Bucks trade down, shed salary and rebuild backcourt
The Milwaukee Bucks shed some salary in the 2011 draft's only blockbuster trade and ghost-drafted BYU superstar Jimmer Fredette for the Sacramento Kings as the league heads into an uncertain labor situation.
The Bucks unloaded two of their largest contracts in Corey Maggette and John Salmons to Charlotte and Sacramento, respectively. In return, the Bucks received one large contract in the form of Stephen Jackson and a couple smaller pieces in Shaun Livingston and Beno Udrih. The Bucks also swapped their 10th overall pick for the 19th.
The Bucks still had to select at No. 10 for the Kings since league rules mandate that trades cannot be finalized on draft day until after the draft concludes.
They sent the 10th choice, BYU guard Jimmer Fredette to Sacramento in exchange for Tennessee forward Tobias Harris.
Bucks general manager John Hammond explained the logic behind the trade.
"In talking to teams over the last few days, we wanted to improve our team but just as importantly, we wanted to stay in the draft if at all possible."
In terms of salary, the Bucks eliminate less salary than might be expected considering who they traded away; over the course of the next three years, the Bucks only decreased their team salary by $7.48 million. What the trade does improve, however, is the Bucks' prospects for the future.
Even though they're taking on an aging and expensive Stephen Jackson, a backcourt youth movement is in motion on the Bucks with Shaun Livingston (age 25) and Beno Udrih (age 28, but with very little mileage on his legs) backing up Brandon Jennings (age 21).
Not only did the Bucks make the move from an age position, they also believe it will improve production on the court.
"At the end of last season we looked at our team and knew we had some definite needs and I think to many of us they were fairly obvious," said Hammond. "One of them, probably the most prominent, was the inability to score."
Jackson will essentially replace the scoring of Salmons, but the additions of Livingston and Udrih should improve the Bucks' last-place offense. Udrih will work well as a spot-shooting role player for Jennings to kick out to as he looks to improve his own play at the rim again next season.
Livingston can best be explained as a less-talented Brandon Jennings. Livingston will be a good bench player for whenever Jennings needs a breather as he replicates Jennings' slashing skills adequately and is probably an even better finisher at the rim than Jennings.
Still, the most exciting piece of this trade should be, and this may surprise some, Udrih. Udrih is a high percentage shooter from anywhere on the floor and should improve over his 14 points per game last season.
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