With draft approaching, Kidd likes Bucks' possibilities
KOHLER, Wis. (AP) Posing for pictures with Rory McIlroy, smiling Milwaukee Bucks coach Jason Kidd looked as if he was eagerly awaiting a chance to go 18 holes with one of the world's best golfers.
Basketball, though, is always a hot topic with Kidd, even in a fieldstone barn overlooking a picturesque golf course along Lake Michigan.
Almost a year after taking over the Bucks, Kidd likes the possibilities for tweaking the roster this offseason. There are positive vibes after a surprising 41-win season and a trip to the playoffs for the young team.
They got even younger last week after general manager John Hammond traded veteran Ersan Ilyasova to Detroit for Caron Butler and Shawne Williams. Those two players are expected to be cut, so they're most valuable for expiring contracts that would give Milwaukee more salary cap space.
Workouts over the last week for the NBA draft on June 25 have provided a glimpse at the latest potential newcomers. Arkansas forward Bobby Portis and Notre Dame guard Jerian Grant were among prospects who worked out for Milwaukee on Wednesday.
''Yeah, I like what Hammond has done, the position he has put us in pre-draft,'' Kidd said last week at media day for the PGA Championship to be held in August at Whistling Straits. He posed for pictures with McIlroy after giving him an honorary Bucks jersey.
The next time Kidd poses for such a photo will likely be at the introduction of the Bucks' top draft pick.
''We'll see what happens,'' Kidd said. ''You've got a lot of different things, possibilities that you're not landlocked to get better, and that means not moving a major piece.''
The Bucks have the 17th overall pick in the first round. Already in the market for a big man, the Bucks' need at power forward grew following last week's trade.
Ilyasova was known more for his outside shooting. A big body to help rebound and defend at both center and power forward would help in Milwaukee.
UCLA's Kevon Looney, Louisville's Montrezl Harrell and Portis are among the frontcourt prospects who worked out over the last week who could be available with the 17th pick.
The 6-foot-9 Looney, a freshman, is a Milwaukee native who averaged 12.3 points and 9.5 rebounds with 14 double-doubles.
The 6-8 Harrell might be a little undersized for a power forward, but exudes toughness.
Bucks scouting director Billy McKinney loves the versatility offered by the 6-11 Portis. His length and skill set might make him a good fit with the Bucks' young franchise forwards, the 6-foot-11 Giannis Antetokounmpo and 6-foot-8 Jabari Parker.
''It was like a round of `Mortal Kombat' out there,'' McKinney said Wednesday about the workouts at the team's practice facility involving Harrell and Portis.
Versatility is important in Milwaukee, which also has the 6-foot-6 Michael Carter-Williams at point guard. The trade of Ilyasova also puts Milwaukee in better shape to re-sign starting shooting guard Khris Middleton, a restricted free agent; and Jared Dudley, who has a player option.
Kidd liked Ilyasova's toughness and willingness to do whatever asked of him. But the deal offers the team more options in the offseason.
''I think with the move of Ers, there will be a lot of chatter before the draft, with the cap room,'' Kidd said.
Note: Avid golfer Kidd joked that he was hoping to serve as McIlroy's caddy for a practice round for the PGA, which will be held at the links-style course near Sheboygan, about 55 miles north of Milwaukee along Lake Michigan. ''Moving forward, I think all the majors except one being links style puts him right there in position to win,'' Kidd said.