ST. FRANCIS - The much-anticipated battle for the Milwaukee Bucks' starting small forward position has been put on hold.
Corey Maggette, whom the Bucks acquired in a trade with the Golden State Warriors in June, revealed Monday he might miss the entire preseason.
Maggette, who is expected to challenge incumbent Carlos Delfino for the starting small forward position, underwent surgery for torn peroneal tendons in July in Los Angeles.
Bucks officials have said they planned to bring Maggette along slowly in training camp, but Maggette said he can hardly do anything right now except watch his teammates practice.
"I can do some things but not of the caliber I'm used to," Maggette said during the team's media day at the Cousins Center. "It's going to be a slow process."
Asked if he would play in any of the team's eight preseason games, Maggette said, "probably not."
Maggette, who said he wasn't sure how he injured his ankle, is expected to give the Bucks a major shot in the offensive arm. The 6-foot-6 Maggette averaged 19.8 points a game last season, ranking 17th in the NBA.
Maggette is also one of the NBA's best players at drawing fouls, a major deficiency for the Bucks last season.
Maggette took 551 free throws last season compared to just 305 for shooting guard John Salmons, the team's leader last season.
Maggette's high number of free throws weren't a fluke, either. In four other seasons, he went to the free-throw line more than 600 times, including 681 times during the 2007-08 season with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Whether Maggette will be physically ready for the Bucks' regular-season opener against the Hornets in New Orleans Oct. 27 remains to be seen. Ditto for whether Maggette can unseat Delfino for the starter's spot.
Some NBA officials wonder if Maggette will be content if he winds up coming off the bench. Maggette didn't particularly care to address that subject.
"That's up to Scott Skiles," Maggette said of the Bucks head coach. "He makes those decisions.
"I know I'm a starting type player."
For now, there isn't any doubt Maggette is a happy camper. In his 11 pro seasons, he's only competed in the postseason once, that being in 2006 with the Clippers.
But Maggette is convinced his personal playoff drought will end this season with the Bucks. He claims he probably wouldn't have consented to playing for the Bucks if he thought otherwise.
"Before the trade, I talked to (Bucks general manager) John Hammond and Scott Skiles," Maggette said. "They gave me a choice if I wanted to come here or not.
"Nobody swayed me into agreeing to it (the trade). But I believe in those two guys, John and Scott. This a great opportunity for me.
"This is a team that can win and I can get back to the playoffs again."
- As expected, veteran shooting guard Michael Redd didn't attend Media Day.
Redd is recovering from knee surgery at his home in Columbus, Ohio and isn't expected to re-join the team until at least January.
- The Bucks have 20 players in camp, including four street-free agents: guard Tory Jackson of Notre Dame, guard Chris Kramer of Purdue, swingman Billy Rush of Robert Morris College and center Moussa Seck of Senegal.
None of the aforementioned players has a guaranteed contract or is expected to make the final roster.
Seck is nevertheless an intriguing prospect. He is 7-4 and claims to have a wingspan in excess of eight feet. Despite the crudeness to his game, Seck has posed problems for some of the Bucks big men in recent pick-up games.
Seck, 23, played one year in Italy but didn't play last year after injuring his shoulder. He was on the Dallas Mavericks' summer league team in Las Vegas and flashed signs of being a decent shot blocker and rebounder.
- Who says it's all about the money for pro athletes?
Bucks rookie forward Keith "Tiny" Gallon reported to camp despite not having a guaranteed contract and fully realizing the Bucks already have a maximum 15 players under contract.
Gallon, who was taken in the second round, said he turned down guaranteed money to play overseas.
"I had a lot of offers," Gallon said. "People from China were calling every other day, and I was contacted about playing in Israel.
"But it's always been my dream to play in the NBA. Hopefully, it'll be this year."
Gallon, for those keeping tabs, weighed in at 296 pounds.
- The Bucks remain interested in veteran free-agent center Erick Dampier, although they aren't regarded as the frontrunners for his services.
Dampier was allegedly close to signing with Miami last week before negotiations broke down.
Several other teams are now courting Damper, including Houston, the apparent frontrunner, and Toronto.