For now, the hopes of Wisconsin native and former Badgers standout Bronson Koenig to play professional basketball for his home-state team are over. The Milwaukee Bucks requested waivers on Koenig on Thursday, making the undrafted rookie a free agent.
Koenig, a 6-foot-6 guard from La Crosse, originally signed a two-way contract – reportedly for two years – with the Bucks on July 6. But the 22-year-old University of Wisconsin graduate struggled during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, averaging 5.2 points and 1.0 rebounds in five games for Milwaukee’s squad. In 15.8 minutes per contest, Koenig shot just 29.4 percent, an unimpressive mark for the player who holds the Badgers’ program record for most career 3-pointers, with 270, and who scored 14.5 points per game as a senior.
Koenig’s two-way deal would have allowed him to spend most of his time on the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s NBA Gatordate League affiliate, and get called up to the Bucks for as many as 45 days during the season. It’s a flexible, extra roster spot, and a useful arrangement, giving a player regular minutes in the G League and offering the opportunity for a promotion to the NBA. According to the terms of the two-way contracts, players make a pro-rated NBA salary while with the parent club, while earning G League pay when they’re with the affiliate team.
Koenig, who led La Crosse’s Aquinas High School to two WIAA Division 3 state championships, averaged 9.9 points, 2.0 assists and 2.0 rebounds in four years at Wisconsin. He had appeared at Bucks community events and it was presumed he would be one of the faces of the Herd, the Oshkosh-based team entering its first season in the G League.
Waiving Koenig, though, doesn’t necessarily spell the end of Koenig’s time playing basketball in Wisconsin or eliminate the possibility of him one day appearing for the Bucks. The Herd could still bring back Koenig on a strictly G League contract, though he now has the option to sign with any NBA or G League team, as well as to go play overseas, where his steady, fundamentally sound game might be a better fit.
With Thursday’s move, Milwaukee now has both of its two-way spots open, having also parted ways with Jalen Moore earlier this month. The Bucks begin training camp with their media day event on Monday at the new Froedtert & Medical College of Wisconsin Sports Science Center in Downtown. Their first practice will be on Tuesday.
Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.
After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like CBSSports.com, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.
Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.