Tag Archives: John Salmons trade

Nellie ties Wilkins… Moments of truth for Raptors, Bosh

There’s only so much thinking one can do about Andrew Bogut’s season ending injuries. So yesterday I spent the afternoon and early evening watching the Celtics-Cavs, Lakers-Spurs and the piece de resistance in the Warriors-Raptors game:  Don Nelson’s record-tying 1,332nd win as an NBA head coach.

I realize that rooting against the Raptors only serves  Derrick Rose on his mission to make the playoffs,  which in turn lowers the Bucks 1st round pick in the 2010 draft due to the pick swap that was part of the John Salmons trade. But this was about Don Nelson, our Nellie, the coach who took over the “Green and Growing” Bucks after the 1975 Kareem trade and built a decade-long legacy of winning that still stands as the Bucks franchise heyday, NBA championship or no. Nellie won 536 games in Milwaukee (40% of his total), as the Marques-and-Sidney, Sidney-and-Cummings Bucks averaged 54 wins per season 1980-87. The Bucks playoffs series’ with the great Sixers and Celtics teams became the stuff of legend, along with the coach, his players and those fish ties of his. Nellie loved being in Milwaukee; the city loved him.

A championship yet eludes Nelson, and with the Warriors up for sale, this could be his last season as an NBA head coach. Sunday he tied Lenny Wilkens (Sonics, Cavs, Hawks) for the most wins in NBA coaching history. One more win and Nellie goes down in history. With games against the Wiz, the T-Wolves and the Clippers on tap for the Warriors this week, I’m looking forward to win #1,333.

The Raptors (38-38) are a game ahead of the Bulls (37-39) and hold the tie-breaker. But after watching the Raptors lose a 113-112 shootout at home to the 23-win Warriors Sunday, a day after they did all they could to give away a game in OT to the 26-win Sixers,  I’d have to say the Bulls have the upper hand in the race for 8th. The Raptors predictably ran a track meet with the Warriors (exactly what Golden State likes) and were helpless to defend a 39-point barrage from 3-point land in digging a 12-point 4th quarter hole. A furious comeback led by Chris Bosh and Jarrett Jack fell just short when Sonny Weems, doing his best Larry Bird vs. the Pistons in the 1987 playoffs imitation, stole the inbound under the Golden State basket, passed underneath to Bosh as he fell out of bounds  …  and Bosh blew the layup at the buzzer. 

The young Warriors jumped around a smiling, dancing Nelson in celebration of win #1,332, Bosh (42 pts, 12 rebs) knelt along the baseline, head buried in his arms, Bird-to-DJ moment denied. … Steph Curry was brilliant for the Warriors, nearly putting up the season’s 2nd rookie triple double: 29 pts, 8 rebs, 12 assists.

The Raptors would probably make the playoffs splitting their last six games but that’s looking more and more difficult for this team. A good half of the Raptors rotation, Hedo Turkoglu included, looks ready for the season to end — and for free agent Bosh to move on to Act II of his career, which could very well be set in Chicago.

Derrick Rose Tank?  There was nothing for the Bulls to tank for after agreeing to swap draft picks with the Bucks, and they’re too good to fall in with the ping counters of the league anyway. Maybe that was the point all along in Chicago agreeing to the swap. That, and knowing that when picking in the teens and lower, it’s not so much where you draft as it is who you draft. The Bulls are reminded of this every day, watching their #26 pick overall pick in last summer’s draft, forward Taj Gibson, outperform the hobbled big forward they drafted ahead of Gibson at #16, James Johnson.  And then there’s 2008 #8 pick Joe Alexander wearing a suit on the Chicago bench, nothing if not a reminder of what can go wrong with a top 10 draft pick. For now, the draft can wait — Derrick Rose wants a playoff spot and we’ll all be better for it, Chris Bosh and the Raptors included.

The Bulls beat Charlotte Saturday and host the Bucks in Chicago Tuesday, the Bucks’ first game since losing Bogut for the season. This was going to be a tough game for the Bucks at full strength, the first game for John Salmons against the teammates he began the season with. With Luol Deng back in the lineup for the Bulls, and without Bogut to give Joakim Noah fits in the post… well, it’ll still be a Bucks-Bulls game, one that both teams need coming down the stretch. The Bucks can clinch a playoff spot with a win, which would also go a long way toward holding off the Bobcats for the 6th seed in the East.

Speaking of tanking: Nobody but nobody tanks quite like the Clippers. They’ve embarassed themselves at home against the Warriors and Knicks in the last five games, loafing through a three game road trip in between. Nobody even told the Knicks they had never beaten the Clippers in the Staples Center before Sunday’s game, and now no one has to.

Ray Allen: Lebron James had 42 pts and led the Cavs back from a 23-pt second half deficit after taking over offensive point guard duties. But the day belonged to Ray, who scored 26 pts on 17 shots (not including free throws) compared to Lebron’s 28 pts on 32 shots. Ray was 6-9 from the behind the arc, James 0 for 9 as the Celtics won in Boston, 117-113.  It’s good to see Ray shooting well since the All-Star break, bad news for Celtics playoff opponents. This has been his worst shooting year since 2003 when he shot 35% from three-point land after being traded from the Bucks to the Sonics. But since the All-Star break, Ray’s been back to his usual self, hitting 40.3% (54-134) . If he’s on, the Celtics are still one of the toughest teams to beat in the NBA (as the Cavs were reminded yesterday), a problem that becomes magnified in a seven game playoff series.

