day started off with the franchise breaking a world record for “The World’s Largest Vinyl Welcome Mat” according to Guinness World Records. The mat was set next to the stage where the ribbon cutting ceremony took place to the left of the main stage outside Fiserv Forum. The mat was measured at 2,224.20 square feet, breaking the previous record of 2,152 square feet, according to Guinness World Records.

As for the arena itself, the Bucks immediately move from having one of the worst arenas in the NBA to one of, if not the best. Fiserv Forum is a state-of-the-art facility that is a tremendous upgrade from the BMO Harris Bradley Center which remains next door for the time being. The building will be have a capacity of 17,500 people for basketball games and up to 18,000 for concerts and other events.

While the area is still under construction, the building is mostly complete. There are still finishing touches to be wrapped up, but everything looks suitable for events as of now. Most of the unfinished things are murals and decorations in areas that will never be seen by the large majority of people that enter the building.

There’s plenty of reason for optimism as the new building officially opens up. Commissioner Silver said it will bring an NBA All-Star game in the future, although he could not commit to exactly when that would be. Both Middleton and Thon Maker were excited about the new home for the team as well.

The first event inside of Fiserv Forum is set for Sept. 4 when The Killers are in concert.

Bucks bolster training camp roster with summer league standout

For the second day in a row the Milwaukee Bucks made an addition to their roster with the start of training camp only a little over a month away.

Christian Wood and the Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to a deal, as first reported by Yahoo! Sports.

Wood spent time this summer with the Milwaukee Bucks as a member of their Las Vegas summer league roster. The 6-foot-11 center averaged 20.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per summer league contest. He was honored as part of the All-Las Vegas summer league first-team.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the deal is non-guaranteed.

Wood has played in 30 games in the NBA across two seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Charlotte Hornets. He has averaged 3.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game in his NBA career.

Report: Milwaukee Bucks re-sign Shabazz Muhammad

As the quiet period of the NBA’s offseason has officially arrived the Milwaukee Bucks are still making moves.

Most free agents have decided on their destinations and teams have rosters that are mostly set as training camps are set to open in roughly six weeks. However the Bucks have added Shabazz Muhammad to the roster before the start of the season, according to Yahoo!.

Muhammad spent last season splitting time between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Milwaukee Bucks. He accepted a buyout with Minnesota before joining the Bucks near the end of February. According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the deal is an opportunity for him to earn a roster spot during training camp.

In his time in Milwaukee Muhammad averaged 8.5 points per game over 11 games with the Bucks. He also appeared in four of Milwaukee’s seven playoff games against the Boston Celtics, including a pair of 11-point games.

Bucks to play on Christmas Day

For the first time in 41 years, the Milwaukee Bucks will be playing on Christmas Day.

The NBA released a list of its marquee games Wednesday, including for Christmas, which has become one of the biggest days for the league each year. And the Bucks will take their place on the national stage, as they travel to New York to take on the Knicks in Madison Square Garden. The game will tipoff at 11 a.m. and air on ESPN.

The last time Milwaukee played on Christmas came in 1977, when the Bucks beat the Kansas City Kings 131-122. Overall, it’ll be the fourth time they’ve played on the holiday and they own a 2-2 record.

Here’s a complete list of the Christmas Day lineup:

Milwaukee Bucks at New York Knicks, 11 a.m.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets, 2 p.m.
Philadelphia 76ers at Boston Celtics, 4:30 p.m.
Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors, 7 p.m.
Portland Trailblazers at Utah Jazz, 9:30 p.m.

Milwaukee Bucks announce arena naming rights

Since the Milwaukee Bucks announced plans to build a new arena the building was referred to as the Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center.

That is no more.

On Thursday afternoon the franchise announced that it had reached a deal with Fiserv, a technology provider serving the financial industry, on a 25-year agreement for the naming rights to the building which will now be known as Fiserv Forum.

The building will open up with a public celebration on August 26 before holding its first event, a concert featuring The Killers, on September 4.

Fiserv Forum will be the home of both the Milwaukee Bucks and the Marquette Golden Eagles basketball teams as well as other various events and concerts including Justin Timberlake, P!nk, Elton John, Fleetwood Mac, and the Foo Fighters.

Report: Jabari Parker has agreed to deal with Chicago

Jabari Parker is on the move.

The former No. 2 overall pick has agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal with the Chicago Bulls, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

“Jabari and I felt it was in the best interest of both he and the team to rescind our qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent,” general manager Jon Horst said in a press release. “We appreciate everything Jabari has brought to our team and our community over the last four years and we wish him well.”

