Thursday, February 21, 2013

Bucks trade Harris, Udrih, & Lamb to Magic for Redick, Ayon, & Smith

Every season I give Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond my advice for how he should approach the NBA trade deadline.  I specifically mentioned that the Bucks should not make a deal for a guy like J.J. Redick but that's exactly what the Bucks did trading Beno Udrih, Tobias Harris, and Doron Lamb to the Orlando Magic for Redick, Gustavo Ayon, and Ish Smith.  Much like I did in 2011 when I dissected the deal that brought Stephen Jackson to Milwaukee, I am going to give a lengthy Wednesday What Happened analysis of the Redick trade today instead of just giving my "Quick Thoughts" or waiting almost a full week to break down the deal next Wednesday.

My displeasure with the Bucks trading for Redick was two-fold.  One, I thought the Bucks were going to have to give up a rotational player and a future first round pick to "rent" Redick for the rest of 2013 since he is scheduled to become a free agent this off-season.  The most common trade rumor was Redick for:
Two, I thought by trading for Redick would keep the Bucks from making a larger deal for a potential Top 25 player.  As it turns out Mbah a Moute was actually being dangled for a different expiring contract, Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks:
Despite Smith being critical of Milwaukee when the Bucks lost to the Hawks in the opening round of the 2010 NBA playoffs, according to a number of sources, if the Bucks held onto point guard Brandon Jennings (set to be a restricted free agent this off-season) and shooting guard Monta Ellis (holds an $11 million player option for next season) he would have not only welcomed a trade to Milwaukee but would have strongly considered signing an extension this off-season.  Smith is set to seek a max contract this off-season so if the Bucks would have acquired Smith and he signed an extension with the Bucks this off-season they would have only been able to hold onto Jennings or Ellis with Ellis holding all the cards via his player option.

It is all academic for the rest of this season though because the Bucks failed to acquire Smith.  According to Ric Bucher, the final offer the Bucks made to the Hawks for Smith was Ekpe Udoh (PF), Luc Mbah-Moute (SF), Beno Udrih (G) and a protected No. 1 pick.  When the Hawks rejected that offer, the Bucks acquired Redick just before the deadline:
 
What do the Bucks get in Redick?  A shooting guard that is earning $6.2 million this season in the last year of a three-year contract. With Redick in the contract year, he is predictably putting up career highs offensively.  Redick is averaging a career-high 15.1 points per game thanks to shooting 45% from the field and 39.3% from 3-point range.  Redick is almost shooting better from three-point range than Ellis is shooting from the floor (39.9%) while Ellis is shooting a miserable 22.8% from 3-point range for the worst percentage in the NBA.  Basically Redick accomplishes the same things offensive scoring-wise as Ellis with roughly four less shots per game.

Redick is also averaging 4.4 assists, 2.4 rebounds, and 31.5 minutes but keep in mind that all those numbers are still not good enough for Redick to start for one of the worst teams in the NBA.  In terms of intangibles, there is no doubt that Redick brings playoff experience.  Redick played in 44 playoff games over the last six seasons, thanks in large part to playing with Dwight Howard till this season.

Besides Redick, the Bucks acquired the 27-year old center Ayon who is currently averaging 3.6 points and 3.3 rebounds in 13.3 minutes along with the 24-year old guard Smith who is currently is averaging 2.4 points and 1.6 assists in 10.5 minutes.

The Bucks traded away the 30-year old Udrih who is currently earning $7.4 million on an expiring contract but is only averaging 6.7 points and 3.5 assists along with rookie Lamb (42nd pick 2012 NBA Draft) who is currently averaging just 3.5 points in 23 games and second-year player Harris (19th pick in 2011 NBA Draft) who is averaging 4.9 points, 2.0 rebounds and 11.6 minutes.  Harris started the first 14 games of the season but has gotten little to no playing time since.

Redick is clearly the best player in the trade but it looks like the Magic acquired the second through fourth most valuable players in the trade. The Bucks shave roughly $1 million in salary for this seasons because the three players acquired (Ayon, Redick, and Smith) are earning $8.5 million this season while three players traded away (Harris, Lamb, and Udrih) are earning $9.5 million.

