MILWAUKEE --Finally the Milwaukee Bucks can look past the draft, now that No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker is safely in the fold.
Summer league in Las Vegas is coming up in less than two weeks, and a voluntary camp for some of the young players on the roster will start a few days earlier.
The league's free agency period opens Tuesday but in reality already is in full swing with stars LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony opting out of their contracts to become free agents.
It's clear that the Bucks are a work in progress and the roster at this moment could be shuffled a bit before fall training camp opens at the end of September. The moves could be trades or free-agent signings.
"We'll go into free agency and we'll evaluate what's best for us," Bucks general manager John Hammond said. "One thing Marc (Lasry) and Wes (Edens, the owners) have talked about is, 'Let's build this team. Let's try to build through the draft. Let's not get impatient.'
"I don't think it's the right thing to think about to add a player to our roster that's going to help us win three to five more games next year. That's not what it's about. It's about building this team somewhat organically and with some patience along the way."
The Bucks do not have the free agent worries that dominated last summer. Shooting guards Monta Ellis and J.J. Redick were unrestricted free agents and moved on to Dallas and the Los Angeles Clippers, respectively. Brandon Jennings was a restricted free agent and eventually was traded to Detroit in the deal that brought point guard Brandon Knight and small forward Khris Middleton to Milwaukee.
Forward Ekpe Udoh is a restricted free agent this summer and it appears unlikely he will return. Point guard Ramon Sessions and forward Jeff Adrien, obtained at the trade deadline from Charlotte, are unrestricted free agents.
Key players are under contract, including Knight, center Zaza Pachulia, forward Ersan Ilyasova, forward-center John Henson and second-year guard-forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Knight is in the fourth and final year of his rookie-scale deal and is eligible for a contract extension before the October deadline.
It will be interesting to see if the Bucks seek to sign Knight to a multiyear extension or allow him to play in the final year of his deal, which would lead to restricted free agency for him next summer. He led the Bucks in scoring (17.9 average) in his first season with the franchise.
Serious questions remain about the two highest salaried players on the team, center Larry Sanders and shooting guard O.J. Mayo.
The 6-foot-11 Sanders was limited to 23 games last season after suffering two major injuries and finishing the season on a five-game league suspension for marijuana use.
"Larry is having a good summer, and I think he's doing everything he can to put himself in a position to be successful," Hammond said. "All Larry has to do is be on the floor. Everything else comes very easy to him once he gets out there.
"He knows that. Having him on the floor is a huge attribute to our team."
Following a standout third pro season in 2012-'13, Sanders signed a four-year, $44 million contract extension that will kick in this fall.
But his 2013-'14 season was a disaster.
Sanders was out eight weeks early last season after undergoing surgery for a torn ligament in his right thumb, suffered in a brawl in a downtown Milwaukee club. He returned and was making some strides when he collided with Houston's James Harden on Feb. 8 and suffered an fracture near his right eye.
That injury caused him to miss 27 games.
"He's 100 percent healthy and he feels like he's in great shape right now," Hammond said. "Larry's body is one of those where he's never going to get out of shape for the most part.
"He can run all day. It's not the physical issue with him; that's the easy part for him. It's just making sure he's focused and ready to play."
Hammond said he was unsure if Sanders would be in Las Vegas for the voluntary workouts in July.
"That's optional for players," Hammond said. "I think that guys that show up in a scenario like that are basically there to support the young players on the team, nothing more than that."
Mayo played just 52 games and made only 23 starts for the Bucks last season after signing a three-year, $24 million contract.
He missed games due to illness and conditioning and gained noticeable weight.
In four of his first five seasons in the NBA, Mayo had played in every game.
"You hope it's kind of an anomaly, what happened with him," Hammond said. "In the five previous years leading up to this year, he had missed one game. He was like an NBA iron man.
"I expect him back and to have a great year."
The Bucks appear to be light in the backcourt right now, with Knight, second-year player Nate Wolters and Mayo the only pure guards on the roster.
Veteran Carlos Delfino, who missed all of last season after undergoing foot surgery, can play shooting guard and small forward. Antetokounmpo and Middleton can do the same, and second-round pick Damien Inglis has the ability to play at shooting guard, according to Bucks officials.
The Bucks are stocked with forwards including Ilyasova, Parker, Henson, second-round pick Johnny O'Bryant and Chris Wright, who does not have a guaranteed contract. Parker likely will play both at power forward and small forward.
Sanders, Pachulia and Miroslav Raduljica are the centers on the roster.
The next order of business is summer league, which runs in Las Vegas from July 11-21. Parker and Antetokounmpo will get their first chance to play together and Wolters will be the starting point guard. Wright and O'Bryant also are expected to be on the roster.
The 6-8 Inglis, the 31st overall pick by the Bucks on Thursday, has a broken foot and will miss summer league but maygo to Las Vegas to get acquainted with his new teammates. Hammond said the player from French Guiana should be recovered in time for training camp.
The Bucks will open summer league playJuly 11 against Cleveland in a game that is expected to feature a matchup of the top two draft picks, the Cavaliers' Andrew Wiggins and the Bucks' Parker.
"It should be fun," Hammond said. "Any time you go in with this kind of pick, with the stature of Jabari coming in, it makes it exciting."
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