The Milwaukee Bucks signed Zaza Pachulia to a 3-year, $15.6 million contract this summer to be their backup center for Larry Sanders and his new 4-year, $44 million extension. After Larry got embroiled in a nighclub incident, Zaza played 40 minutes during Milwaukee’s win over Cleveland on Wednesday night. Now come reports he’s reportedly buying their old court. It’s the Bucks everyone.
The Bucks installed a brand-new floor this season to pay homage to their old arena, MECCA (also called the U.S. Cellular Arena). The new floor features colored M’s you can barely discern if you’re not looking for them. Fans and writers loved the new look, but then — perhaps as a sign of management’s dealings this summer — the Bucks cut short a preseason game because the new court was too slippery. The Bucks are resurfacing the new court, but right now they’re using last year’s hardwood.
Last week, Zaza told Grantland’s Zach Lowe he was purchasing the old floor for an undisclosed amount (probably not for three yearly payments of $5.2 million, though).
Lowe has the details on the attempt by Pachulia to secure the old court for his basketball academy Martve, in Tbilisi, Georgia, where he learned to play the game (that’s not the state, by the way, even though Zaza was formerly a Hawk).
Zaza Pachulia is buying the old one for an undisclosed sum of money, he told Grantland this week. Pachulia plans to donate the old floor to the basketball academy Martve, in Tbilisi, Georgia, where Pachulia learned the game as a kid. (Toko Shengelia of the Nets also played there growing up.) Pachulia began playing there about 20 years ago, and when he went back last summer to conduct a youth clinic, he was surprised to find the same floor, he says. “It’s in really bad shape,” says Pachulia, who hasn’t yet told the school he will be supplying a new floor at some point.
Pachulia is negotiating with the Bradley Sports and Entertainment Corporation and not the Bucks, or else — we’re guessing — they would have already sold it to him at a discount (sorry we can’t get past his new salary as a backup). When the Hawks changed their own floor a couple years ago, Pachulia tried to do the same thing before it fell through; although, he’s remained upbeat about an ensuing deal, he’s still circumspect about it’s chances of actually happening.
Pachulia told Grantland, “This is my dream. I want to make this happen. It would be really exciting for me, and for the kids in Georgia, to have a chance to play on an NBA floor. So many superstars have played on that court, from the Bucks and other teams.”
Pachulia joked that he should get a discount since the team is still using the old court as they refurbish the new one, but the new Bucks floor cost $115,000.
“As much as it’s being used,” Pachulia says with a laugh, “I have to think the price is going down.” He’s also kicking himself for failing to close the deal early, since he could have made some extra cash loaning the floor to the suddenly floor-strapped Bucks. “I was trying to rent the floor back to them and make some money,” he says.
Pachulia also told future players at Martve — where he plans to be at the grand opening once the deal for the new court is completed — that, “They better take care of the court.”
Very cool of Pachulia, even if we don’t think he’s worth $5 million a year.
What do you think?
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