Milwaukee Bucks: Two important dates for the Bucks roster are approaching

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 9: (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 9: (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /

August 31 and October 31 will be important days for the Milwaukee Bucks to make roster-shaping decisions.

Fans of the Milwaukee Bucks, like fans of just about every team that isn’t the Golden State Warriors, love to look at ways their team could make either incremental or monumental improvements to their roster.

From signing Jason Terry to trading for Kyrie Irving and everything in between, Bucks fans have tons of ideas on what Milwaukee should do. Some of those ideas are pretty logical–some are pure fantasy.

All of them require some sort of roster change, which is not an easy thing for the Bucks to do right now. Milwaukee is over the luxury tax line with 15 players on the team, meaning nobody can be signed and it’s harder for the team to make other moves because they’re in tax territory.

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Two dates are approaching that will have a substantial impact on Milwaukee’s roster. August 31 and October 31 are huge days in the NBA CBA, even if they’re not talked about in the same way that the opening of free agency or the NBA Draft are.

August 31 is the last day teams can use the stretch provision on a waived player. If the Bucks were to stretch Spencer Hawes, or even Rashad Vaughn, they’d have to do it by Thursday, August 31. That’s because after that date, when a played is waived their upcoming season is paid as usual, then the remaining seasons after that are divided out over double the length of the remainder of the deal, plus one year.

Since Hawes has just one season left, the stretch provision does nothing for him in September and onwards. If the Bucks want to deal with paying him less but for three more years, they have to make that call in less than a week.

Vaughn could also be stretched, at a cheaper rate. He’s only got one season left on his deal, for the moment. That brings us to the other important upcoming date–October 31.

First round draft picks all sign basically the same contract, with differences in salary that come down to the year and place in the round they were picked. They get two guaranteed seasons, then two team option years. NBA teams get until October 31 before a season to extend the option for the year after–so Vaughn’s 2017-18 option was taken by the Bucks in October 2016.

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The team will have until October 31–which falls on a Tuesday this year–to decide if they’ll take Vaughn in 2018-19, the last year of his deal. If the team picks up that option, Vaughn will remain with the Bucks for another two years starting now, and the team can then extend him a qualifying offer in the summer of 2019 to make him an extended free agent.

It’s not just Vaughn who that date will affect, but the decision on his option is the only hard one for the Bucks. Thon Maker‘s third year will have to be picked up by then too, but based on his rookie year that’s a no-brainer for the Bucks.

The other rookie scale contract that matters for Milwaukee right now is Jabari Parker. The October 31 date means nothing to Jabari since he’ll already be on the fourth year of his rookie deal by then–October 16 is the last day the Bucks could reach an extension with him, since it’s the last day before the 2017-18 NBA regular season kicks off.

Next: Meeting the 11 players the Herd picked in the expansion draft

Given that no reports of those talks starting have surfaced yet, and both sides are probably better off to wait and see then to sign a deal now, that day doesn’t seem quite as important. Still, it’s worth keeping in mind, as are the other two–even inaction on those dates will speak to decisions made about the Milwaukee Bucks roster going forward.