Tag Archives: New Orleans Hornets

The Chris Kaman conspiracy: Are the Bucks in the game?

No Andrew Bogut until April at the earliest, highly speculative and tenuous playoff hopes, a Bogut-less Bucks fan base that needs those playoff hopes, no space under the salary cap next season and most of the necessary roster ingredients for a trade.

Stir it all together and you’ve got motive and opportunity for the Bucks to be party to a trade for veteran center Chris Kaman, who’s been publicly placed on the trading block by the New Orleans Hornets.   The Hornets reportedly want “draft picks, cap space and a young player” for the 29-year-old former All-Star (2010) and his expiring $14 million contract.  The Celtics have already declined.

The Bucks have young players, draft picks and the expiring contracts of Ersan Ilyasova and Carlos Delfino, not enough to make the trade.  (See Bucks salaries at Shamsports.com). But Stephen Jackson’s contract could get them there, if the Hornets are willing to take on Jack’s $10 million salary next season.  Add Ilyasova, draft picks and/or the developing Darington Hobson, Larry Sanders et. al., and a trade could work.

The Hornets could do a lot worse.  Ilyasova’s become one of the better rebounding forwards in the league and would be a good addition to the Hornets undersized front court, led by Emeka Okafor.  It’s no secret that, while Ersan is a key member of the Bucks core, Bucks management hasn’t been willing to trust him with starting PF minutes.  For all the good Ersan does on the court, at the end of the day he’s still standing in the way of Jon Leuer‘s development.  Acquiring Kaman helps solve the Bucks defensive rebounding problems (yes, it’s still a problem) in the short term, and clears minutes for Leuer.

So while the Bucks are giving up the better rebounder (currently) and defender in Ilyasova, they would shore up the center position while clearing $14 million in cap space next season.  And Jackson?   The Hornets would be well under the cap next summer standing pat, and adding Jackson would still leave them Room.  They’d only have to pay Jack a year (or less if they trade him).  And, as the Bucks have discovered this season, Jack’s a good guy to have around in spite of all the angry yapping.

So why don’t the Bucks keep him?  Delfino and Mike Dunleavy, jr. play more or less the same position as Jack, and Luc Mbah a Moute needs small forward/guard minutes, too (locking down on Joe Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Paul Pierce, Lebron James, Danny Granger, Carmelo Anthony, to name a few).  Jack’s fairly expendable, and the Bucks play just fine without him.

Kaman fits in well in the Bucks scheme, and he’s a more reliable offensive player than Bogut.  Kaman helps get the Bucks to the post-season, where the Bucks would have Bogues, too (in theory) and a formidable white behemoth front court.

So would the NBA-owned Hornets sting on this trade?   With the league office involved, it’s not clear that the Bucks have the right expiring contracts for a trade, but there are a lot worse contracts out there than Jackson’s (Drew Gooden’s comes to mind).  A trade would likely depend on the young players, whether the Hornets want to keep Ilyasova, and the value of the draft picks involved.

It also depends on Bucks GM John Hammond, never one to stand pat or worry about stability or player development.

Of course, it’s also likely that I’m just talking myself into it so I can post crazy Chris Kaman photos.

Chris Douglas-Roberts out for a month

Not five minutes after raising the question yesterday of how Skiles would manage his logjam on the wings with John Salmons, Carlos Delfino, Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts, a rare visit to BobBoozerJinx @ twitter was greeted with an update from CDR, the Bucks resident Twitter-addict:  CDR will miss about a month of the season.

“I went thru hell 2day.Got eye surgery.Lucky though b/c if I were a day or two late I could’ve lost my vision.Cant play hoop for a MONTH. :-(“

And an update:

“Three needles shot under my eye.I was awake the whole time.Shii scared me.”

And an updated update, and another, and another:

“So now I have to lay flat on my back for a week so my eye can heal properly. H/e,I cant do anything hoop wise for 3 weeks. Which kills me…”

And finally:

“So I refuse to watch any hoop unless the Bucks or the Bulls are playing. B/c watching hoop & not being able to play hoop is torture for me.”

see http://twitter.com/cdouglasroberts

Bad break for CDR, who had lobbied to come to Milwaukee from New Jersey so he could play for a tough, defensive-minded coach like Scott Skiles. It’s also bad news for Bucks and Brandon Jennings faithful who see CDR — not Salmons or Maggette — as Jennings’ running mate of the future.  Adding the cat-quick, explosive CDR to the Bucks core simply made more sense than Maggette, who’s never played much D and was a vocal malcontent after Nellie made it clear that rookie Stephon Curry — not Maggette — had to be the focus of the Golden State offense.

But the unfortunate poke in the eye to CDR does allow Skiles to showcase Maggette off the bench without conscience — and Maggette will shoot it without conscience.  It’s pretty well understood in Bucks land that Salmons is the Bucks starting shooting guard, for this season anyway, and that Maggette’s best role is to play behind both Salmons and Carlos Delfino, helping the Bucks second unit get to the free throw line, Maggette’s undeniable strength.

Don’t expect Maggette to light it up from 3-point land — he won’t (32 percent career from downtown don’t lie, and is even a little scary considering coach Skiles’ maddening belief in letting guys crank it up from out there as if he doesn’t realize that he’s no longer coaching Ben Gordon).  But Maggette has been a 50 percent shooter or better from inside the arc, where Skiles needs to make sure that he stays.

THE LINEUP: Skiles hasn’t announced his starters yet, but Salmons has been practicing at full tilt, so expect the Fish to start in the backcourt with Jennings, with Delfino at small forward.  Bogut is ready to go at center, and tonight begins his long road to the 2011 All-Star game.

