Happy Labor Day Bucks fans! If you happen to be working today, I hope you're getting at least time-and-a-half. If you're still following the exploits of our Bucks through this offseason, I hope you're getting double time.
Somehow this summer, the Milwaukee Bucks managed to acquire Carlos Delfino and Roko Ukic in a trade AND ADD to a near luxury-tax-limit payroll. They gave up Amir Johnson, a player whom Bucks GM John Hammond said, was "something special."
Now, it looks as though the Bucks could be about to tell us they can't afford point guard Ramon Sessions, a fan favorite whose development has been one of the few Bucks bright spots the last two seasons.
No, it doesn't make much sense and it's not going to — which is why I'm holding out hope that GM Hammond has some more wheeling and dealing to do this season — and will match the offer Sessions received last week from the Minnesota T-Wolves (4 yrs, $16m) to add to his player resources. The Bucks have until February to get under the $69.2 million luxury tax threshold.
So there I was pondering the possibilities, frustrated and weary like most Bucks fans are these days, the midnight oil burning away, when I suddenly besmelt a cigar and heard the gruffly growling voice of Red Auerbach.
"Don't be afraid for a guy to block your shot …"
I figured I was dreaming, because, next thing you know, the Bucks were opening the 2009-10 season with Luke "Frodo" Ridnour at point guard. Where was Sessions? Where was the rookie, Jennings? The Bucks were in Philadelphia, where (last season) Bogut woke up in a hotel to find his back broken — and now the Sixers, Royal Ivey, Sam Dalembert, Louis Williams, the whole lot of them, appear as ringwreaths, hounding Frodo, hunting him all over the court.
"They were once men," the disembodied voice of Julius Erving says over the loudspeaker. "The ring is their master. They will never stop hunting the ring."
Ridnour's having a terrible time. Brandon Jennings sits nervously on the bench: "What's this about a ring?" he asks Coach Scott Skiles, who scowls at a blank space somewhere on the court, refusing to answer.
Against Detroit at home, Jennings bumps into Pistons GM Joe Dumars in the hallway and asks him what the ring is all about.
"All I know is, Stern wants it back," Dumars growls, and stalks off grumbling about Charlie Villanueva's lack of interest in defense.
Rip Hamilton, freed from the Iverson dungeon he made for himself last season, charges out of the dressing room riding a horrible wolflike creature, a warg. He, too, seems to think Frodo has the ring.
A couple of days later, in Chicago, it happens again. Did Derrick Rose get quicker in the offseason? Ridnour wonders.
In Minnesota, they Bucks find Ramon Sessions and a kid named Flynn. Frodo is weakening, and is fingering something in his pocket. Jennings is beginning to believe Luke does have this mysterious ring, and watches him closely. He realizes that he wants it for himself, he does, this precious ring.
Early in the 4th quarter, Ridnour vanishes in thin air. He reappears later driving the Zamboni at the Marriuci ice center at the U, talking with some local hockey nuts about the Gophers chances this year.
Bucks coach Skiles tells Frodo to park it for a while and Jennings starts through the Bucks six game homestand … After a game in which Devin Harris of the Nets appears in wraith form destroying the Bucks perimeter D on the way to a 41-point, 13 assist performance, Jennings is seen wearing the ring as he orders a filet-o-fish and bag 'o' fries at a McDonalds drive-thru. He has forgotten his credit card and there is a strange woman with him.
"Did I mention the drive through?" She asks.
Some say that Derrick Rose has swiped the ring, because it's not in the drive through anymore. Others suspect that Rajon Rondo stole it when he blindsided Jennings into the scorers' table in Boston Dec. 8. "There are so many of them," the beleagured rookie was overheard to say as passed by Skiles on his way to the Bucks bench.
Bucks GM John Hammond has unfortunately ignored his own best advice and, in desperation, peers into the lost seeing stone at Summerfest … and is bewitched. Hammond forgets that Amir Johnson is "something special" and decides that aging big man Kurt Thomas will be more helpful than Amir. Johnson is gone for two deep bench players from Toronto who somehow add to the Bucks payroll …
The fellowship is broken, whatever that was.
It's only a matter of time before David Stern has the ring and reduces the east to three teams — the Lebrons in New York, the Celtics and Magic — and D-Wade if he promises to relocate to Chicago. If Stern gets the ring, the Lakers will be the only team left in the west. ….
I WOKE up in a fright — could it be? … the dream seemed so real … I dug frantically through the Journal Sentinel's laying in a pile waiting for my lazy ass to recycle them. Oh no, the Amir trade DID happen. How could this be? What's next, a trade for DARKO …
in a panic, I checked Sessions' status … the T-wolves had really made their offer.
But there was still time, though precious little time, for the Bucks to match the T-wolvese offer. … They have until February to make trades … to cut payroll and deal Frodo, or Kurt Thomas, Roko Ukic, Carlos Delfino, Walter Sharpe, Francisco Elson.
The Bucks roster is stock full of trade filler.
Carlos Delfino and Roko Ukic. Those links are their basketball-reference.com pages. I don't have anything to add here other than that the Bucks are set to pay a combined $5 million for their services this season.