Tag Archives: Josh Howard

Rumor central: Redd on the trading block… Eric Gordon’s the pick apparent

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.”

Add to that list Dallas SF Josh Howard, Utah’s Andrei Kirkilenko and the Nets’ Richard Jefferson. Most of these forwards have contracts comparable to Redd’s, making the trades viable.

The CNN-Sports Illustrated NBA site has the Woelfel story linked in its rumor section. Join the discussion about it here on the Sportsbubbler fan forum.

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.

Sports Illustrated:

“[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.”

ESPN Insider Chad Ford

“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!”

GM Hammond: Redd is not “untouchable” in trade talks

HammondAnd neither is anybody else, Bucks GM John Hammond told reporter Gery Woelfel in a feature interview that ran in the Racine Journal Times Sunday. 

Center Andrew Bogut and big forward Yi Jianlian, however, are “two, very good young pieces … that you can build around,” Hammond qualified. “Bigs are so hard to find. The Boguts and the Yis … it would be awfully hard to move guys like that.”

Bogut and the Bucks are expected to come to terms on a five-year extension this July that would keep the 23-year-old center in a Bucks uniform through his prime and the 2013-14 season. Including his option for next season, the dollar terms would likely be in the neighborhood of six years – $66-72 million. As for Yi, the Bucks have two exhibition games scheduled in China this September; it’s difficult to imagine the team showing up without Yi.

Hammond continued to address “the untouchables” issue without prompting from interviewer Woelfel.

“Does that mean Michael Redd can be moved? Or anybody else on this roster? No. But I don’t think it’s fair to use the term untouchables when you are a team that won 26 games this year.”

How’s that for dancing around the question? It’s time to stop the music. Consider Michael Redd officially on the trading block.

Journal Times: It was pretty apparent the Bucks had some significant chemistry issues this season. Is it necessary to weed out some of the malcontents on this team or can Skiles come in and alter the attitude?

Hammond:  When you start talking about chemistry issues or evaluating what went wrong with this team … we’re going to evaluate the situation and, if we can do something to improve our team, we’re going to do that. Does that mean we’re going to make wholesale changes? No. We will not do that. That’s not our thinking going in. Chemistry issues, weeding people out, that kind of terminology … it’s going to come down to opportunities. We are going to explore the opportunities that are presented by other teams and go from there.”

Bob Boozer Jinx: With the exception of Bogut and Yi, everybody’s on the trading block, maybe even Ramon Sessions, one player who could make trades work for the Bucks. The Bobby Simmons, Mo Williams and Dan Gadzuric contracts are difficult to move, unless attached with affordable players like Desmond Mason, Charlie Bell, Charlie Villanueva and Sessions. “The way [Sessions] finished the season … as we continue to work the phones (in trade talks) I guarantee you his name will come up,” Hammond said later in the interview.

Journal Times: There’s a good chance Michael Redd will be playing for the United States Olympic Team this summer. Yet, there are some basketball observers who contend Redd isn’t a franchise player. What’s your take on him?

Hammond: “I think Michael Redd is a great player. When you start using terminology like franchise player … I think if we sat down and looked at the (NBA team) board together and said which team has a franchise player, we’d see there aren’t many of them in the league. Even if you said Michael Redd isn’t a franchise player, that’s not taking a shot at Michael Redd. Saying Michael Redd is a great NBA player is a great compliment to him.”

Bob Boozer Jinx: Most Bucks fans have become painfully aware over the last five years that Redd is not Kobe, Lebron, or a few All-Star teams of players, from McGrady to Stoudamire to D-Wade to Joe Johnson. Yet somebody forgot to tell Michael who still thinks he’s as good as his contract, which, to him, meant that last season he had the right to undermine the team on the court. Redd’s “franchise” contract is now a lodestone keeping the Bucks in the Central Division cellar.

JT: I think it’s fair to assume that this summer you’ll be making some trades. What areas would you like to shore up on this team?

