Wednesday, February 23, 2011

2011 NBA Trade Deadline Advice for John Hammond

I hope that you enjoyed the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend where the only Milwaukee Bucks participant was point guard Brandon Jennings in the Rookie/Sophomore Game. As evidenced by the lack of Milwaukee Bucks representation in the 2011 NBA All-Star Weekend festivities, the 2010-11 Milwaukee Bucks' season is looking like a lost season. Will a John Salmons type trade jump-start the season? Probably not but like I said last year in my possible Milwaukee Bucks trade deadline deals post, Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond has shown that he is not afraid to make bold moves, which is why only three players remain from the roster that Hammond inherited in April of 2008: Andrew Bogut, Ersan Ilyasova, and Michael Redd.

Unfortunately for how well Hammond did wheeling-and-dealing through the end of last season, all of his moves since have been downright horrible. If you want digital evidence, I questioned each one of Hammond's off-season moves:
- Corey Maggette trade
- Drew Gooden and John Salmons signings
- Milwaukee Bucks' 2010 NBA Draft

As the 2011 NBA Trade Deadline (Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 2 pm CST) approaches, a quick look at the Milwaukee Bucks roster shows that they have very few assets to trade:

Virtually Untradeable:
- Corey Maggette (SF): Earns $9.6 million this year, $10.3 million next year, and $10.9 million in 2012-13. That is a ton of money to pay a bad chemistry guy.
- John Salmons (SG): Injuries claimed most of Salmons' season so far. The Bucks are on the hook for a ton of money to Salmons through at least the 2013-14 season. Hopefully Salmons can revert back to his 2009-10 form for the rest of his contract. Otherwise, the Bucks will have a ton of money committed to an injury prone shooting guard and the sad part is the last sentence was not even about Michael Redd.
- Drew Gooden (PF): Earns $5.76 million this year, $6.2 million next year, and $6.68 million a year for 2012-13 through 2014-15. Gooden has been injured all season so not even the worst general manager in the league (Minnesota's general manager David Kahn) would consider dealing for Gooden.

Expiring Contracts:
- Michael Redd (SG): Has torn multiple knee ligaments the last two seasons and will participate in his first practice of the season this week. If that is not bad enough, Redd is the 5th highest paid player in the NBA this year earning $18.3 million.
- Earl Boykins (PG): Signed a one-year, $1.35 million deal in the off-season. Boykins earns every cent on the court since he is usually six inches shorter than the guy he is guarding.

Favorable short-term deals:
- Jon Brockman (PF): Despite being a disappointment so far, Brockman is only owed $1 million a year through the 2012-13 season. With such a favorable contract, the Bucks would have to be offered a late first round or early second round pick to make it worth their while to trade Brockman.
- Keyon Dooling (PG): Earning only $2 million this year and $2.2 million next year makes Dooling the most valuable and realistic trade option on the roster.
- Ersan Ilyasova (SF/PF): Is in the second year of a three-year, $6.96 million contract. I stand by my poor man's Dirk Nowitzki comparison for Ilyasova so there is no reason to trade Ilyasova.
- Carlos Delfino (SG/SF): Is in the second year of a three-year, $10.5 million contract with the third year of the contract only a team option. Delfino has struggle with symptoms from his concussion. Although Delfino could be a sharp shooter for a playoff bound team, his contact is too favorable for Hammond to move.

Cheap Rookie Contracts:
- Larry Sanders (PF): Sending Sanders to the NBDL for "more playing time" hurt any trade value he had. With Sanders on his rookie contract through 2014-15 the Bucks have a cheap asset that they need to hold onto.
- Chris Douglas-Roberts (SG): Is earning $850,000 this year with a $1.1 million option for the 2011-12 season. At such a cheap price, the Bucks have no reason to move CDR until the next trade deadline at the earliest.
- Luc Mbah a Moute (SF/PF): Continues to be a lock down defender with limited offensive skills in the last year of his rookie contract. As long as the asking price isn't too high there will always be a place for a player like Mbah a Moute on a Scott Skiles coached team.

Virtually Untouchable:
- Andrew Bogut (C): The Bucks built their franchise around Bogut so unless they could get a quality young player plus some draft picks, there is no way the Bucks can even entertain offers for Bogut. With Bogut's injury history there is no way a team would be willing to part a with quality young player and drafts picks though so let's just move on.
- Brandon Jennings (PG): Injuries have put a damper on Jennings' sophomore NBA season but since the Bucks have Jennings on his rookie deal through the 2013-14 NBA season there is no way the Bucks part ways with Jennings anytime soon.

