Milwaukee Bucks: Instant reactions to waiving Mamadi Diakite

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 07: (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 07: (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

As we edge closer and closer to training camp opening up for the Milwaukee Bucks on September 27th, the team has made a transaction involving one of their younger players. According to Keith Smith of Spotrac, the Bucks have waived forward Mamadi Diakite.

The move comes as a bit of a surprise as it’s only a few days away from the beginning of training camp and Diakite was on a standard contract, after being elevated from a two-way contract last year.

After going undrafted out of Virginia in 2020, Diakite signed with the Bucks on a two-way contract. He played well enough in a limited sample in the NBA as well as in the G League bubble, where he won the championship with the Lakeland Magic, to be given a standard contract.

In 14 games with the Bucks last season, and one start, Diakite averaged 3.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 10.1 minutes per game. In the G League, Diakite got to show more of his game, playing nearly 28 minutes per game and averaged 18.5 points, 10.4 rebounds, 2.0 assists, and 2.1 blocks in 12 games with the Magic.

Finally, in his first stint in the Summer League with the Bucks, Diakite played in five games and averaged 9.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 0.6 blocks in 24.7 minutes per game. He didn’t have the best showing in the summer, but it was also expected among fans that he would get a chance in the rotation this season with the Bucks limited depth in the frontcourt.

Reactions to the Milwaukee Bucks waiving Mamadi Diakite

Although this move does come as a relative surprise, considering it brings the Bucks to 18 contracts now and team’s are allowed to have up to 20 in training camp, there were also some indications earlier that a move like this could be a possibility.

In an interview with The Athletic’s Eric Nehm (subscription required), Bucks general manager Jon Horst was asked about the Bucks lack of depth in the frontcourt. Horst, understandably, downplayed those concerns by mentioning that players like Semi Ojeleye and Thanasis Antetokounmpo could fill the voids in the frontcourt as the Bucks look to be more versatile on defense with switching.

Horst even mentioned rookie forward Sandro Mamukelashvili as someone who could step in and play some minutes. As I read that, I noticed there was a notable omission from the players who could step in and that was Diakite.

If the Bucks didn’t believe he was worth giving a chance to with their potentially thin frontcourt, then it makes sense why they would waive him. However, this does leave them even more thin up front but at 18 contracts, there is still room for the team to add a big or two to come in and compete for an end of the roster spot.

Many were expecting the release of guard Elijah Bryant as part of the roster crunch, and while it could very much still happen, it appears that he’ll get a chance to compete for a spot in camp while Diakite is left to find a new home.

The 24-year-old showed promise in his limited NBA sample and blossomed in his G League minutes and with the return of the Wisconsin Herd this season, he could have had a chance to go down and hone his game even more.

I can’t say that I’m too broken up about letting Diakite go. He’ll be 25 in January and certainly had holes in his game that could have held him back. A below average showing from him in Summer League also didn’t help his cause and if they believe that it makes more sense to either bring in an NBA-ready big or go after another, younger big prospect, then I understand the logic there.

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It will be interesting to see where Diakite lands as he should get a chance with another team to prove if he deserves a spot on an NBA roster or a flier in the G League.