Hammond: “If you look at our team, in your backcourt, it is Mo Williams and Michael Redd. Up front, we have Bogut and Yi. Desmond (Mason) is at the small forward position and that might be something you maybe address. You appreciate Desmond for the player he is and the man he is. And you got Bobby (Simmons), so it’s not like the cupboard is bare at that position. But if you say there’s maybe one spot that maybe could be addressed, that would be the small forward position.”

BBJ: The small forward position, a scoring slot for most of Bucks history, has been all but obliterated on the last few Bucks teams. Dez doesn’t shoot well enough to be the starter, Simmons’ career has floundered in Milwaukee and his rehab from ankle and foot surgery has been slow. Bobby’s overpaid, signed on for $20 million over the next two years. Hammond won’t get much back in a trade for Simmons alone, but Simmons and Charlie Bell and a draft pick? That could net a player. Hammond could trade Redd for a small forward (say, to Dallas for Josh Howard, BrewHoop’s favorite trade) which would leave no space on the bench for both Simmons and Mason. A third option is to trade Redd for guards/expiring contracts/future draft picks, and see what Bobby and Dez look like without Redd, but it doesn’t sound as though Hammond is leaning that way.

Hammond could be hinting at the draft, where 19-year-old Danilo Gallinari of Italy is projected to go as high as 6th. Donte Green out of Syracuse and Chase Budinger from Arizona are also ranked in the top 16 picks. There is no room for both Simmons and Dez in this scenario, either. And, as Brewhoop reminds us, there’s always Ersan, the Bucks 2005 2nd round pick, who played small forward for Barcelona this season.

Looking at the SF position is also the obvious answer for Hammond; it’s a throwaway that keeps other players’ names out of the trade market. If Hammond leaks names to be bandied about in trade talks, and the deals fall through, Coach Skiles could be stuck with a situation similar to the one he had last season in Chicago. Bulls GM John Paxson put half the team on the trading block in hopes of acquiring Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant (Kobe’s attempt to trade himself), and the resulting bad vibes didn’t go away. Simmons’ contract ranks as one of the worst in the NBA and every team in the league knows the Bucks would love to get rid of it.

JT: Some Bucks fans believe you should blow up this team, while others believe it just needs to be tweaked. What’s your view on this matter?

Hammond: “Maybe something in between. Maybe more than a tweak, but you sure as heck wouldn’t want to blow up a team with some of the assets that are here.

BBJ: More “maybes.” Players are “assets” but are not “untouchable.” Wholesale changes won’t be made, but only two players are the type to build around. Hammond danced around a lot of questions. The bottom line is that the Bucks have been bogged down the last few seasons with the a group guards and small forwards (Redd, Mo, Charlie Bell, Simmons and Mason) that don’t win games and will cost $46 million next season, two-thirds of the luxury tax limit — not the salary cap, which the Bucks will exceed next season if Hammond does nothing, but the luxury tax (likely to be about $70M). The four bigs (Bogut, Yi, Charlie V and Gadzuric) are young with the exception of Gadz, and will be paid $20 million next season – the last year the group remains a bargain.

So what does Hammond do? Package Simmons and Bell in a trade and hope for the best? No. That’s just asking to lose again and give your new head coach a season of headaches dealing with third-tier “stars.”

I think the reality is that the evaluation of the team is just getting started. Hammond has been on the job a month; Skiles is in his 4th week and has already hired an impressive staff of assistant coaches. At last report the assistant contracts are still in the process of being signed and triplicated. The Bucks won’t know where they’re picking in the draft until the lottery May 20.

One of the holdovers from last season who kept his job was Jason Staudt, the video assistant. This is important. Staudt, one would hope, knows the equipment room and where all the tape from last year is, having invented a filing system so confusing that he cannot be replaced. My guess is that Staudt has been working harder than anyone the last few weeks, preparing an entire season’s worth of evaluation video. So far, there hasn’t been anyone to watch it except Skiles and Hammond. The definitive evaluations won’t get started until the assistant coaches arrive to help Skiles go through it all … and help him drink his beer.

Racine Journal TImes Hammond interview.