Wednesday, November 7, 2012

2012-13 Milwaukee Bucks - Most Overpaid and Most Underpaid

Although I already gave my extended thoughts on the 2012-13 Milwaukee Bucks last week when I ranked the initial roster, much like I did for the Milwaukee Brewers and Green Bay Packers, I am going to rank the best and worst contracts for the 2012-13 Milwaukee Bucks.

Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond rid the team of some horrible contracts over the last few seasons, some of the contracts were his own doing though, thus the franchise is in good financial shape for the first time in a long time.

Let's start with the three worst contracts because that was harder to determine than the three best contracts:

#3) Ekpe Udoh (PF, $3.5 million): Normally rookie contracts are good deals but Udoh is set to earn $8 million over the next two seasons ($3.5 this season and $4.5 million next season) and that doesn't even factor in the $6 million qualifying offer the Bucks hold for the 2014-15 NBA season.  Udoh was a big factor in the Bogut & Jackson for Ellis trade, but so far Udoh has been disappointing. Udoh has been so disappointing that he bumped Beno Udrih (PG/SG) out of the "worst" contract list despite the fact that Udrih is set to earn $7.8 million this season on an expiring contract.  The Bucks might be able to get more for Udoh right now but as the season progresses, Udrih's contract becomes a much more valuable asset because it would allow the Bucks to take on the right long-term contract for Udrih's bloated expiring contract.

#2) Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (SF/PF, $4.8 million): The defensive stopper for the Milwaukee Bucks starts the season injured, which is the main reason that he made the "worst" contract list. In what is becoming a trend in the NBA, teams are starting to offer contracts that decelerate in yearly value.  The Prince earns $4.6 million next season and $4.4 million the following season.  You know the Bucks are in good shape when one of the best defensive stoppers in the NBA makes the list of worst contracts solely because some off-season injury issues spilled into the season.

Drew Gooden
(PF/C, $6.7 million): The Milwaukee Bucks still owe Gooden roughly $20 million dollars through the 2014-15 NBA season so this is the only truly horrible contract on the books.  Their drafting (Larry Sanders, Tobias Harris, and John Henson) and trading (Ekpe Udoh and Samuel Dalembert) strategy shows that absent injury, Gooden's minutes will be limited this season so I would be shocked if the Bucks did not use the amnesty clause on Gooden before next season to clear $6.7 million off their salary cap for both the 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.

I decided to exclude all rookie contracts from the "best" contracts list, so that meant I could not include a number of viable candidates (Tobias Harris, John Henson, Doron Lamb, and Larry Sanders).  Here are the three best contracts:

#3) Ersan Ilyasova (SF/PF, $7.9 million): This off-season Ilyasova signed a four-year, $32 million contract with a $8.5 million team option for 2016-17. I always worry about how professional athletes react to signing long-term, guaranteed contracts because players can go one of two ways: rest on their laurels/piles of cash or feel indebted to prove they are worth the money they are getting paid.  I like to think Ilyasova is the latter not the former but this season will give us a nice preview of coming attractions.

#2) Monta Ellis (PG, $11 million): Much like the Ilyasova household, things are looking pretty good in the Ellis household as well.  Ellis is set to earn $11 million this season and holds a $11 million player option for the 2013-14 NBA season.  Pun intended, the ball is literally in Monta's court.  If things go well this season, Ellis could opt-out of the final season to sign an extension with the Bucks.  If things do not go well this season, the Bucks could trade Ellis at the trade deadline.  There is no question that Ellis likes to shot but there are tons of questions surrounding whether he wants to play defense.  I've said a number of times, Ellis is the perfect 6th man, a rich man's Jason Terry if you will.  Unfortunately you can't pay a 6th man $11 million a year so the Bucks need to figure out whether Ellis is a starting NBA shooting guard that can defend enough to justify a hefty paycheck or an overpaid 6th man.

#1) Mike Dunleavy Jr. (SG/SF, $3.75 million): As the late, great Jerry Orbach said in Dirty Dancing: "When I'm wrong, I say I'm wrong".  Dunleavy is in the second year of a two-year, $7 million contract that I originally thought was a horrible contract.  I was so wrong that even if Dunleavy did not play another minute for the Bucks, he would have already earned the $7 million.  If Dunleavy continues to play well this season he might even rope a team into a Mike Miller-esque mid-level exception overpay this off-season.

I am hoping to attend the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics game this weekend with Papa Cheese, Gaber, and UP if my work schedule permits.  If so, look for my "Quick Thoughts" following the game.  Either way check back Sunday for my 2012 Green Bay Packers Mid-Season Player Rankings.

1 comment:

  1. you played against Dunleavy. Dont be shy about saying it.