Sometimes the best deals are the one's that you don't make such as the Nets offering a pu pu platter for Ersan Ilyasova:
Clearly the Bucks wanted to make a bigger splash than the Redick trade.  Instead of landing Redick and spare parts, I would have added Jordan Crawford (SG) for the pu pu platter of Marques Daniels (SF) and Lamb discussed in my NBA trade deadline advice for Hammond.

The Washington Wizards sent Crawford to the Boston Celtics for the injured Leandro Barbosa (G) and Jason Collins (C).  Fine, if the Wizards are looking to dump Crawford for an injured player (Barbosa is out for the season with a torn ACL so he will earn the remaining of his one-year, $1.2 million deal from the Wizards instead of the Celtics) and an old center (Collins is 34 so he can at least earn the remaining of his one-year, $1.35 million deal), the Bucks could have sweetened that deal by offering a healthy Daniels and Joel Przybilla (C). 

Why do I love Jordan Crawford so much?
The biggest head scratcher of the 2013 NBA Trade Deadline was the Houston Rockets stealing Thomas Robinson (5th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft) along with Francisco Garcia, Tyle Honeycutt, and a second-round draft pick from the Sacramento Kings for Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich, Toney Douglas, and $1 million from the Rockets.  I know the Kings are owned by the broke Maloof brothers but the team will most likely be sold before next season to an ownership group in Seattle so giving up on a high lottery pick from the 2012 NBA Draft seems foolish to save just a little money.

If the Robinson heist didn't happen, I would say Crawford for Barbosa and Collins was the best deal of the NBA trade deadline.  Barbosa is out for the season and Collins is not much more than a warm body.  When you factor in that Crawford played some point guard while John Wall was out injured earlier this season and he is still very affordable by NBA standards since he is on the last two years of his rookie contract (earning $1.2 this season and $2.2 million next season), it makes no sense to me that the Wizards gave away Crawford for essentially a bag of balls.

With a record of 26-27, the Bucks currently hold the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, trailing the Boston Celtics by 1.5 games while leading the Philadelphia 76ers by 3.5 games and Toronto Raptors by 5 games despite the fact that the Bucks dropped 8 of their last 10 games.  Since the Bucks made the deal for Redick, here is a three point plan for how the Bucks should proceed:

#1) Both Jennings and Ellis are averaging 37 minutes a game this season, which is way too much for high volume shooters like those guys.  Get Ellis's minutes down to the high 20's while keeping Jennings in the low 30's as opposed to the mid-30's.

#2) Gauge Redick's interest in staying with the Bucks past this season.  There are varying reports as to what Redick will cost to re-sign with the low-end being $6 million a year and the high-end being $10 million a year.  Redick turns 29 this off-season so if he gets the four-year deal he is reportedly seeking this off-season, the Bucks could get a couple peak seasons before his decline.

#3) Last but certainly not least, do everything possible to encourage Monta Ellis to decline his $11 million option, which would leave the Bucks with only $30 million committed to eight players (Ilyasova, Gooden, Mbah a Moute, Udoh, Sanders, Henson, Ayon, and Smith) and possibly only $22 million to six players if the Bucks amnesty Drew Gooden (set to earn $6.7 million the next two seasons) and decline their $1.5 million team option on Ayon for next season.  That would allow the Bucks to sign Jennings and Redick while reserving almost max-level money.  Don't get me wrong, Milwaukee is one of the least attractive destinations for NBA free agents but a core of Jennings, Redick, Mbah Moute, Henson, and Sanders has to be enticing to one of the front court studs (Josh Smith, Paul Milsap, Al Jefferson, and Dwight Howard) set to break the bank, which will determine whether the Bucks have enough money to re-sign Mike Dunleavy and Samuel Dalembert.

As always, the NBA Trade Deadline was somewhat disappointing since all the rumored big deals never came to fruition but at least the Bucks acquired Redick for spare parts instead of giving away a stud for essentially nothing in return like they did in the Ray Allen for Gary Payton heist.

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