- Charles Gardner scraped together some more quotes from Larry Harris on the Bell situation. LH really wants us to believe the Bucks will be better defensively, though in fairness it'd be hard for the Bucks to be worse defensively than they were in 06/07. It sounds as though the Bucks are placing a high (and perhaps misplaced) value on Desmond Mason's defensive abilities, given the team otherwise really didn't do much to improve its defense. Either that or they think Larry Krystkowiak can simply get them to play much harder than previously.
"He got an offer sheet, and we matched it," Harris said at a news conference at the Cousins Center. "That's the way restricted free agency works.
"We never devalued what he did as a player. Never equate what we thought his production was by the amount of money we offered him. It's just the way the business is done today.
"There was another team that said, 'Hey, he's valuable to us.' We always felt we were going to match (an offer). You get into a war of words, and that's not uncommon. It's something we can move forward from."
"We have a lot of versatility," Harris said. "We can score, but now we have some defensive components that we didn't have last year
I know there's a little skepticism, 'We've heard the story about defense the last three or four years, and are we going to see it?' I truly do believe it; it's not lip service."
- Gardner also reports Yi is scheduled to arrive in Milwaukee October 4th. However, Larry Harris is hoping it might be possible for him to skip the Chinese national team's end of September games in order to arrive in Milwaukee in time for the opening of training camp October 2nd.
- Yi had a quiet, foul-plagued night in the Chinese national team's 93-92 exhibition loss to the Australian Brisbane Bullets yesterday. He scored just 9 points along with three rebounds and two blocks in 24 minutes. Yao Ming had 28 to lead China.
- Marc Stein ranks the Bucks' offseason as the fourth-best in the East.
Yet you can understand why the Bucks feel victorious no matter what skeptics say. For awhile there, it looked as though they were going to get neither of their top two offseason targets, with Williams threatening to bolt for Miami because the Bucks' initial offer wasn't close to where it ended up ... and with Yi seemingly determined to hold out well into the season in an attempt to force Milwaukee to trade him.
To have secured both signatures by Sept. 1? A dream double for Milwaukee.