Visit to McCarthy's Hometown...........Kenny Mayne

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bucks are close to bringing back Desmond Mason

Desmond Mason felt angry and betrayed when he left Milwaukee less than two years ago. In a radio interview at the time of the deal, Mason called Harris "a snake in the grass" and said he "flat out lied to my face" about the chances of being traded. But that seems like so much ancient history to both sides now.

The 29-year-old free agent isn't harboring resentment against the Bucks any longer and is poised to agree to a multiyear contract with his former team after playing the past two seasons with the New Orleans Hornets.

"We've had some really good talks with Larry (Harris)," said Mason's agent, Roger Montgomery, on Monday. "We're optimistic that Desmond can return."

The Bucks have targeted Mason to provide depth at the small forward position, where Bobby Simmons is trying to make a comeback after missing all of last season due to a serious right foot injury.

Mason was traded to the Hornets in exchange for Magloire, the Bucks' 2006 first-round draft pick and cash. In two seasons with the Hornets, the former Oklahoma State star played in 145 games and started 130.

During the past season, Mason started 75 games and might have played in all 82, but he fractured his cheek and nose in a late-season collision with Seattle's Chris Wilcox. Mason averaged 13.7 points, third among the Hornets' regulars, and 4.6 rebounds while playing 34.3 minutes per game.

"We've had good discussions and are optimistic it's heading in the right direction," Harris said on Monday.

The Hornets drafted Kansas small forward Julian Wright in the first round (13th overall) and recently agreed to a contract with free-agent small forward Morris Peterson, so it was clear that Mason would be moving to another team. He spent most of his two seasons with the Hornets playing his home games in Oklahoma City.

"He fits what they're all about," Montgomery said of the Bucks. "It's a blue-collar town, and he's a blue-collar player.

"He fits the Bucks' chemistry, and he is very familiar with the roster and the surroundings. He's good friends with Michael (Redd), and that means a lot."

Montgomery said he thought Mason would have no problem in sharing playing time with Simmons, if the former DePaul star is healthy again.

"They're going to jell real well and play together," Montgomery said. "If the Bucks have their full roster, they're a team to be reckoned with in the East."

Mason played 2 ½ seasons with the Bucks after being acquired in the controversial 2003 trade that sent Ray Allen to Seattle and also brought Gary Payton to Milwaukee for his short and unsatisfying stay.

The 6-foot-5 Mason, nicknamed the "Cowboy" for his time at Oklahoma State, played in 190 games with the Bucks. He delighted the fans with his powerful dunks, and during his last season in Milwaukee in 2004-'05, he averaged a career-best 17.2 points while starting 71 of 80 games.
Mason played in 82 games, starting 31, during the previous season in Milwaukee and averaged 14.4 points.

Courtesy of Charles Gardner from today's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

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