Bucks Tunneling Way Out Of Mediocrity

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — When Milwaukee fans finish flipping through their “Half-Season In Review: 2012-13″ to relive their favorite J.J. Redick moments with the Bucks – it won’t take long – they can start calculating the true haul from trading away promising young forward Tobias Harris, guards Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih along with cash to Orlando not quite 4 1/2 months ago.

That won’t take long, either. With Redick headed to the Los Angeles Clippers along with Phoenix’s Jared Dudley, per Yahoo! Sports’ report Tuesday afternoon, and the Suns acquiring Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe and forward Caron Butler in the deal, the Bucks’ participation in the sign-and-trade portion with Redick earned them two second-round picks.

That’s it.

Which means that the package of players and money sent to Orlando in the deal that delivered Redick leaves Milwaukee now with guard Ish Smith, forward Gustavo Ayon and 28 games in which Redick, employed for his shooting, was about as inaccurate as at any point in his career.

He shot 40.3 percent for the Bucks, second only to his 39.1 in 2008-09 with Orlando, and his 31.8 percent from 3-point range dragged his career mark down to 39.0. Never getting into rhythm in a backcourt that already had issues with Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, Redick’s game slipped across the board. He also chafed with Bucks interim coach Jim Boylan near the end of the eighth-seeded team’s odd spit-out-the-bit season (4-16 after March 19, including the first-round sweep by Miami).

Even if Redick had thrived, he wasn’t returning to the Bucks. He wanted more money, and more opportunity to win, than they would or could offer. So salvaging two second-round picks was, well, something.

But it continued a week in which the Bucks are waving a white flag on their recent history of plucky mediocrity. The Jennings-Ellis backcourt is kaput; one or both of the shoot-first guards will be gone via free agency, Ellis after opting out of an $11 million deal for next season, Jennings if the offer sheet he signs runs too rich for Milwaukee’s blood.

Also, general manager John Hammond just took the youngest player in last week’s Draft, grabbing 18-year-old Greek forward Giannis Antetokounmpo at No. 15. Hammond raved about Big G’s almost limitless upside but no one expects him to help much on the floor next season. Center Samuel Dalembert will play elsewhere next season – he was in coach Scott Skiles’ doghouse before Skiles exited in January – and so will swingman Mike Dunleavy, a veteran backup who hit almost 43 percent of his 3-pointers in 2012-13 but is headed to the Bulls.

In drafting Antetokounmpo, Hammond talked of what really is a reality check for a team such as Milwaukee. “How are we going to get our next All-Star?” the GM said. The implication was that, no, the Bucks aren’t going to land marquee free agents. So they’ve got to rely on drafts and trades.

Or maybe just drafts, because this trade stuff – Harris was given all of 70 games to develop and still won’t turn 21 until July 15 – is looking a little shaky now too. The level-headed product of Tennessee averaged 17.3 points and 8.5 rebounds in 36.1 minutes in 27 games for the Magic.

If there’s a silver lining in Milwaukee aligning itself with Philadelphia, Boston and others already focused on the 2014 draft, it is this: Those rumors over the weekend about the Bucks’ interest in New York free agent J.R. Smith should stay mere rumors. Even if Milwaukee were ready to challenge for a top seed in the East, Smith would be a bad idea, a flashback through John Salmons, Corey Maggette, Stephen Jackson and even Bobby Simmons rolled into one.

For a fellow such as Smith, Milwaukee surely holds no appeal, either for where it is located or for where it is headed.

10 Comments

  1. dl legendz says:

    Bucks are making much smarter moves. Good job hammond

  2. Bucks 4 Life says:

    Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Buckwards. That’s the unfortunate motto I have for my team. JR Smith would be a HUGE mistake. Remember Anthony Mason? The Knicks trade that single handedly set us back for a decade.

  3. Joshua Greenfarb says:

    Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. If you haven’t signed anywhere yet, you may want to consider OKC!!!

  4. packbuck says:

    I’ve given up on Hammond. Even when his picks pan out. He gives them away for less. He never calls anyone’s bluff like Ted Thompson w/ the Packers. I’ve given up on him making any deals that benefit the franchise. I was around during the 70’s & 80’s and Big 3 of the 90’s. I miss marques and Lanier. Our franchise is a laughing stock right now–just when we need a new arena. Now we have to pay Korver twice what he’s worth to get him to come here. Plus give him 3 years instead of two? It’s pathetic. I say *&^&%^%$ them all. Play hard with what we have. Pay Larry. Pay Henson. Screw Jennings. He can’t hit a jumper for his life. Let’s hit the lottery and restart with our big men we have and our new coach. Why the hell didn’t Skiles and Boylan play Tobias in the 1st place. Frickin knuckleheads.

  5. pokie says:

    I grew up on the Don Nelson Bucks ( Johnson, Moncrief, Lanier ). Those were some great squads. They usually took Doc’s Sixers to seven games before the Sixers got past them and went on to Boston. In fact, the only year the Celtics got the Bucks in the second round, they didn’t make it out. The Bucks beat them and played the Sixers in the Eastern Conference Finals that year (1983). Unfortunately they ran smack into Moses Malone in his first year in red, white, and blue and the rest was history (“Fo, fo, fo”). I think the Bucks know what they are doing. Reaching for Antetokoumpo would not have been my play but I understand it. Trading for Walters makes sense in the same way. The Bucks have to draft players who they believe will stay with them long term. I think that’s why they hired Larry Drew. Like Rick Adelman in Minnesota, Larry’s teams have a signature style of play . Players and agents know what to expect from him (and any franchise who signs him). There should be a measure of stability in place while they rebuild and that may attract the kind of pieces the Bucks need (and can afford) moving forward.

  6. J says:

    great article!
    poor bucks

  7. yoloolol says:

    Jennings is pretty good, why dont build around him? hes prolly an allstar next year with monta off the team.

  8. DINKO says:

    I miss the old days of ray allen and glenn robinson .