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NBA PM: Why It’s Do or Die for the Bucks
Posted By Alex Raskin On March 20, 2012 @ 5:00 pm In All,Main Page,NBA | No Comments
You can’t deny center Andrew Bogut’s effect on a basketball game when he’s healthy. The big man, who was recently dealt from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Golden State Warriors, spent the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 seasons showing all of us why he’s among the greatest defensive forces in the league, averaging 2.5 BPG and grabbing over 10 RPG. Bogut denies shots, cuts off passing lanes and makes hard fouls whenever they’re necessary.
Unfortunately, that style of play has left him healthy for only 12 games this season, which is why the Bucks were compelled to trade him for shooting guard Monta Ellis and parts.
Was this the best long-term move general manager John Hammond could have made? Probably not.
If Bogut does ever return to health, there are really only a few big men who can defend the paint as he can. Plus he’s signed through the 2013-2014 season whereas Ellis can opt out in the summer of 2013 (something he’ll likely do).
So why would the Bucks make a decision that could ultimately be a negative in the long run?
Well one Western Conference executive told HOOPSWORLD that’s because Hammond and coach Scott Skiles are in “win now” mode and that’s not something that’s going to change anytime soon.
There’s very little certainty with Bogut in the near future, but Ellis has played in 38 games this season, scoring 21.8 PPG. Plus Ellis, along with point guard Brandon Jennings, gives Milwaukee the fastest backcourt in the NBA. Throw in the fact that the last two Eastern Conference Players of the Week (Ersan Ilyasova and Drew Gooden) both play for the Bucks and the fact that the team has won five consecutive games while battling with the Knicks for the last playoff spot in the East, and it’s easy to see why Hammond and Skiles are more concerned with the present than the future.
And what if they fall short?
Well, the Western Conference executive told HOOPSWORLD that if this team fails to meet expectations, Hammond will be quick to trade Jennings, Gooden or even Ellis as the first opportunity. Not only is this team built for right now, it’s also built to be burnt to the ground at any moment.
Just check out all of their trade assets.
Ellis is a high-volume scorer at a position that is suddenly very hard to fill (Arron Afflalo is a good player, but Denver gave him nearly $8 million per year because it’s so rare to find a two-guard who can defend and hit 3-pointers) so he’ll be tradable in spite of his $11 million per-year deal.
Jennings, who is still on his rookie contract through next season and can become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2013, is even easier to trade. He’s scoring 18.9 PPG and adding 5.7 APG while his Player Efficiency Rating is up to a career-high 18.59. He’s also just 22 years old, so you know there’s going to be some takers.
Even Gooden, who can make $6.7 million per season through 2014-105, is tradable because his deal isn’t fully guaranteed. Plus Gooden, at age 30, is playing some of the best basketball of his career.
His PER is also up to a career high of 19.96, largely because he’s developed into a very good passer. A remarkable 13.2% of his possessions have ended with an assist this season, which beats his previous career high of 9.7%.
Looking at next season, the Bucks have a team option on Beno Udrih and owe relatively modest amounts to Luc Mbah a Moute ($4.79 million), Mike Dunleavy ($3.75 million), Ekpe Udoh ($3.52 million), Larry Sanders ($1.99 million), Tobias Harris ($1.48 million) and Jon Brockman ($1 million).
The bottom line is, if this team doesn’t satisfy Hammond or Skiles’ expectations, Milwaukee fans can expect major changes this offseason with an eye towards winning next season.
What is Lin Driving?
Jeremy Lin doesn’t currently own a car, but if he did, it would be a Volvo.
“Growing up, I never had the super luxurious cars or watches or whatever it may be,” he said (as quoted by CNN’s James O’Toole) at Monday’s press conference announcing his endorsement deal with the Swedish automaker. “And for me to be able to find a car company that has high quality but is also affordable and relatable was very important.”
The chances that Lin was sitting around thinking to himself, “high quality and affordability in an automobile is important to me,” is kind of farfetched. But that aside, this marks a dramatic change in Lin’s marketing appeal. He’s gone from someone who can sell t-shirts and tickets to someone who can raise awareness about a $60,000 car. As we mentioned back in February, EA Sports and 2K Sports might have a bidding war to put Lin’s image on the cover of their NBA games next year and Nike already has plans to capitalize on a previous endorsement deal with Lin.
Linsanity was a fad in the same way that Fernandomania was for Fernando Valenzuela in Los Angeles back in the early 1980s. Now Lin is moving beyond the novelty act and major companies are recognizing his influence. Nobody is saying he’ll be Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods, but Lin is moving up the endorsement ladder faster than either of them did.
Another Waive of NBA Free Agents
After Terrence Williams, J.J. Hickson and Derek Fisher have all hit the NBA free agent market, teams continued to waive players on Tuesday.
The 76ers said goodbye to gritty forward Andres Nocioni while the Cavaliers showed center Ryan Hollins the door. Nocioni could struggle to find a new job, but Hollins will almost certainly get a look from the Miami HEAT, who continue to have a revolving door of players at the position, none of who can unseat 6-8 Joel Anthony. As Steve Kyler mentioned in the NBA AM, the HEAT will also take a look at Ronny Turiaf who was released by the Nuggets after being traded to Denver with JaVale McGee.
Check Out: The 2012 All-Flop Team
ESPN’s True Hoop put out the first All-Flop team after HEAT forward Shane Battier suggested former Rockets teammate Luis Scola was one of the premiere floppers in the league. Beckley Mason of ESPN.com took the time to give us the league’s top actors.
And the nominees are… Click here to find out.
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