Lure of Kidd helped draw Bayless to Milwaukee
ST. FRANCIS, Wis. — Jerryd Bayless is just 25 years old, but he’s already experienced a lot in his NBA career. He’s played on playoff teams and bottom feeders, having been traded four times in six years.
Now Bayless is joining his sixth team, as the combo guard officially inked his contract with the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday morning. The deal is for two years and $6 million, according to multiple reports.
"It’s another stop and helping this team out any way I can is what I’m looking forward to," Bayless said. "They have a great young nucleus with a new direction with coach (Jason) Kidd and ownership.
"It’s a great opportunity. I’m looking forward to being here and hopefully helping this organization for as long as I can."
Bayless will join Brandon Knight, Kendall Marshall, Nate Wolters and O.J. Mayo in Milwaukee’s backcourt. The 6-foot-3 guard has listened to many debate whether he’s really a point guard or a shooting guard, part of the reason he’s bounced around so much in such a short time.
With the acquisition of Marshall off waivers from the Lakers, the Bucks could use Bayless and Brandon Knight at shooting guard.
"That’s kind of been the question about me, and I’m at the point now where I just want to play," Bayless said of playing point or shooting guard. "Whatever I can do to help this team. I feel I can do both well.
"Whatever I can do to help this team win and continue to go down the path they are looking to is what I’m going to try to do."
Picked 11th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft out of the University of Arizona by Indiana, Bayless was immediately traded to Portland along with Ike Diogu for Jarrett Jack, Josh McRoberts and Brandon Rush.
Bayless averaged just 6.8 points over 15.4 minutes per game over two years with the Trail Blazers before he was dealt to New Orleans for a first-round draft pick just before the 2010 season.
After just 11 games with New Orleans, Bayless was shipped with Peja Stojakovic to Toronto for David Anderson, Marcus Banks and Jack.
Bayless averaged 10.5 points per game while playing for a pair of bad Raptors teams, earning himself a two-year deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. He scored 8.7 points per game off the bench in his first season in Memphis and was carrying a 8.1 scoring average last season when he was traded to Boston as part of a three-team deal in January.
Getting a chance to play a career-high 25.3 minutes per game on a bad Celtics team, Bayless averaged 10.1 points in 41 games.
When the Celtics drafted Marcus Smart sixth overall in June, Bayless knew his time in Boston was over.
"I can put two and two together," Bayless said. "It is just the direction they went. I’m moving on."
Bayless was drawn to the Bucks because of the opportunity to play for and learn from Kidd. Many wondered if the name recognition carried by Kidd would draw free agents to Milwaukee, and while Bayless isn’t a marquee addition, he sought out the Bucks partially because of their head coach.
"J-Kidd is a young coach but he has been in the league for a long time," Bayless said. "Just being around him and learning from a player of that magnitude, who now has switched over to coaching, is something I’m really looking forward to.
"I think he can help me in a variety of different ways, not only from the point guard position, just his view of the game. I won’t say he’s once in a generation, but he pretty much is. There are not a lot of guys come around like that. So just learning his views and the way he thinks about the game is something that I really want to do."
With the Bucks expected to feature a young roster with at least three teenagers next season, Bayless will be one of the older players in the locker room although he’ll just be 26 years old come the start of the season.
Bayless feels traveling around the NBA and experiencing as much as he already has will allow him to be someone the young players on Milwaukee’s roster can turn to.
"I’ve been through a lot of situations," Bayless said. "I’ve been through a lot of different coaches, and I feel like I’ve seen a lot that the league has to offer. Just bringing that information and trying to teach the younger guys things that should be done and the way they should conduct themselves is something I’m going to try to do any way I can.
"Whatever coach Kidd needs me to do is what I’m looking forward to doing."
Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter