As everyone and their mother knows by now, the Bucks could be on the verge of a major trade. This is from ESPN.com via the Memphis Commercial-Appeal.
The Grizzlies want to deal second-year point guard Mike Conley to the Milwaukee Bucks, and receive guard Ramon Sessions and swingman Joe Alexander in return, but the ball doesn't appear to be in their court. Milwaukee is apparently weighing the proposal as talks are ongoing, based on conversations with people knowledgeable about the trade discussions.
A team insider said the Griz wouldn't be devastated if the deal didn't come to fruition because no one mentioned in the transaction is established. Plus, Conley has already shown an ability to bounce back from a string of poor performances. -- Memphis Commercial-Appeal
Much has been said about this trade and it's recapped quite well at Brewhoop and The Bratwurst, but I have some different questions about it.
Everyone acknowledges that this trade is a largely a salary cap deal. (I'll say however that if the Bucks also land the Grizzlies first round pick from this season in this supposed deal it would make it more acceptable. There will be a pretty healthy class of point guards this year.) Sessions will be a RFA this off season and Alexander will get a bump in year 2 of his rookie deal. If we dump them we should be able to remain under a luxury tax, even with the league expecting the cap to decrease from last year. So this is more a "business decision" than basketball decision. Okay, it's Herb Kohl's team and he can do whatever he wants with it. If he doesn't want to pay luxury taxes I understand, the economy sucks. I'm left with one troubling question though...how will this serve to better the business? In any business scenario in Kohl's life has he ever acquired lesser talent to do the jobs he needed done because they were cheaper? If the Bucks insist on dealing Sessions due to his impending semi-free agency, why don't the Bucks work out a deal where Redd can be taken too?
For a long time I've felt like the best move the Bucks could make is dumping Redd on Cleveland for Wally Sczerbiak, JJ Hickson, and a pick. If Cleveland is willing to give up anyone right now I'm not sure, because their chemistry this year has been terrific. I can't imagine a team KEEPING Wally Sczerbiak for chemistry reasons though, because from all accounts he is one of the worst teammates in the league. Listen to Bill Simmons podcast with Marc Stein and Rick Bucher for further info on that. The fact that I haven't heard even a whisper about Redd or Richard Jefferson being moved is a bit hard to take, considering how productive it would be to swap them for a power forward. Wouldn't Toronto immediately take Redd and Gadzuric for Jermaine O'Neal at this point? Doesn't that give Bosh incentive to stick around past 2010? The Craptors have been without a swing man since Vince Carter left, this gives them a scoring threat who can create. O'Neal is not the same guy he used to be, but he can be used as a trade chip, or just fill a hole at power forward while allowing some of the Bucks younger guys minutes at the swing positions. I have created a three way deal where the Bucks also get the best tattoo in basketball...Stephon Marbury’s head! I would gladly put up with Marbury for a few months to be rid of the huge contract Redd has. I think it would work subbing Jefferson in for him also, there pretty close. Plus the Bucks get David Lee! Think of the potential!! These next two seasons need to be about growth and development, not holding on to false hope that Redd and Jefferson will get a team anywhere. Parting with them will be tough and likely hurt the Bucks chances to make the playoffs this year, but it is for the greater good.
If recent league history is an indicator, putting salary cap before basketball can be costly. Could the Suns use a reliable back up point guard right now? Absolutely. Unfortunately for them they sold their draft picks instead of using them on Sergio Rodriguez or Rajon Rando. Not to mention they gave away Kurt Thomas AND 2 first round picks for a second round pick, so they could get under the salary cap. Think the Bulls could use an athletic young guard who can shoot the lights out and dunk from any where? Too bad they traded J.R. Smith for Howard Eisley’s retiring contract and 2 second round picks. I know they had a log jam, but that was a free up cap space move if I ever saw one. Acquiring him was just a way to get out from under Tyson Chandler’s contract. Basketball trades need to be about basketball first. When the Sonics moved out of Seattle much was made about them losing money and fans being apathetic to the team. They claimed all kinds of losses and noted how poor attendance figures were, but lead city attorney Paul Lawrence made a great point
“The key to whether the team is going to make money or not, regardless of whether they’re in Seattle or Oklahoma City is how well the team does,” Lawrence said. “If the team has a turnaround like the Boston Celtics...I assure you they’ll make money no matter where they are.”
And that really is what it all comes down to. To run a successful business, you need a successful product. In the coming weeks Bucks fans will know whether or not the Bucks leaders grasp that idea.