Mike Dunleavy Likes Bucks, Open To Return
By Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel
St. Francis - Mike Dunleavy has served as a valuable sixth man for the Bucks during the past two seasons.
And the 32-year-old guard-forward said Monday he would be open to returning.
Dunleavy scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds in Milwaukee's 88-77 loss to Miami in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference playoffs Sunday as the Heat completed a four-game sweep.
"My contract's up so I'm just going to have to figure out where that leaves me," Dunleavy said. "Honestly I haven't given a lot of thought to it.
"I like being here; I grew up here. I signed as a free agent here. I'm willing to come back. I've got to talk to the team and see what they want to do and go from there."
Dunleavy signed a two-year, $7 million deal with Milwaukee in the summer of 2011. He averaged 12.3 points and provided a spark off the bench in 55 games during the lockout-shortened season, then averaged 10.5 points and 3.9 rebounds in 75 games during the past season.
Former Bucks coach Scott Skiles treasured Dunleavy in his role off the bench and Jim Boylan used the former Duke star in the same way.
"I'm happy that I signed here two seasons ago, looking back on it," Dunleavy said. "This year everybody knows was a little bit tougher. It was just a tough year.
"That's part of the business. You've got to stick with it; you've got to stay professional. You've got to come out and perform every night. I tried to do that to the best of my ability. At the end of the day we made the playoffs and I guess you've got to feel good about that."
The Bucks seemed poised at one point to fight for the sixth-seeded or seventh-seeded spots in the East. But their late-season malaise consigned them to the unenviable matchup against MIami, a 66-victory team that won 27 straight games at one point in the season.
"I have no issue about getting swept by the Heat," Dunleavy said. "They're a great team. The issue is having to face the Heat. We basically dog-trotted down the stretch for March and April.
"We should have never been in the position of having to play the 1 seed. Kind of shame on us. That's the disappointing part of the whole season."
Dunleavy said the trade deadline deal to acquire J.J. Redick gave the team a brief boost.
"You get guys to get re-engaged and a little more focused," Dunleavy said. "Some guys think, 'If I don't bring it tonight, I'm not going to play. I better get my act together.'
"That happened for a few weeks. Then again, like after a coaching change, reality sets in and it ended up being even more guys that could have had an argument for playing major minutes. It just didn't pan out the right way. To add a guy like J.J. to your team, how could it not help? And here we are in a situation where our record dropped off. That's certainly not an indicator of the type of player he is.
"It just doesn't add up."
Dunleavy also noted a concerning trend that he believed contributed to the Bucks' decline toward the end of the season.
"We struggled with some discipline stuff, some small things, that quite frankly probably were a result of not being engaged and on top of things in practice and shootarounds," Dunleavy said. "It just carried over.
"You do that and it will catch up to you. Guys will hit tough buzzer-beaters or you'll lose in funny ways. It's just kind of a basketball karma thing.
"There were a lot of days (in practice) we just didn't get better. We weren't really focused. You've got to improve from January 1 until yesterday. I just don't think it happened. You look at our roster and we don't have any bad guys. Again, it comes down to guys wanting to play and have a certain role and do certain things.
"If you can't balance that, you have problems."