Milwaukee ain’t playing around. After a surprise run to the playoffs last season, GM John Hammond must have decided this team couldn’t score, because he’s making moves all over the place to bolster the offense. Recently he’s added Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts via trade, and earlier today, Drew Gooden agreed to a 5-year, $32 million deal with the Bucks.
Now it apparently won’t be long until late-season hero John Salmons is on his way back to Milwaukee. The 6-7 swingman is very close to accepting a five-year, $39 million offer according to NBA.com. The deal also includes $5 million in potential bonsues, with a buyout option for the fifth season.
No one expected this. After the aggression the front office showed in picking up secondary wing options the past few weeks, Salmons was supposed to abandon ship and wind up in a place like Miami or New Jersey. As a “Fear the Deer” fan, you can look at the negative: about $40 mill for five more years to a two-guard who is already 30 years old. Or you can say that all of a sudden, Milwaukee is loaded with versatility.
Besides the electric backcourt of Brandon Jennings and Salmons, the Bucks have options in Maggette, CDR and Luc Mbah a Moute. For all of Maggette’s doubters, his one-dimensional game should fit perfectly into a sixth-man role.
Two key cogs from last year, Carlos Delfino and Luke Ridnour, probably won’t be back. Delfino is due to make $3.5 million (it’s partially guaranteed) and I doubt he would earn enough minutes to justify that. But hey, they gave Gooden $32 mill, so don’t rule it out. Ridnour will probably command a salary of around $5-6 mill a year, and there are plenty of teams ready to offer him that. The maturation of Jennings should offset that loss.
The Bucks frontline will receive a boost with the return of Andrew Bogut from injury, not to mention their two draft picks, Larry Sanders and Tiny Gallon. They also have Ersan Ilyasova, who was a surprise contributor last season.
It’s funny we haven’t mentioned Michael Redd, once the face of the franchise. He has a huge expiring contract ($18 million) and is coming off a major knee injury. But he still holds value. Either Milwaukee uses that contract to add talent, or more than likely, let Redd play it out so next summer they get some cap relief.
One way or another, Milwaukee is in great shape heading into this year. They should contend with Atlanta, depending on how free agency shapes out, for home court in the playoffs next year.