Milwaukee was expecting to be able to build around Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo, but a pair of torn ACLs in Parker’s right knee largely killed that hope. The former Duke star has missed 145 games in his first four years because of the injuries. He played 31 games this season after being out for close to a calendar year, scoring 12.6 points and grabbing 4.9 rebounds per game.

“I am extremely grateful to the Bucks and the incredible fans of Milwaukee for showing me so much love and encouragement,” Parker said in the release. “Thank you to my teammates for being like brothers to me. Also, the medical and performance staff led by Troy Flanagan and Suki Hobson deserve my unending thanks for their dedication in helping me get stronger and healthier every day.”

Parker’s injury history and Milwaukee’s salary cap situation made a big contract unlikely on the Bucks’ part. There is also potential future deals for guards Malcolm Brogdon, Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton. All of it made for the end of Parker’s time in Milwaukee.

Report: Bucks agree to terms with Lopez

The Milwaukee Bucks may have a logjam at the center position for the time being.

According to ESPN the Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to terms with veteran center Brook Lopez. The deal is reportedly for one-year worth $3.4 million as Milwaukee’s bi-annual exception.

Lopez is a 10 season NBA veteran with career averages of 17.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Nets before joining the Los Angeles Lakers via trade prior to the 2017-18 season.

Last year Lopez averaged a career-low in points with 13.0 per game but shot 34-percent from 3-point range.

The Bucks now have Thon Maker, John Henson, Tyler Zeller, and Lopez under contract for next season at the center position. It could be possible that the team moves on from Zeller, as his contract is not guaranteed.

Giannis Antetokounmpo named NBA 2K19 cover athlete

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo received good news on Monday when he was officially named the cover athlete for NBA 2K19.

Antetokounmpo picture will be featured on the cover of the standard edition of the game which is set to release in September. The game also will have a special cover for the 20th anniversary of the game which features Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James.

Antetokounmpo becomes the first ever international player to be named the cover athlete. He joins the likes of James, Steph Curry, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Paul George, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul as active players that have graced the game’s cover. Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Kevin Garnett are among the retired players that have been featured as well.

With LeBron James leaving, the east is for Giannis’ taking

The Milwaukee Bucks have not had the best player in the Eastern Conference since 1974 when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar took home the league’s MVP award as a member of the Bucks. Since then the conference has been dominated by the likes of Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James.

With James’ announcement on Sunday that he is joining the Los Angeles Lakers via free agency, the Eastern Conference is now up for grabs. James had been on the team that represented the conference in the NBA Finals each June from 2011 until 2018.

The door is certainly open for the talent-laden Boston Celtics, the young and exciting Philadelphia 76ers, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Antetokounmpo now becomes the presumptive best player in the Eastern Conference, with a chance to enter his prime with a wide-open conference.

There is still talent in the conference, for sure, but there’s no doubting that each of the – at the very least – top five players in basketball now reside out west. Antetokounmpo very well may be the highest-ranked player in the east.

There’s certainly competition, as players like Al Horford, Kyrie Irving, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons all play their basketball in the Eastern Conference. But of those players, there’s not a single one of them that Milwaukee would even think about swapping with Antetokounmpo, and it would be tough to argue that their respective teams would not jump at the chance.

Antetokounmpo still has plenty to work on in order to reach his ceiling. There’s no doubt his passing has room to grow, as does his ability to score from the outside as well as his basketball IQ.

Like their star, the Bucks have plenty of room to improve the roster as they attempt to win a playoff series for the first time since the spring of 2001. Milwaukee is in a cap-space bind for the time being, but the future of Antetokounmpo is bright.

Earlier in 2018 Lakers’ President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson was fined by the NBA for tampering as a result of comments me made regarding Antetokounmpo. Those comments seemed to be good natured and unworthy of a fine according to public opinion.

“He’s going to be like an MVP, a champion,” Johnson told ESPN. “This dude, he’s going to put Milwaukee on the map. And I think he’s going to bring them a championship one day.”

While Johnson isn’t directly helping to build the Bucks into a contender, he just did help Antetokounmpo become the best player in the conference. Now it’s up for Antetokounmpo to take things from there and put Milwaukee on the map.

Bucks center involved in on-court fight

Milwaukee Bucks center Thon Maker was playing for team Australia in a FIBA World Cup qualifying game against the Philippines.

Australia was leading the Philippines by 31 points when a fight broke out on the court.

Maker was on the floor when the altercation began and found himself squarely in the middle of things.

For his part in the altercation, Maker was one of four Australian players ejected. A total of nine players from the Philippines were thrown out as well and then had to continue with only three Filipino players remaining on the floor. Two of the three players for the Philippines fouled out and the game was then called with Australia leading 89-53.