Report: Bucks Finalizing Deal with Chris Copeland

The Milwaukee Bucks are “finalizing a deal” with forward Chris Copeland, according to Marc Stein of ESPN. The Bucks were one of several teams interested, including the likes of the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers.

Signing Copeland should mean the end of a busy offseason in Milwaukee. He currently stands to serve as the 15th and final roster spot. Though the terms of his deal are yet to be released, my guess is he’ll get something around two years and $5.75 million total with a mid-level cap room exception.

The Bucks signed a shooter in Copeland
The Bucks signed a shooter in Copeland

Copeland has enjoyed a unique path to the NBA, spending six seasons in Europe and the NBA D-League before finally catching on in the NBA. He broke in with the Knicks in 2012 and averaged 8.7 points and 2.1 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game, while shooting 42.1% on threes.

That last bit is important: he’s a shooter. The Bucks have emphasized improving their outside shooting this offseason, and along with the additions of Grevis Vazquez and Rashad Vaughn, Copeland offers another dose of spacing. The key with Chris is that he’s 6’8” and therefore capable of playing both forward positions. After trading veteran Jared Dudley to the Wizards, the Bucks simply didn’t have a combo-forward capable of stretching the floor well and defending both spots. Copeland essentially serves as a cheaper but less effective replacement for Dudley.

The Bucks are hoping that last year’s decline wasn’t a sign of age (he’s 31 and now the oldest Buck by three years) and that he can recapture the form of his previous two seasons. In his first two years in the league, he shot an impressive 42% from deep and had a PER of 17.2, above the league average. This past year, however, his three-point percentage plummeted to 31.1% and his PER similarly dropped to 7.4. Though his NBA sample size isn’t huge, the Bucks are betting on the right coach and system bringing the best out of Copeland, who should still have plenty in the tank.

This is a pretty low-risk signing for the Bucks, one that shouldn’t move the needle too much in either direction. At worst, he gets glued to the bench on a cheap salary and can still provide a bit of leadership. At best, he’ll play 15 minutes a night on a cheap salary, and help spread the floor and allow Jason Kidd to toy with some funky smaller lineups.


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