It doesn’t look like Luke Ridnour will be returning to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Ridnour, a key contributor in the Bucks’ run to the playoffs last season, is an unrestricted free agent and is drawing keen interest from several teams with the New York Knicks being the most prominently mentioned one.
Bucks general manager John Hammond obviously would love to retain Ridnour, who is coming off perhaps his best season as a pro.
The 29-year-old Ridnour played in all 82 regular-season and six postseason games last season. He averaged 10.4 points and 4 assists in 21.5 minutes during the regular season.
But Hammond acknowledged Tuesday that Ridnour’s return probably wasn’t in the cards. Asked if the Bucks were still in the picture for Ridnour’s services, Hammond said, "I don’t think so. I think it’s going to be difficult for us.’’
The Bucks are likely to fill the void left by Ridnour through free agency. One free agent point guard the Bucks have shown some interest in is Marquette University point guard Travis Diener, who finished last season with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Gooden to meet the media
The Bucks are expected to sign the veteran free agent to a five-year, $31.8 million contract Thursday, the first day free agents can sign, and then introduce him to the local media.
Gooden will be receiving the Bucks’ mid-level exception, which starts around $5.8 million. He will then receive slight increases in each of the following four years.
The Bucks aren’t expected to have a press conference for Corey Maggette, the veteran forward they acquired in a trade with Golden State.
Maggette was recently in Milwaukee for a medical exam and there were some minor issues that temporarily delayed the consummation of the deal.
Since Maggette has already been to Milwaukee and lives in Los Angeles, Bucks officials are somewhat reluctant to ask him to return.
Sanders almost in the fold
Hammond confirmed the Bucks are on the brink of signing Larry Sanders, the team’s top draft pick.
Sanders, a power forward from Virginia Commonwealth, was the 15th overall selection in the June draft.
Sanders is expected to compete in the upcoming NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
Another Bucks’ draft pick — swingman Darington Hobson of New Mexico, taken in the second round — might not be able to participate in the summer league because of a slight groin pull.