There’s a part of me that appreciates when the Bucks beat writers fall short and a part of me that appreciates even more when they hit the three. Over the weekend, JSOnline’s Tom Enlund drained it from downtown with his rundown of the current state of the Bucks roster. Articles like it create much less work for yours truly, which I thoroughly appreciate.
Now, let’s review the current state of the Bucks roster after RJ trade and last week’s draft:
13 players under contract, 15 including the rookies, at a cost of $63-65 mill.
3 free agents — Ramon Sessions, Ersan Ilyasova and Charlie “Chuck-it” Villanueva
barring more trades, about $6-8 million available under the estimated $71 million luxury tax threshold to sign them
A potential core of Andrew Bogut, Michael Redd, Ramon Sessions, Charlie Bell, Luc Mbah a Moute, Amir Johnson, Ersan Ilyasova and Joe Alexander – plus two rookies and aging bigs
A team with another trade or two in mind
Luke “Frodo” Ridnour – Almost sure to be traded, leaving the task of leading the Bucks to the promised land in the good hands of Ramon “Sam” Sessions
newcomers Kurt Thomas and Bruce Bowen – Trade bait to teams looking for veteran help in the playoffs. There’s very little about Kurt Thomas, however, that is interesting, other than the possibility that he could take PT away from a younger player. Bowen could help the Bucks at small forward, but, unfortunately may retire realizing as I’m sure he does that he is trade bait in Milwaukee. Plus, half of Bowen’s $4.1 million salary is not guaranteed, which would give the Bucks about $8 million to play with in resigning free agents.
free agent Ramon “Sam” Sessions – If and when Ridnour is traded, I’ll probably have to stop calling him Sam. I don’t think too many people were getting it anyway. The Bucks will resign Sessions and go into the season with Sessions and Brandon Jennings as their point guards.
free agent Ersan Ilyasova – Bucks will sign 21-year-old Ersan, a 6’9″ forward who’s made the most of his two years abroad after playing the 2006-07 season with the Bucks. Ilyasova had his strongest year as a pro this past season, and was EuroLeague player of the month in October, doing it all for Regal FC Barcelona. He also finished strong, leading Barca to the Euroleague Final Four, where they ended up 3rd. The Bucks will need his help on the front line, which looks pretty shaky now without Richard Jefferson, and with Chuck-it Charlie almost sure to leave in free agency. Check out these Ersan highlights:
free agent Charlie Villanueva – Chuck-it Charlie won’t be a Buck next season. If he is, we’ve all been misled by Bucks management.
newcomer Amir Johnson – JSOnline got the Amir bug today with “Young forward shows promise“, but what else can you really say? Yes, he’s shown promise. Yes, the Pistons gave up on him. Amir, 22, is a long 6’9”, blocks shots, rebounds, does some good things on D … but he’s only played about a quarter per game in the last two seasons. He’s the kind of help Bogut needs in the paint, a player who’ll do the dirty work and free up, say, Ersan, to roam around and knock down some jumpers. His presence means less PT for Francisco Elson, Kurt Thomas and Malik Allen, and that’s probably a good thing.
Luc Mbah a Moute – Probably happy about the Amir Johnson pick-up and happy Bogut should be back to good health. Probably not so pleased about the Bucks trading team leader Jefferson. Mbah a Moute may be called on to perform miracles this season in an increased role.
Joe Alexander – The front line looks pretty weak, if counting on big improvements from Joe. I’m not ready to write him off just yet, but he turned in a D-grade season in his rookie year. Better to pin your hopes on a core frontline of Mbah a Moute, Ilyasova, Bogut and Amir Johnson. Hopefully Joe can develop as a strong, competent contributor in that mix.
rookie Brandon Jennings – Rookie point guard. Sessions’ backup until further notice. Allegedly raw. Allegedly more gifted than some drafted ahead of him.
rookie Jodie Meeks – 2nd round pick, good shooter, behind Michael Redd and Charlie Bell on the depth chart. Probably be new BFF with Salim Stoudamire, who’ll be in his vicinity on the Bucks bench. D-League?
newcomer Salim Stoudamire – No Bucks fans, just because he’s 6’1″ doesn’t mean that Salim’s a point guard. He’s a little shooting guard who just might find himself competing with Meeks for a spot on the roster, depending on subsequent Bucks moves. Had a decent rookie year coming off Atlanta’s bench, playing with Tyronn Lue and Royal Ivey, a couple of bygone Bucks. Why another guard from Atlanta? I don’t know. Bucks picked up his contract in April.
Francisco Elson and Malik Allen – Trade add-ons. The Bucks now have 5 players – Ridnour, Thomas, Bowen, Elson and Allen – representing $17.5 million in 2009-10 expiring contracts. That’s a lot of trade fodder, with many teams drooling at the 2010 free agent class — and Bucks GM Hammond pleased with his options. Five expirings = plenty of options up through the Feb. trading deadline.
Michael Redd – Looking less and less like he fits in here anymore, coming back from knee surgery and drawing $17.1 million salary, but still the starting shooting guard. It’ll be interesting to see if Redd draws any trade interest but I won’t hold my breath this season. I did that last season — it didn’t work and I ended up with high blood pressure. With RJ gone and Chuck-it Charlie out the door, I see visions of Redd hogging the ball, trying to pick up the scoring slack all by himself while the Bucks lose and lose again. Ball movement Mike, ball movement. And Dee-fense.
Charlie Bell – The less Redd plays, the more Charlie Bell and his tough D are in the game, and that’s good for the Bucks. Bum ankles hampered him last year, and he still put together a decent season. Coulda been better, though, and better health from Bell will help the Bucks improve. Can also guard forwards and shoot the 3, of course.
Andrew Bogut – This is Bogut’s Bucks team now. The Bucks will need their center to pick up the scoring this season and to fill the leadership void created by the RJ trade. A midrange shot will help in the former area. 2009-10 would be the year for Bogut to turn in his first All-Star season.
I think that’s everybody, isn’t it? Am I forgetting somebody.
Oh, Dan Gadzuric – Salary’s up to $6.749 mill this season. After 2009-10, there’s still one more season left on his abominable contract.