BUCKS TRADE IN THEIR FORD
You can't teach quickness. But you can't teach height, either.
T.J. Ford's shortcomings were mostly about size and immaturity. He thought he was better than he was and too frequently he lost focus. He's never going to be a great shooter, but I still like Ford's game (when he plays with some poise and control) better than many others. It wouldn't surprise me if he plays very well in Toronto, especially if Sam Mitchell just lets him fly around and learns to live with the mistakes.
Villanueva gives the Bucks a young power forward who can run and shoot. Villanueva's departure was not mourned in some Toronto circles. One Toronto paper mentioned his need to be prodded to perform and his "disdain" for defense. Still, the deal works for the Bucks because it patches up one position of need while not sacrificing another. Mo Williams and Charlie Bell can handle the point guard spot as a tandem. There were several games last season when the Bucks played better as a unit with those two guys in charge. Now it's time for the other shoe to drop. Jamaal Magloire is headed out of town as soon as
Bucks GM Larry Harris can get something decent in return. San Antonio is one of the teams looking for a center.
BULLS LURE BIG BEN FROM PISTONS
Will Ben Wallace's move from Detroit to Chicago shift the balance of power in the Central Division and maybe the Eastern Conference? It says here that $60 million over four years is way too much for an aging and inept offensive player who can't shoot free throws. But, it's Jerry Reinsdorf's money and not mine. In the short term, Wallace will certainly help the Bulls and he fits right in with Scott Skiles' defensive emphasis. The signing may not look as good in two or three years as Wallace reaches his mid-30s. After making a run at former Bucks center Joel Przybilla (who re-signed with Portland), Detroit responded by signing Nazr Mohammed. Wallace may have been the "heart and soul" of the Pistons during the Rick Carlisle and Larry Brown years, but Flip Saunders probably isn't shedding any tears because his emphasis is offense. Detroit looked like a team in decline in the playoffs. Other teams in the East hope that Wallace's departure greases the skids.
STOJAKOVIC BOLTS PACERS
Indiana lost Peja Stojakovic to the Hornets and now has nothing to show for the Ron Artest trade. That can hardly qualify as a step forward for a team that already was in transition. The Pacers are trying to bounce back by working a sign-and-trade with Atlanta to re-acquire Al Harrington. Stojakovic's arrival in New Orleans/Oklahoma City likely means even less playing time for Desmond Mason. As much as many of us like Mason personally, he certainly didn't blossom with the Hornets. He didn't even start for some of last season on a team that didn't make the playoffs. It's fascinating how Hornets owner George Shinn is suddenly throwing money around, perhaps as the result of the sweetheart deal the franchise had in Oklahoma City. The Hornets also signed Bobby Jackson and are working to acquire Tyson Chandler from the Bulls for P.J. Brown.
TIM THOMAS DOES IT AGAIN
It must be nice to be Tim Thomas. Underachieve for most of your contract and then put together a salary push in the playoffs, earning a lucrative new deal in free agency. It worked in 2000 with the Bucks and he did it again this year. The Bulls thought so little of his work habits that they paid him about $14 million to stay away from their team last season. Eventually landing in Phoenix, Thomas showed those tantalizing glimpses of talent in the playoffs that are so familiar here in Milwaukee. As a result, the Clippers awarded Thomas a four-year deal worth $24 million. I guess Thomas can now take it easy until the 2010 playoffs.
Most observers in Philadelphia feel that it's only a matter of time until the Sixers trade Allen Iverson. Boston has been the most popular team mentioned in the rumblings, but would Philadelphia really deal him to a division rival? Having doled out expensive new contracts to Carmelo Anthony and Nene, Denver would love to unload Kenyon Martin. He likely punched his ticket out of town after a playoff blow-up with George Karl, but Martin's contract is so oppressive and his knees so unstable that only a few teams (Dallas, New York?) would be willing to take him.
Dennis Krause joined OnMilwaukee.com as a contributor on June 16, 2006. He is a two-time Wisconsin Sportscaster of the Year and a regional Emmy-award winner. Dennis has been the color analyst on home games for the Milwaukee Bucks Radio Network for the last 10 years. He has also been involved with the Green Bay Packers Radio Network for 16 years and is currently the host of the "Packers Game Day" pre-game show.
Dennis started his broadcasting career as a radio air personality in the Fox Valley and Milwaukee.
He spent three years as a sportscaster at WMBD radio and television in Peoria, Illinois before joining WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee in 1987 as a weekend sports anchor. Dennis spent 16 years at Channel 4, serving as its Sports Director and 5 and 6 pm sports anchor from 1994-2003.
Dennis grew up in Hartford, Wisconsin and attended UW-Oshkosh. He lives in Thiensville with his wife and two children. He serves as the Community Resource Director for the Mequon-Thiensville School District.