Join Date: Apr 2009
Re: For the Bucks fans
Let Luke Ridnour go, signed Keyon Dooling for two years, $4.1 million. Milwaukee made the right move in letting Ridnour walk, as he was coming off a Fluke Rule season and would have required a long-term commitment to keep as an expensive backup to Jennings. Dooling isn't risk free -- he has had some injury issues the past two years and isn't great at running an offense -- but he defends and will make enough shots to keep opposing defenses honest.
Traded Charlie Bell and Dan Gadzuric to Golden State for Corey Maggette and No. 44 pick; sold pick to New York. This was one of my favorite moves of the summer, adding precisely what the Bucks need -- a proven, high-efficiency scorer who gets to the line -- in return for two dead-weight contracts. Maggette will miss 20 games with injuries and doesn't defend or pass much, but he's such a devastating scorer that he's still tremendously valuable. Financially, the deal saves the Bucks some money in 2010-11, and while Maggette is well compensated (owed $31 million over the next three years), Milwaukee has such a strong cap position right now that the Bucks can easily swallow it.
Drafted Larry Sanders, Darington Hobson and Keith Gallon. Sanders was a good grab in the middle of the first round as a running center who can provide some athleticism for the second unit. Basically, he should give the Bucks a less spastic version of Gadzuric and has some upside going forward. Hobson and Gallon were good value picks in the second round; Gallon is unlikely to play much while he tries to get in shape, but Hobson should see some action and could crack the rotation.
Signed Drew Gooden to a five-year, $34 million deal. A lot of folks didn't like this deal, and I understand why. Historically, full midlevel deals for second-tier players have worked out horribly. I think this one might be an exception. Gooden played very well the past two seasons and has filled out enough that he can steal minutes at center. He's been good enough, in fact, that even if he declines in the coming years, he'll justify most of his contract. In a free-agent market that quickly grew overheated, this might turn out to be one of the more reasonable contracts.
Re-signed John Salmons to a five-year, $40 million deal. The last year isn't fully guaranteed, but this is still a bad contract. The difference is the Bucks didn't have much choice. Once a team is over the cap, it has incredible incentive to overpay its free agents, because it has no means of replacing them. With Salmons, the Bucks' only realistic alternative was a sign-and-trade for a cap exception, and I'm not sure the exception would have been big enough for them to do anything notable. Salmons played great this past spring, but he turns 31 in December and never was all that good to begin with. One suspects the third and fourth years of this deal might get ugly.
Traded 2012 second-round pick to New Jersey for Chris Douglas-Roberts. Again, the Bucks sought out scoring over the summer and got it with Douglas-Roberts, whose skills as a one-on-one creator should prove particularly helpful during the 20 games Maggette sits out with hamstring pulls and ankle sprains.
Acquired Jon Brockman in a sign-and-trade for Darnell Jackson and a second-round pick. Brockman received three guaranteed years at $1 million apiece from the Bucks, locking up the league's top offensive rebounder (as measured by offensive rebound rate) from last season at a bargain price. Considering the deal cost the Bucks virtually nothing, this was a steal. He'll probably battle Sanders for the fourth big man role after Bogut, Gooden and Ilyasova.
Let Royal Ivey go, signed Earl Boykins for one year, veteran's minimum. Boykins is an insurance proposition as the team's third point guard.
Biggest Strength: The Bench
With so many additions this offseason, the Bucks legitimately go 12 deep. If Hobson makes an impact, you can make it 13, meaning the Bucks will have some serious competition just to don a uniform if everyone stays healthy. I have Milwaukee's bench rated fourth in the league in my preseason rankings, and that was with Maggette as a starter; if he comes off the pine, Milwaukee will have the best second unit in basketball.
It could get better, as backup point guard looms as the one weakness -- Dooling was an inexpensive pickup but is a question mark for this season, while Boykins also represents a liability. If Dooling struggles, we might see the Bucks use a big backcourt when Jennings checks out, sharing the ballhandling among Salmons, Delfino and Hobson. The good news is that backup point guard is the easiest position to fill in-season.
Otherwise, few teams have more options off the pine. The Bucks have an ace defender (Mbah a Moute), a spectacular rebounder (Brockman), a frontcourt greyhound (Sanders) and a long-range shooter (Ilyasova). Douglas-Roberts can provide scoring on the wings, Hobson another ballhandler and Delfino -- if he isn't starting -- the glue at both ends. If it's Maggette who comes off the bench, the Bucks also might have the league's sixth-man winner.
Finally, they have the perfect coach to take advantage of this strength. Few coaches like to go deep into the bench as early or as often as Skiles does, so he'll make use of his entire complement of players.