No question about it — as you read here last week — Michael Redd is officially on the trading block. And with that realization this week, national sports media scrapped its conventional wisdom on what the Bucks will do with their lottery pick.
Bucks GM John Hammond has been contacting other GMs to scout out trade interest, with Redd featured prominently in those discussions, reported Racine Journal Times Bucks writer Gery Woelfel in his Tuesday column. Woelfel also reported that Charlie Villanueva is a focus of interest from the GMs Hammond has talked to. Hammond’s search for a small forward is on.
“In a recent interview with The Journal Times, Bucks general manager John Hammond said the one position he would like to ‘address’ is small forward. Desmond Mason and Bobby Simmons are the Bucks’ current small forwards and both are coming off pedestrian seasons,” Woelfel wrote.
“Hammond could find a potentially good forward in the draft with the team’s eighth overall pick. There is also increasing speculation small forward Ersan Ilyasova, whom the Bucks selected in the second round of the 2005 draft and who spent this season playing for FC Barcelona in Spain, will return to the Bucks next season.
Hammond could also acquire a veteran small forward via a trade. There are a surprising glut of talented small forwards who could be dealt, including Denver’s Carmelo Anthony, Miami’s Shawn Marion, the Clippers Corey Maggette, Sacramento’s Ron Artest, Washington’s Antawn Jamison and Chicago’s Andres Nocioni.”
ESPN’s NBA Rumor Central got into the action, featuring Michael Redd trade talks today. It’s an Insider story – a pay feature – and this is not an endorsement. If you’re not in the mood to give ESPN money, wildly speculate as I do.
As of Tuesday, it was assumed the Bucks were looking for a point guard in the draft (which they’re not). Many mock draft sites, ESPN and SI included, had the Bucks taking Texas point guard D.J. Augustin with the #7 pick.
I wildly speculate that national sports media doesn’t pay that much attention to the Bucks unless the team is trying to acquire a coach or player that the NY Knicks want. But then Woelfel’s column hit the rumor mills, Bucks GM John Hammond, I’m sure, had a few conversations when he was in NY/NJ for the lottery, sources were called, some journalism got done and suddenly the national sports media realized what the Bucks and Hammond are up to this summer.
By Wednesday, Indiana shooting guard Eric Gordon was the consensus pick, Augustin was out of the picture and Redd was on the trading block, with Hammond scouting for a small forward and willing to trade Redd to get one. What a difference a few hours makes.
“[Gordon]’s the best player available here, an explosive scorer with a solid family background. His arrival may allow the Bucks to move Michael Redd’s enormous salary if they’re so disposed.”
“Milwaukee could go in a lot of different directions. Its biggest need is at small forward, but this may be too high to draft Joe Alexander or Donte Greene. With the Bucks expected to be active on the trade market this summer, they can draft the best available player and then work things out later. Gordon is a dynamic scorer who could free up the Bucks to trade Michael Redd.”
A pitfall to this scenario is that Gordon could be gone when the Bucks pick, unless Hammond is able to trade up, which doesn’t seem likely. The culprit would be the L.A. Clippers, drafting ahead of the Bucks at #7. The concensus seems to be that Gordon would be the best player available at #7, but that the Clippers need a point guard and seem likely to draft for need rather than go into next season with Dan Dickau as the starting point guard.
If the Clippers take “the best player available” route and draft Gordon, the Bucks would be looking at a couple of small point guards, “project” forwards Anthony Randolph and Donte Green, maybe UCLA’s Kevin Love, who would only crowd the power forward position further for the Bucks. Italian small forward Danilo Gallinari‘s stock is rising, and it seems unlikely he’ll be available at #8.
If Gordon is gone, the Bucks would do well to swap the pick for a lower pick to trigger any number of trades, especially when dealing with Western Conference playoff teams.
Brewhoop’s take on the Woelfel column notes that it may be tricky putting the pick in play in trades involving some key players because of the NBA’s base year compensation (BYC) rules. For example, the Bucks can’t trade the pick to Dallas with Michael Redd in a deal for Josh Howard because Dallas can’t do a Redd-Howard deal until after July 1. (Bucks would have to draft on behalf of Dallas or swap picks with the Mavs for future considerations). Howard received a big raise last summer, so for trading purposes, his salary doesn’t yet count fully against Redd’s, and is still tied to his base year salary of 2006-07.
In an NBA trade, the salaries going out have to match the salaries coming in, give or take 25 percent. The base year rule prevents a team from giving a player a big raise simply to make the salaries in a trade work. A team giving a big raise to a player is forced to wait a year before trading that player to ensure against salary shenanigans. Any trade involving Mo Williams would have to wait as well, Brew Hoop points out. (Mo got a $5.8 million raise last summer).
This is important because the Dallas Mavericks are a good possibilty for a Redd trade, given the Mavs stable of aging shooting guards and an early exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Hornets. Howard fits the bill as a small forward Hammond will likely be inquiring about. This trade is also known as Brewhoop’s favorite Michael Redd trade.
Bucks Diary doesn’t think too highly of this year’s lottery talent. His verdict: “It stinks!” Now, if you invert it … BD makes a good argument for there being more NBA-ready players projected to go in the lower half of the first round. Richard Hendrix, Joe Alexander, Mo Spaights, Ryan Anderson, et al. “The Bucks have to trade out of the lottery. The gold is all down stream!”