Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Wednesday What Happened - The Ray Allen Heist

As the 2010 NBA trade deadline approaches, I thought enough time has passed that it was okay to take a look back at one of the worst trades in Milwaukee Bucks history...The Ray Allen Heist. If you still haven't gotten over former Milwaukee Bucks general manager Ernie Grunfeld giving away Jesus Shuttlesworth for ten cents on the dollar then click over to a happier Milwaukee Bucks article I recently wrote that outlines 5 trades current Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond should do in the next two days here. For those with a strong are the terms of The Ray Allen Heist (source) that went down on Thursday, February 20, 2003:

Seattle got:
- Ray Allen (SG)
- Kevin Ollie (PG)
- Ronald Murray (SG)
- A conditional first-round draft pick

Milwaukee got:
- Gary Payton (PG)
- Desmond Mason (SF)

For the purposes of dissecting the trade we can throw out Kevin Ollie and Ronald Murray because both of those players were journeymen that were only included in the trade to make the finances work. That means the Milwaukee Bucks gave up hometown hero Ray Allen and a conditional first-round pick in arguably the best draft in NBA HistoryFN1 for disgruntled Gary Payton and high flying Desmond Mason.

Gary Payton was in the last year of his contract and let it be known that he wanted to sign with a contender in the off-season to make a run at an NBA Ring before retiring. That is hint #1 there is no way in hell that Payton was going to re-sign with the Milwaukee Bucks. Furthermore, the Bucks already had an above average starting point guard in Sam Cassell so the acquisition of Gary Payton made for a crowded point guard position. Milwaukee's rental of Payton netted the Bucks 34 games (28 regular season and 6 playoff) where Payton averaged roughly 19 points, 7 assists, 3 rebounds and 1 steal (source). The Bucks made the playoffs as the 7th seed but were dispatched by the eventual Eastern Conference Champion New Jersey Nets in 6 games (2003 NBA Playoff Bracket).

After the season the Bucks released general manager Ernie Grunfeld from his contract to allow him to join the Washington Wizards as their general manager on June 30, 2003. Doesn't that seem fishy that Grunfeld made one of the worst trades in NBA History four months before he left the Bucks to join a conference rival? In their infinite wisdom, the Milwaukee Bucks replaced Grunfeld with Larry Harris. Many Bucks fans know Larry Harris as the general manager that went on to hand out some of the worst contracts in Milwaukee Bucks historyFN2.

Gary Payton left the Bucks in the off-season as expected to join the L.A. Lakers in search of the elusive NBA Ring while Ray Allen went on to play four and a half season for Seattle where Allen averaged 24 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds and 1 steal (source). Ray Allen later was traded to the Boston Celtics where he joined a new "Big Three" (Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen) and won an NBA Ring.

Sam Cassell was traded after the 2002-03 season along with Ervin Johnson (obviously...there must be a clause in both of their contracts that mandates they play on the same team) to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Joe Smith and Anthony Peeler. Cassell went on to be an All-Star and an All-NBA Second Team selection the next season in Minnesota. Peeler was released and Smith went on to have a productive career as a Milwaukee Buck.

To fill the void left at point guard by the departure of Payton and Cassell the Milwaukee Bucks handed over the duties to the oft-injured and under-sized T.J. Ford whom they selected #8 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft.

Speaking of the 2003 NBA Draft, Seattle used the first round draft pick acquired in The Ray Allen Heist to select Luke Ridnour #14 overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. That's right, the Bucks could have had Luke Ridnour 7 years ago instead of T.J. Ford. Instead the Bucks made another horrible decision and selected Ford ahead of Ridnour.

Desmond Mason played with the Bucks for two more seasons before he was traded October 26, 2005 along with a 2006 first round pick to the New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets for the uninspiring Jamaal Magloire.

Final Verdict:
Thanks to the incompetence of Ernie Grunfeld and Larry Harris, the Milwaukee Bucks turned Ray Allen and Luke Ridnour into Jamal Magloire.

FN1: NBA All-Stars selected in the first round of the 2003 NBA Draft: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Chris Kaman, David West and Josh Howard (source).

FN2: matched the Miami Heat's offer sheet of 5-years, $18.5 million for Charlie Bell; matched the Miami Heat's offer sheet of 6-years, $52 million for Mo Williams; re-signed Michael Redd to a max-contract of 6-years, $91 million; re-signed Dan Gadzuric to a 6-year, $36 million contract; and signed Bobby Simmons to a 5-year, $47 million contract.

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