Ball Don't Lie - NBA

The Golden State Warriors have sent Corey Maggette(notes) to the Milwaukee Bucks for Charlie Bell(notes) and Dan Gadzuric(notes). In a perfect world, this is a sound trade for either side. In a logical world, this could be a bit of a gamble for the Milwaukee Bucks. And illogical though this league can be, this smacks of a desperate move for Milwaukee, which once again worked too early in the offseason.

Hadn't the Bucks learned their lesson with Richard Jefferson(notes)? It was two years ago this week that the Bucks went for a win-now maneuver in taking on Jefferson's big salary from the Nets, and while Maggette might be a step up from Jefferson at this point, the former Clipper and Warrior (yikes, that's never a good thing) sure does make a lot of money.

Almost $31 million over the next three seasons for a wing scorer that scores, and little else. Now, Milwaukee needs scoring more than just about any other team in this league -- we saw what happened in the playoffs -- but Maggette is a head-down kind of guy in a Scott Skiles offense that demands plenty of ball movement and the ability to hit long jumpers. I'm not saying I like Skiles' offense; it doesn't really seem suited for a pro game that can take advantage of the 3-point line and easy free throws, but the fact remains that, on the surface, Maggette hardly seems a perfect fit for Milwaukee.

And $31 million over the next three years? That's a lot of money for any team to pay a player like Maggette, much less a squad that works out of a small market and is no guarantee to make it back to the playoffs (and take in the subsequent playoff revenue). The Bucks were due to pay about $11 million of that $31 million to Bell and Gadzuric anyway next season (and $4 million the season after that to Bell), but Maggette just seems like a millstone in the making.

In that perfect world, referenced above? Corey can score. He can put teams in the penalty, which helps Milwaukee -- they were worst in the league at getting to the line last year when adjusted for pace -- and he can be the main guy in those 12-2 runs that win quarters and, in turn, games for you.

But it's the other times that he wants to be the main guy, breaking plays or gunning for his, that has turned most of the league off to Maggette. Is he worth taking a flyer on for two guys who weren't going to play much next year as it was? Sure, but only if Maggette's contract only had one year longer. But three more seasons of Corey? At this price?

Golden State gets nothing for something. Two eventually expiring deals and little else to show for Baron Davis'(notes) jump to the Los Angeles Clippers in 2008. Bell could find a home in Don Nelson's offense, and Gadz could have another great season in a contract year, but don't be surprised if these two are moved on before the season even starts, to say nothing of next February.

It's a risk, for Milwaukee. They badly, badly need someone to score, and that's all Maggette does. But at this price? Couldn't they have let the offseason breathe a little, and see what else was out there?

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