The Milwaukee Bucks have officially signed Marques Bolden to a two-way contract.
NBA Insider Shams Charania broke the news that the former Duke big man would be joining the Bucks on Saturday afternoon.
This week, the Bucks announced they would be cutting down the roster and released Jazian Gortman and Drew Timme with both players on camp deals and with no real expectations for them to stay on the roster. The most surprising move was releasing Omari Moore from his two-way deal, having signed out of the undrafted pool.
Bolden signs to take up the second two-way spot on the roster and becomes a two-way player alongside guards Lindell Wigginton and TyTy Washington.
Reaction to the Bucks signing Marques Bolden to a two-way deal
In 2019, Bolden was signed by the Cleveland Cavaliers, having gone undrafted. He stayed in Cleveland for the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons before spending the following years in the G-League with the Canton Charge, then had two years as a member of the Salt Lake City Stars.
He has been ever-present in NBA preseasons with teams clearly willing to offer the 25-year-old the opportunity to prove himself and that there is still potential for him to grow. Bolden was a part of the Bucks preseason roster last season, where he made four appearances and has featured in three preseason games for the Bucks heading into the 2023-24 season.
In terms of NBA game time, there is very little to go off of with Bolden, having only featured seven times for the Cavs, and that was over two years ago. His stats in both the G-League and preseason do mean this is an intriguing signing for the Bucks, but they feel he is talented enough to be a part of the franchise in some way if they were willing to release Moore.
Per the G-League, Bolden averaged just four points and five rebounds in the three games he featured in last season. His 2021-22 season was far more impressive, scoring 12.3 points on 52 percent shooting from the field and just under 40 percent from three. This makes it interesting as to why they have decided to add him to a two-way rather than last season.
At 6-foot-10, he adds to the big man depth and allows Adrian Griffin to at least have an extra big body on the bench should he need it. Having Moore alongside Washington and Wigginton left you with three guards, so should a big man on the roster get injured, that void of a big body could not be filled.
What makes this even stranger as a signing are his preseason stats, and granted, they don’t mean a whole load, but when deciding who can step up, they should factor in. He has averaged just 1.7 points and shot 14.3 percent across the three preseason games and grabbed 3.7 rebounds, which is not terrible. I imagine the Bucks have looked at that rebounding and decided that is what they want from a two-way player with guards already occupying spots.
Having played in the NBA and struggled for minutes, Bolden now has had time to go and grow his game and will feel he has something to prove that he belongs in the Association. He adds help in the frontcourt and being on a two-way allows him to both see game time with the Wisconsin Herd and then keep building that experience in an NBA locker room.
With the release of Moore, we knew the Bucks would have the opportunity to go and fill the final two-way void and they have done it quicker than some may have thought, suggesting this move was planned.
Excited to see what Bolden can do for the Bucks as the front office and coaching staff clearly believe in him.
Stay tuned to see how Bolden may feature for the Bucks and for more analysis as the NBA season gets underway.