With two games against the Bucks ahead and the Hawks with the lighter schedule, the Celtics seemed a lock for the 4th playoff seed in the East. Now that Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett will miss Bogut, the Celtics may be inclined to win out the season. If I were a betting man, though, I’d take the Bucks to win a split vs. the C’s despite the disadvantage in the paint.

Carlos Delfino has a website. But it’s in Spanish, so I can’t really tell you what he’s been telling the fans back in Argentina. It’s good to see him back in the lineup, though, recovered from the neck and head injuries that forced him to miss three games last week. I didn’t see this in the Milwaukee media over the weekend but AP talked to Delfino about his comeback game Friday against the Bobcats (14 points after a rocky start) and the injury itself. Interesting conversation, as the reporter knew more about what happened to Carlos than Carlos did — he doesn’t remember the rebound play under the Bucks basket or the foot of Udonis Haslem in his neck and head area. That would be the foot now referred to as Haslem’s “inadvertant” foot.

I hope to hell we’ve seen the last of the freak injuries to Bucks players this season.

Image: Brian ButchBrian Butch to sign with the Nuggets:  Ridiculous Upside’s been keeping tabs on Butch’s progress with the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League and it seemed only a matter of time before somebody picked up the 6’11” Badger and his reliable 3-point shooting. The big man they call Polar Bear was averaging 18 and 12 for the Jam and was the MVP of the D-League All-Star game.  Butch had been playing as an independent, without an NBA contract, but all that’s about to change as the Nuggets announced they’ve agreed to terms for the rest of the season (and playoffs), as well as a non-guaranteed contract next season.

The Nuggets are thin in the front court with big forward Kenyon Martin’s recuperating knee and an ankle injury to the Birdman, Chris Anderson. Butch may or may not be on the Nuggets 13-man playoff roster, but he is eligible because he is not coming to Denver from an NBA roster (unlike PF Darnell Jackson, whom the Bucks picked up off of waivers from Cleveland).  Also on the Nuggets roster are 7-footer Johan Petro and veteran Malik Allen, a Buck last season. Butch will be the 14th player on the roster.

The Nuggets have been expecting Martin to return for the playoffs, but comments he made last week cast some doubt on whether his knee is making much progress.  The Birdman’s sprained ankle seems to have compounded the need for an additional big man, prompting Denver to make a move.

It’s official: John Salmons is a Buck, and Royal Ivey too!

The Salmons trade is a done deal. At the end of the day, Chicago wanted more in player talent from the Bucks and was willing to give up more in the form of future draft picks.

UPDATE: The Official trade sends Hak Warrick ($3 mil) and Bucks 2008 draft disappointment Joe Alexander ($2.58 mil) to the Bulls for Salmons ($6.43 mil). Warrick and Francisco Elson would not have been doable under NBA trade restrictions. Because the Bucks sweetened the pot considerably from the original Kurt Thomas-Elson talks, the Bulls added 2011 and 2012 2nd round picks, plus gave the Bucks the option of swapping 2010 1st round picks. With this last clause, Chicago GM John Paxson is betting that the Bucks will draft higher than the Bulls this summer due to the Bulls finishing ahead of them in the standings.

The Bob Boozer Jinx interpretation: “Take Salmons: He maybe might help you but he won’t make your Bucks better than my Bulls.”

Trade #2: The Bucks have traded rookie guard Jodie Meeks and center Francisco Elson to the Sixers for former Buck Royal Ivey and a 7-footer named Primoz Brezec, plus a 2010 2nd round draft pick.  This is Bucks GM John Hammond correcting another of his summer 2008 mistakes (letting Ivey go) while also acknowledging that Meeks is not in the current or future plan (again, assuming Hammond has a future plan). Signing idle Jerry Stackhouse last month was at least a sign that developing Meeks wasn’t a Bucks priority. This deal seals that Meeks was not working out for coach Scott Skiles.

Ivey is a player Skiles would have loved to have around all of last season. He’s 6’4″, rangy and intensely defensive-minded; a point guard big enough to play shooting guard, and a decent 3-baller (he’s improved the shot since he left the Bucks).  Ivey played a full season in Milwaukee for Larry Krystowiak (2007-08) and then signed with the Sixers for two-yrs, $2 mil.  The Bucks made no attempt to retain him, instead signing Tyronn Lue for $2.25 mil – more than double Ivey’s pay with the Sixers.

It’s useful to note here that Lue was Ivey’s backup in Atlanta circa 2007, and that Lue was traded for … yes, a bigger more defensive minded guard (Keith Bogans) after Michael Redd was lost for the season.  Bogans was even more expensive than Lue – $2.6 mil, which meant the Bucks were close to nearly tripling Ivey’s 2008-09 Sixers’ salary with players that were not nearly as effective.  Sometimes it’s the little things.

Meanwhile, Ivey was a key part of the Sixers late-4th quarter rotation last season as they made the playoffs. Ivey brings to the Bucks the same crunchtime defense and savvy, and ability to make plays.

The Bucks are looking more and more like a team serious about making a playoff run. Whether or not playing with John Salmons is good for Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut down the road remains to be seen, but two things are certain: 

1) A stockpile of future draft picks is a swell thing to have around and, 2) There’s one prfunky Bucks fan I know who is going to get a nice kick out of the return of Royal Ivey. (It’ll take days to convince him I didn’t make it up.)

Directing your attention to: Kelly Dwyer’s excellent Ball Don’t Lie commentary on the Cavs trade for Antawn Jamison. The Cavs may win a championship this season with Jamison but wasn’t Amar’e Stoudamire the guy to help Lebron win two or three?  Aww, it must be hell to be a Cavs fan these days (not a reference to Dwyer who happens to be a Bulls fan).