Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bucks trade Bogut & Jackson to Warriors for Ellis

Multiple national media outlets are crediting the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel with breaking the news that the Milwaukee Bucks traded Andrew Bogut (C) and Stephen Jackson (SG/SF) to the Golden State Warriors for Monte Ellis (SG), Ekpe Udoh (PF), and Kwame Brown (C).

For the last three years I gave Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond my advice about how to approach the NBA Trade Deadline: 2010, 2011, and 2012.

Monte Ellis was actually a guy that I targeted for the Bucks in 2010 when I suggested that the Bucks trade the expiring contracts of Joe Alexander (SF), Kurt Thomas (PF), and Luke Ridnour (PG) to the Warriors for Monta Ellis (SG) and Anthony Randolph (PF). Obviously I suggested that deal in 2010 to give the Warriors salary cap relief.

Last week I dedicated an entire blog post to seeing how the Milwaukee Bucks could dump Stephen Jackson. One of the trades I proposed was for the the Bucks to trade Jackson and Bogut to the Detroit Pistons for Ben Gordon (SG), Charlie Villanueva (SF), and Greg Monroe (C).

Long term I would much rather have Monroe than Ellis. It is a tougher call whether I would rather have Gordon, Monroe, and Villanueva or Brown, Ellis, and Udoh. Unfortunately I would probably rather have Monroe et al. than Ellis et al. but since the Bucks got Ellis et al. let's look at that deal.

The financial commitments now facing the Warriors:
- Bogut makes $12.1 million this year, $13.2 million in 2012-13, and $14.2 million in 2013-14
- Jackson makes $9.3 million this year and $10.1 million in 2012-13

The financial commitments now facing the Bucks:
- Ellis makes $11 million this year, $11 million in 2012-13, and holds a $11 million player option in 2013-14
- Udoh makes $3.3 million this year, $3.5 million in 2012-13, $4.5 million team option in 2013-14, and $6 million qualifying offer in 2014-15
- Brown makes $7 million this year

The Bucks gained a ton of financial flexibility since Ellis can opt-out after the 2012-13 season and the Bucks can decline their team option on Udoh for the 2013-14 season. Add in that there is a rumored 15% trade kicker in Bogut's contract and this trade starts to look like a financial train wreck for the Warriors. The Bucks clearly got the better financial end of this deal.

Finances aside, this trade is going to be judged by whether Bogut or Ellis has a more success NBA career. Both players were drafted in the 2005 NBA Draft. Bogut was the 1st pick in the draft while Ellis was the 40th pick in the draft.

I will still never forget the night the Bucks won the right to draft Bogut. The ping-pong balls fell the right way and the Bucks had to choose between Bogut and Marvin Williams.

Many will remember that Deron Williams went 3rd to the Utah Jazz and Chris Paul went 4th to the L.A. Clippers. The Atlanta Hawks had the 2nd pick in the 2005 NBA Draft and were clearly going to draft Bogut or Marvin Williams depending on what the Bucks did with the first pick.

Obviously the Bucks and Hawks are kicking themselves for passing on Deron Williams and Chris Paul with the Hawks looking much more foolish than the Bucks. At least the Bucks thought they were drafting a franchise center, a rare commodity in the NBA while there are tons of players in the NBA with the same game as Marvin Williams. Ironically of the top four picks in the 2005 NBA Draft the worst of the four players is Marvin Williams yet he is the only player left on the team that drafted him.

It's hard to compare shooting guards and centers but over seven injury riddled seasons Bogut averaged 12.7 points and 9.3 rebounds. Over seven similarly injury riddled seasons Ellis averaged 19.6 points and 4.4 assists.

When Bogut suffered a horrific injury at the end of the 2009-10 regular season there some talk that Bogut would never be the same player. Bogut slowly returned to form last season and looked poised for a big year until he suffered another potential season ending injury. When you isolate each injury that Bogut suffered they seem like freak accidents but at some point when they keep happening to the same person on the basketball court, that player is injury prone. Ellis has battled his own injury problems but the Bucks are gambling that Ellis will be healthier over the next few season than Bogut, which seems like a fairly safe bet at this point.

It will be interesting to see how the always defensive minded Milwaukee Bucks head coach Scott Skiles deals with an offense first and defense last shooting guard like Monta Ellis. My bet is that Skiles either gets Ellis to play at least a little bit of defense or both Ellis and Skiles are working for someone other than the Bucks in a few years.

The Bucks also also got an actual center in the trade, Kwame Brown. Whether the Bucks can get anything out of Brown remains to be seen but they will need some production out of Brown because besides him, the Bucks have a ton of tweener big men (Jon Brockman, Drew Gooden, Tobias Harris, Jon Leuer, Ersan Ilyasova, Larry Sanders, and Ekpe Udoh) on the roster.

Udoh is the other player the Bucks acquired from the Warriors. While Ellis is a shoot first, defend second player. Udoh looks like exact opposite type of player, which make him a very valuable asset.

Barring another trade or injury with the combo of Brandon Jennings at point guard and Monta Ellis at shooting guard through at least the 2012-13 season, the Bucks might have the most exciting back court in Eastern Conference.

Up until this trade I was pulling for the Bucks to tank the season to get a high draft pick. writer John Hollinger claims this trade gives the Bucks +4 wins and the Warriors -9 wins. I want to see how the new squad plays for a few games before passing judgment.

The Milwaukee Bucks were able to grab the headline right as NFL Free Agency opened and the NFL announced that Green Bay Packers defensive end Michael Neal will be suspended for the use of performance enhancing drugs.

Bucks fans will most likely get to see their new pieces in action this Friday when the Bucks visit the Golden State Warriors.

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