This just in from Georgia, where my pal Johnny, noted Royal Ivey fan, was on the road listening to ESPN radio:
The Bucks No. 10 pick is gone, and with it John Salmons and Corey Maggette.
ESPN reported today that the Bucks have agreed to trade the pick to Sacramento as part of a 3-team deal that sent Corey Maggette and Sacramento’s No. 7 pick to Michael Jordan’s rebuilding Hornets team (which now has the No. 7 and No. 9 picks).
Bucks shooting guard John Salmons returns to Sacramento, where he became an 18 ppg scorer (in 2007-08), to the Kings team that signed him in free agency from Philly. This will be a homecoming of sorts for Salmons.
The Bucks get Charlotte shooting guard Stephen Jackson, reserve Shaun Livingston and the Bobcats No. 19 pick. From the Kings, the Bucks receive a tall, lefty, good-vision point guard who can shoot, Beno Udrih.
There’s no need to sit and wonder why. Yesterday, I wrote that the Bucks “would improve quicker and with more alacrity if they use the pick to dump the junk on their roster and try to bring in an NBA player (not a college kid) to back up John Salmons.”
The Salmons-with-a-rookie-backing-him-up idea never sounded very good. Improvement in that scenario relied on Salmons bouncing back from his worst season since 2006-07, when he was a Sixer, and then on an untested college player.
I did think Salmons would bounce back. Fish sprained his knee last summer in a Philly pick-up game and was never fully healthy last season in 72 games. His shooting suffered mightily from a series of dings and muscle pulls in his legs, and he often seemed sluggish on the court. 2011-12 may turn out to be his best, most consistent season as a pro, and there are few 2-guard defenders in the NBA as good as Salmons. That story, unfortunately, will unfold in Sacramento while Bucks fans learn to love (and hate) Stephen Jackson.
Stephen Jackson, slated now to be the Bucks starting shooting guard, is — like Salmons — one of the better 2-guard defenders in the league, an aggressive competitor whom Scott Skiles will love (though ESPN is already reporting that Jackson’s not happy about the prospect of playing in Milwaukee). This seems odd for a guy who played the early years of career with the small-market Pacers.
(It turns out Jackson was drafted by Phoenix when Skiles was a Suns assistant to Danny Ainge. Skiles and Jackson spoke yesterday, had a good long talk and everything’s fine).
It should be noted, however, that even when healthy Jackson has not shot as well in his career as even a sluggish, limping Salmons did last season, a sobering reality for Bucks fans who certainly don’t need any more sobering realities.
But it should also be noted that Jackson’s 2-year/$19.3 million contract is not as lengthy as the 3-plus years remaining for Salmons, and he’s $1.5 million cheaper than Maggette, which means the trades carve out a savings of $1 million next season.
(On re-read edit, that last note looks completely absurd, now that we realize that Bucks owner Herb Kohl is writing of millions in player depreciation every year and kept Michael Redd around because, more than anything, Redd was a walking tax shelter.)
Jackson’s Career averages: 16.3 pts, 41.8% field goal shooting, 33.9% 3-point shooting, a brawl in the stands in Detroit and a couple of recent run-ins with Luc Mbah a Moute and Salmons, who have consistently D-ed up on Jackson a little tougher than Captain Jack prefers.
Shooting, as Bucks fans know too well, is not high priority for a Skiles team that makes constant pressure defense, forcing turnovers and strong rebounding its calling cards. Jackson’s streaky shooting will drive Bucks fans nuts, but he’s got the defensive requisites covered.
As the Bob Boozer Jinx editorial board broke open a 30-pack of Pabst, threw some cheap-o pizzas in the oven and settled in for the NBA draft special, we came to one conclusion: In addition to moving Maggette, who proved incapable of playing Skiles-worthy defense, the key to the deal may turn out to be …
Beno Udrih, a tall, rangy, left-handed, pass first point guard who can stick a jumper. Udrih, who’s had some great floor games against Jennings in the last two seasons, will be slated to back up Jennings and Jackson (given Keyon Dooling’s limitations and inability to run an offense or a fast break). The idea that he’ll be like Luke Ridnour and share the court with Jennings for some rotations, is already gathering steam in the Bucks camp. It’s a good idea, and could prove to be explosive offensively despite the defensive limitations of the principals. A Jennings-Udrih-Delfino-Mbah a Moute-Bogut rotation has a nice ring to it.
Udrih last season for the Kings: 13.7 pts, 4.9 assists, 1.2 steals in 34 minutes per game. Beno shot 50% from the floor, 35.7% from downtown and 86.4 percent from the line.
As far as the Bucks go, only Ersan Ilyasova, who made 50 percent of his two-point jump shots last season and shot 89% from the line, is as reliable as Udrih from the outside.
Ersan, by the way, is still a Buck. The rumors about the Bucks trading Ilysovsa for a draft pick haven’t panned out, as the Kings are about to announce their pick which will go to the Bobcats with Maggette.
The Bobcats at No. 7 went with Bismack Biyombo, 6-9, 245 defensive phenom with a 7-7 wingspan who dominated the 2011 18-year-old Nike Hoops Summit. Biyombo, from the Republic of Congo, was absolutely monstrous in the paint in that game, and was a player that many Bucks fans had hoped would fall to No. 10.
Biyombo, Maggette and the Cats also have the No. 9 pick.
Kemba Walker and Kawhi Leonard are still on the board, as the Pistons selected Brandon Knight at No. 8. (I would have taken Walker ahead of Knight).
Texas big forward Tristan Thompson went No. 4 to the Cavs, the surprise of the draft so far.
The Bucks have the Bobcats No. 19 pick, where they should find a decent player, possibly a center such as Nikola Vucevic or Keith Benson, possibly Donatas Motiejunas. Marshon Brooks may even fall to No. 19, though he’s been on the rise and this doesn’t seem likely.
Michael Jordan’s haul today for the Bobcats … Corey Maggette, Bismack Biyombo and Kemba Walker.