Power forward? Still an unanswered question at this point, given the match-up problem presented tonight by one David West, New Orleans Hornet All-Star.   The natural inclination would be to dog West with a combination of Luc Mbah a Moute and Ersan Ilyasova … but Mbah a Moute is still hobbled with an ankle sprain and might not play.

Skiles may go with Drew Gooden to start the game, a development that bears watching.   Skiles has been starting Gooden with Bogut but the Bucks haven’t exactly been winning games in the preseason with Gooden logging big minutes and Mbah a Moute sidelined.  I’m suddenly reminded of last season when Skiles started the season with Kurt Thomas as the starting power forward before giving way to Ersan and Luc, who not only earned their PT but won games with Bogut and Jennings until injuries to Bogut and Luc (and the advent of Michael Redd) derailed the Bucks fast start.

I hope Skiles remembers that he has a rising star in Ersan Ilyasova, who led Turkeys campaign to the silver medal in this year’s world championships, and just might be the solution to the Bucks jinx at the power forward position

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HARDWOOD PAROXYSM’s Bucks preview is a good read but there’s nary a mention of Ilyasova despite HP’s otherwise great understanding of BJ and Bogut and the Bucks D.

BREWHOOP has some links to other preseason NBA picks and predictions, some of which are interesting.  Note that anybody picking the Bucks lower than 4 in the East hasn’t seen them play much with Bogut anchoring the D, and is either a Bulls fan or an ESPN television boob (who can forget ESPN’s horrific Bucks-Hawks Game 7 broadcast last spring?).  The writers pick the Bucks to win the Central.

Waiting for those pre-season browwnz to clear

Years ago, in what seems now like another lifetime, I was sitting on the steps of my neighbors porch on Thalia Street in New Orleans, eating a plateful of beans and rice, when my neighbor let out a sigh and looked wistfully at some point of nowhere and away, down toward St. Charles. “What’s the matter,” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t know … nothin’ really,” she said, and maybe sighed again (she probably did but, remember, this was so long ago that it may never have happened at all). “I just got a case of the browns.”

I got the feeling she wasn’t talking about the beans and rice. “The browns? What are those?”

“They’re kinda like the blues but, no, not so bad as the blues. They’re, you know, just … the browwnz.”

I haven’t found since better words to describe what the browns are than those: “just … the browwnz.”  The browwnz can be difficult to pin down, I do know that. And I’ve also come to know when I’ve got ’em.

I’ve got em now, thanks to an NBA pre-season that has seemed without end, the Bucks not healthy enough to field their starting roster even once.  The Bucks aren’t healthy yet, 27 hours before their season opener in the very place where the browwnz were identified — New Orleans.  And, no, at last check of the clock, the NBA pre-season hasn’t ended.

The Celtics and Heat tip the 2010-11 season off tonight at 6:35 pm, give or take a minute or two (yes, I’m counting the minutes).  I’m expecting Lebron to find KG, Rondo, Ray and #34 just as smart and clutch-and-grab aggressive as they were in dominating last season’s eastern conference playoffs.  For now, KG is healthy. NBA fans should know by now, after three seasons in Boston, that (sorry D-Wade and Bosh, and Dwight) a healthy KG is the most valuable asset in the conference.

It’s also worth noting that the Celtics have Lebron’s second most valuable Cavs asset, Delonte West, coming off the bench behind Ray Allen (Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Mr. Cav, being Lebron’s most valuable teammate in Cleveland). The addition of West (loaded guns aside) to play with Ray, Rajon Rondo and Nate “the gnat” Robinson gives the Celtics, hands down, the best guard rotation on the planet.  Inside, KG, Jermaine O’Neal and Shaq are more than Bosh and Big Z (and Anthony) can handle, whether the Heat jell or not.   If this game is an early season sneak preview of the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals, no complaints here, unless the Bucks fail to give one of these top two in the East some playoff hell.

The Bucks and Hornets get going at 7:05 pm Wednesday. Brandon Jennings vs. Chris Paul, CP3 finally healthy after missing half of last season … that’s plenty of fun to watch in a season opener, and Andrew Bogut seems to be doing fine, though he’s not yet in 35-minute playing shape.   John Salmons will play — but beyond that, most everything else to do with the Bucks is open to question, given that the rotation hasn’t played together in a game.  Hence, the browwnz, and a preseason that has seemed without end.

And I know enough about the browwnz to realize that trying to answer those many Bucks questions now is hubris.

We don’t know how or whether Skiles will be able to manage his wing rotation with Fish, Carlos Delfino, Chris Douglas-Roberts and Corey Maggette all vying for PT. (This just in: Chris Douglas-Roberts is reporting on his twitter that he had eye surgery today and can’t play ball for a month.)

We don’t know whether Maggette can play tough enough D to warrant solid PT.  We don’t know whether Drew Gooden, Luc Mbah a Moute (hobbled by an ankle sprain) or Ersan Ilyasova will start at power forward. We don’t whether or not Keyon Dooling will be as effective as Luke Ridnour was backing up Jennings. We’ll have to wait and see.

We do know that this is the first season in ten years that the Bucks will go into the season without Michael Redd in a Bucks uniform.  Redd’s nowhere to be found in Bucks camp, and likely will not join his team on the bench in street clothes while GM John Hammond searches for a deal to unload Redd and his ridiculously absurd $18.3 million contract.

And knowing this with the tip-off of the Bucks season 27 hours away, I can feel those NBA pre-season browwnz beginning to clear away.