Milwaukee Bucks owners optimistic

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Charles F. Gardner
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
July 15, 2015

Milwaukee Bucks owners Wes Edens and Marc Lasry made an appearance at the team's summer league game Monday, and their smiles gave it away.

Yes, it has been a successful summer so far for their on-the-rise franchise.

A big vote in the Wisconsin Legislature is expected today—an up or down decision on the financing plans for a new downtown arena that would secure the franchise's future in Milwaukee.

On the basketball side, Jabari Parker is recovering well from his knee injury. Khris Middleton and Greg Monroe are newly-signed free agents.

And the talk at the NBA Summer League is about a Bucks team that appears ready to be an Eastern Conference contender.

Edens said it's easy to say what the signing of the 6-foot-11 Monroe signifies, after the Bucks won a four-team battle for his services.

“Best-case scenario; that's all you can say about that,” Edens said. “We're so excited to have him. The little time I've spent with him, he seems like a terrific guy, and you can see what he does on the basketball court.

“He's just a great fit for us.”

Monroe agreed to a three-year, $50 million maximum contract with the Bucks, including a player option in the third season.

Monroe's agent, David Falk, praised Lasry for making a strong impression at the early morning meeting July 1 when the Bucks made their sales pitch to the former Detroit Pistons center-forward.

“It's the first time I had a meeting start at 2 o'clock in the morning,” Lasry said. “I thought there was a great rapport. I thought Greg wanted to come to Milwaukee.

“I think he loved Jason (Kidd) and the team that we had. He's a very smart young man. I think he looked at it and said, 'I want to come to somebody who has a shot at winning.'

“I think the Bucks are all about that now.”

Lasry said he went into the meeting with Monroe not knowing if the Bucks had a chance but left thinking “we have a real shot at this.”

Monroe and Falk also met with representatives of the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers.

“People were shocked that we were able to land somebody like Greg,” Lasry said. “When that happens, I think it sends a message that Milwaukee is a place to be.”

Edens said he was in Jamaica on business, so he was unable to attend the meeting in Washington, D.C.

Lasry, Kidd, general manager John Hammond, assistant general manager David Morway and Alex Lasry, the Bucks' vice president of strategy and operations, formed the Bucks delegation.

“Marc went down there and Jason went down there,” Edens said. “It showed the level of commitment we have to building the organization, and I think he (Monroe) really responded well to that.”

Monroe, Parker, Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Michael Carter-Williams have visited Las Vegas to support the Bucks' summer league entry and build team camaraderie. John Henson, Tyler Ennis and Jerryd Bayless also have been around.

“I went over two days ago to watch these guys work out,” Edens said. “They looked great, too. They're working hard.”

Edens said he is hopeful for good news on the arena front. The state Senate is scheduled to vote on the arena issue today.

“We expect success,” Edens said. “It's something where there have been lots of opinions about it. But I think it's such a good deal for the state; it's good for the city and good for us.

“It's a good partnership. I'm rooting for the best outcome.”

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