NBA AM: Are The Bucks Holding Firm?
Bucks Standing Firm? There are some franchises that are known to trade at the trade deadline and there are others that are notorious draft day traders. The Milwaukee Bucks are usually one of the teams triggering major deals in and around the draft, however this year Bucks’ General Manager John Hammond is saying they will hold on to the #12 overall pick, which means they almost assuredly they won’t.
“We have done this over the last couple years. We’ve made a major trade at the draft,” Hammond said to Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel. “And to be honest with you, we’re hoping not to do something like that.
“I remember saying (last year), ‘We’re doing too much of this.’ Whatever we can do to improve our team we’re going to do. But we’ve got some pieces we think we can move forward with. We like our team.”
There has been speculation that the Bucks might part with one of their core pieces in order to make a splashy trade to acquire a proven NBA big man, something Hammond says he is betting against.
“We like Brandon (Jennings) at 1; we like Monta (Ellis) at 2. We like Luc Mbah a Moute. We like Tobias Harris; we like Jon Leuer. We like Drew Gooden; we like Ekpe (Udoh). We like Larry Sanders.
“They’re young players; they’re good players. They have upside. I hope something like that doesn’t happen.
“Once again, it comes back to what is the right thing to do for this organization. If that’s the case, we would do it (a trade). But I don’t foresee that happening.”
The Bucks have been talking about adding size since trading away Andrew Bogut at the trade deadline this year. Hammond says pigeonholing the Bucks into drafting only a center would be a mistake.
“I think right now there’s the assumption that we’re looking at a narrow-minded set and we have to go big,” Hammond said. “There’s a need there. So obviously that is going to be a discussion and it is going to be somewhat of a priority for us.
“But at the end of the day, the most important thing is that you’re drafting talent.”
With so much uncertainty surrounding this draft, Hammond and the Bucks known someone is going to fall to them and they want to be opened minded about how that could play out.
“I think we all look at this draft and we say we know what’s going to happen at 1,” Hammond said. “That’s the obvious.
“Beyond that, we have no idea who is going to go 2, who is going to go 6, who is going to go 10. And right now, we don’t know who is going to go 12, but we’re working on that.”
There has been a lot of talk about the Bucks moving down several slots too. If a serious prospect takes a tumble the Bucks seem to be a willing trade partner, especially if they can solve roster problems along the way.
Bird Bowing Out?: After months of hints that Larry Bird would be remaining with the Indiana Pacers for another season, Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star is reporting that Bird will be stepping down as President of the team due to unspecified health issues.
For the last few weeks there had been rumors of former Pacer and Knicks executive Donnie Walsh returning to the team in an unspecified leadership capacity, now it’s becoming clear that Walsh is likely going to replace Bird with current director of player personnel Kevin Pritchard expected to be named General Manager.
According to Wells, Bird plans to take at least a year away from basketball to address nagging health concerns, and may look at options next year.
Current Pacer GM David Morway is out of the picture in Indiana. Morway tried to get the Pacers to address the rampant rumors surrounding him and was ultimately allowed to leave the situation.
Sources close to the situation say Morway will look for other opportunities as they arise.
The Pacers look to have roughly $22 million in cap space next week when free agency opens and will have to deal with pending free agents Roy Hibbert and George Hill. Both can be made restricted with a qualifying offer. Deadline acquisition Leandro Barbosa is also an unrestricted free agent as well.
The Pacers hold the 26th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft and do not have a 2nd round pick this year.
Nash Waiting For Sunday Free agency in the NBA opens on Sunday July 1st. That’s the first day teams can officially sell themselves to free agents.
Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash knows he’ll hear from a number of teams and he plans to keep his options open.
“I have to put all those different factors – financial, family, environment, ability to win – no one factor really kind of goes above any other. It’s all those put together,” Nash told ESPN New York 98.7′s Stephen A. Smith and Ryan Ruocco.
“I think it’s nice to have that idea that ‘I want to win a championship, a championship at all costs’. I think that’s also difficult. For example you can turn down a ton of money to go to a team that you think could win a championship and then there is an injury or the chemistry isn’t right and you could get traded in six months. I think you have to be really careful and make a sound decision.”
Nash professes that he has not reached any decisions on where he’ll play next year and that he’ll listen to the offers that come his way.
“It sounds like a company line, but my situation really right now is I’m open to everything,” explained Nash. “I will definitely look at every situation that comes my way on Sunday, and I’m not going to close myself to any opportunities.”
Nash is hosting a charity soccer event this week in New York, a city where Nash maintains an off season home. When Mike D’Antoni was coaching the Knicks it seemed all but inevitable that Nash would head to New York as a free agent and Nash said little to dissuade that idea.
“Everyone knows I love Mike. We had some good years together,” Nash said. “It would’ve been another factor, but what’s in the past is in the past. When Sunday (July 1) comes around, I’m going to have to look at everything with fresh new eyes and see what’s best for me.”
Several teams have been mentioned as possible landing spots for Nash including the 2012 NBA champion Miami HEAT, the New York Knicks and the LA Lakers. Nash admitted playing for the Lakers would be hard.
“The truth is I’m a bit old school. For me, it would be hard to put on a Lakers jersey. That’s just the way it is,” Nash said. “You play against them so many times in the playoffs, and I just use them as an example, and I have the utmost respect for them and their organization.
“I kind of have that tendency (to try to beat the best teams), so it is strange, but as a free agent you’re free to go where you want, so I’d have to consider everything regardless of the past or the future.”
Nash has earned $119 million in NBA salary in his 16 NBA seasons and is coming off a final contract year in Phoenix that paid him $11.6 million.
While it’s easy to say money does not matter to a player like Nash, it absolutely does. Not for the dollars and cents in a bank account but the power, leverage and control a serious salary gives a player both on the court and in the front office. Nash has maintained for months that staying in Phoenix is not out of the question and sources say the Suns would do a two or three year deal to keep their franchise cornerstone.
Nash is expected to take meetings with several teams, however there is a belief that Nash wants to see some closure on this front quickly, so don’t expect this to linger on too long.
Teams can begin talking with free agents at 12:01 EST on Sunday. Nash is expected to be busy.
How About Another Mock Draft? With the NBA Draft set for Thursday… here is my latest NBA Mock Draft:
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