As you can see, the Bucks have very few legitimate trade assets. There is virtually no way the Bucks would trade Bogut, Brockman, Delfino, Douglas-Roberts, Ilyasova, Jennings, Mbah a Moute, or Sanders because they are either on cheap contracts (Brockman, Delfino, Douglas-Roberts, Ilyasova, Mbah a Moute, and Sanders) or are a potential franchise player (Bogut and Jennings). All the other guys on the roster save for Boykins and Dooling are signed to very expensive contracts.

Despite having few trade assets, I did my best to work ESPN's Trade Machine to try and realistically improve the Milwaukee Bucks. As we all know, the Milwaukee Bucks have a hard time enticing marquee free agents to sign in Milwaukee so they will most likely have to acquire them via trades. With a core of Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut for the next handful of years, players should be happier to play in Milwaukee than they have been in a long time. Here are my 5 trade deadline deals that the Milwaukee Bucks should at least consider:

#5) The Milwaukee Bucks trade Corey Maggette (SF) to the L.A. Lakers for Ron Artest (SF), Matt Barnes (SF), and a future first round pick. Call this the whack-job-swap. All three players involved are head cases that have very little trade value. Artest is a loose cannon that is signed for a year longer at a little bit less per year than Maggette. Barnes has a $1.9 million player option for next year that he would decline because he would have no interest in playing in Milwaukee any longer than he has to. Oddly enough since Artest has lost a step, acquiring Maggette would help the Lakers on the offensive end while being a neutral trade defensively. If Artest can't get along with Bogut and Jennings then he can't get along with anyone. Odds are 1,000,000 to 1 that this trade your telling me there's a chance?

#4) The Milwaukee Bucks trade Earl Boykins (PG) and a second round draft in the 2011 NBA Draft to the Atlanta Hawks for Jordan Crawford (SG). If you clicked on the trade you will see that the Bucks are projected to lose 6 more games after the trade while the Hawks' projected record does not change. This is one of the reasons that I don't completely buy into John Hollinger's player efficiency rating (PER). How can swapping a 3rd-string point guard for a 3rd-string shooting guard have such an impact on wins and losses? Oh and why would the Atlanta Hawks even consider the trade? Boykins is a legitimate backup point guard that could provide some quality veteran minutes for the Hawks in the playoffs. Odds are 1,000 to 1 that the Atlanta Hawks would even consider this trade but I have to continue to show my hypothetical general manager love for Jordan Crawford despite the fact that Crawford is having a sub par rookie season.

#3) The Milwaukee Bucks trade Michael Redd (SG) and their first round draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft to the Cleveland Cavaliers for Antawn Jameson (PF) and Ramon Sessions (PG). I guess the Cavs could justify the trade by saying they are bringing in a former Ohio State star while saving some money down the road. The Bucks essentially get a mulligan on letting Sessions go by re-acquiring him and pairing Andrew Bogut with a versatile power forward for the next year and change. If you take the odds of the two aforementioned trades and multiple them together, that is how much of a chance this trade has of coming fruition before the trade deadline. Basically I had to include one Michael Redd trade so why not send him home to the King's former palace?

#2) The Milwaukee Bucks trade Corey Maggette (SF) to the Dallas Mavericks for Caron Butler (SF). This deal is 100% about Mark Cuban being the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. Cuban loves to tinker with his roster similar to how I like to tinker with my Madden video game roster. The only difference is that one happens in the real world with real life consequences while the other happens at my buddy Sug's house merely for bragging rights amongst two video game nerds. I appreciate that Cuban would rather make a move and be wrong (i.e. signing Brendan Haywood to a silly extension) than sit on his hands. This might be the only way that the Bucks can move Corey Maggette before the 2012-13 season.

#1) The Milwaukee Bucks trade Keyon Dooling (PG) to ANY playoff-bound team for a 2nd round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. With all the labor uncertainty facing the NBA, the financial landscape of the NBA could dramatically change in the next six months. Although the 2011 NBA Draft is supposed to involve very little top end talent, there looks to be quality depth at each position so second round picks become very valuable.

If you read this far I want to thank you very much for spending all that time reading my random thoughts on the 2010-11 Milwaukee Bucks and the potential trades that will most likely never happen before the 2011 NBA Trade Deadline. Please feel free to leave a comment or email me ( your thoughts on these trades or any other trade ideas you might have as the 2011 NBA Trade Deadline approaches.

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