The Milwaukee Bucks, from day one of the new regime, have said all along that they were looking to build a championship-caliber team – but one that might reach that level in three to four years.
OnMilwaukee.com wrote just days ago that since December, the thought among ownership and those in player personnel was that if they made a move by the NBA trade deadline, it would be for players they felt could be a part of that plan.
It began going down shortly after the Bucks' open practice concluded at Marquette University this afternoon. Around 1:30 p.m, head coach Jason Kidd ducked behind a curtain for a conversation.
The move became public just before the deadline this afternoon, sending point guard Brandon Knight, a restricted free agent, to the Phoenix Suns. Injured point guard Kendall Marshall was also sent to Phoenix, but he will be waived.
In return, the Bucks received rookie point guard Tyler Ennis and third-year center Miles Plumlee while Philadelphia sent second-year point guard Michael Carter-Williams to the Bucks as well.
The Bucks officially announced the trade at 9:08 p.m. on Wednesday night.
"Right now, anything we're looking at today is still, hopefully, going to be focused on maybe acquiring a piece or talking about adding pieces that can be future, long-term player for this organization," Bucks general manager John Hammond said just last week.
"We appreciate where we're at today. As I said, overachieving, the talk about this team being a playoff team is such a great story in itself, but as I said, we're still focusing in the future and moving forward long-term and that's becoming a championship-caliber team."
Which is why, this …
Suns recently offered Dragic for Brandon Knight. Bucks said no. Now Bucks get the guys they wanted all along -- MCW and Ennis -- for Knight — Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 19, 2015
A soon-to-be 30-year-old (and free agent) player like Dragic is not the kind of asset this Bucks ownership and management were looking for.
But there’s more to this. The way the Bucks are currently constructed, the deal is not yet finalized because they can’t take on three players for two.
The prevailing thought was that Larry Sanders would be bought out to clear a roster spot, but despite a flurry of Twitter reports saying it was a done deal, that hasn't been made official.
As a result, this:
Milwaukee plans to waive Kenyon Martin, league source tells Yahoo Sports. — Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 19, 2015
As for why the Bucks would do this as a 30-win team, with playoff hopes, it’s simple.
It’s about winning a championship, and when the team declined to extend Knight at the end of October, it wasn’t clear that he was a part of the team’s long-term vision in that regard.
And as for this club’s chemistry, coach Jason Kidd addressed that last night in a late Bucks practice.
"You look at the Bucks family that we’ve created here, it’s about what these guys have done on the court," Kidd said last night.
"It always will be about the guys on the court and this is a special group. Everybody’s talking about the trade deadline and making moves but sometimes it’s alright not to make a move. Or it’s all right to add a piece. But the chemistry, there’s nothing that can be broken with the chemistry here."
In a statement Wednesday night, Hammond said
Regarding the infusion of youth on an already young team, Hammond addressed that in a statement Wednesday night.
"Jason and his staff have an excellent track record of developing young talent, and we think this trade will accelerate our team’s growth as we continue to build toward the future and our goal to put a championship-caliber team on the floor," he said.
Salary-cap wise, this deal helps the Bucks going forward as well.
Knight may have been seeking (and been offered) a multi-year deal around $10 to $12 million per year. Ennis, just a rookie, will make $1.6 million next year and the Bucks have options on his next two, according to spotrac.com.
Carter-Williams will make $2.3 million next year with a $3.1 million option in 2016 before he's a restricted free agent.
Plumlee has one more year left on his deal before restricted free agency, which is just $2.1 million.
Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.
A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.
To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.
Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining OnMilwaukee.com.
In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.
Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.