Thursday, February 20, 2014

Building The 15 - Bucks trade Neal & Ridnour to Bobcats for Sessions & Adrien

For the second year in a row Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond made a deal on the eve of the NBA Trade Deadline.  For those that do not remember, last season Hammond sent small forward Tobias Harris, point guard Beno Udrih, & shooting guard Doron Lamb to the Orlando Magic for shooting guard J.J. Redick, center Gustavo Ayon, & point guard Ish Smith.  Earlier today Hammond sent shooting guard Gary Neal & combo guard Luke Ridnour to the Charlotte Bobcats for combo guard Ramon Sessions & under-sized power forward Jeff Adrien:

This trade looks like nothing more than a money saver for Bucks owner Herb Kohl.  Neal is earning $3.25 million this season in first year of a two-year, $6.5 million deal while Ridnour is earning $4.32 million in the final year of a four-year, $16 million deal.  Sessions is earning $5 million this season in the final year of a two-year, $10 million deal while Adrien is earning roughly $900,000 this season in the final year of a two-year, $1.6 million deal.  That means Kohl saves roughly $3.75 million over the next two season: $500,000 this season ($1.67 million difference in salary this season multiplied by the percent of the 82 games left in the regular season) and $3.25 million next season given that everyone besides Neal is on an expiring contract.  Far be it for me to take money out of someones pocket but the biggest thing that jumps out to me about the salaries discussed above is that Sessions will earn $10 million over the last two seasons as a backup combo guard, which is about $8 million too much.

Just a quick look at the advanced stats this season for Neal (11.5 PER), Ridnour (9.3 PER), Sessions (14.9 PER), and Adrien (15.0 PER) confirm that over the long-haul all four guys are average NBA players, at best.  The only guy with a nice potential upside is Neal given that he is the perfect heat-check guy on a good team, which he proved last season as a member of the San Antonio Spurs.  I am sure that Neal is longing for the days that he got to come off the bench for the Spurs because since losing to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals last season, he played for the worst team in the NBA and just got traded to a borderline playoff team in the watered down Eastern Conference.

Before you start to feel too bad for Neal let's not forget that he got into a locker room argument in early January with center Larry Sanders, which essentially confirmed that Neal would get trade before the 2014 NBA Trade Deadline given that the Bucks have $44 million over the next four seasons committed to Sanders.  In my advice for Hammond for how to approach the 2014 NBA Trade Deadline, I advised him to trade Neal to the Phoenix Suns for shooting guard Archie Goodwin.  We will never know but I hope Hammond at least floated the Neal/Goodwin deal and was shot down by Suns general manager Ryan McDonough because I like that trade much more than the one that Hammond actually made today.

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