Ball Don't Lie - NBA

The Milwaukee Bucks just traded Yi Jianlian and Bobby Simmons to the New Jersey Nets for Richard Jefferson, and I'm awfully confused. 

Actually, that's not entirely true. I know why the Nets did it - they picked up a solid talent in Yi who can contribute on the cheap until his rookie contract expires, and with Simmons' contract ending after 2009-10, the Nets save about 11 million dollars in the long run without much of an overall contribution drop off.

The Bucks? No idea. Do they think that adding Jefferson - coming off a fine year and in his prime - is still enough to put this team over the edge? Sure, his defensive mindset and perimeter-happy ways will fit right in with new coach Scott Skiles' philosophy, but that's not really a philosophy that lifts teams too far out of the first round of the playoffs.

Jefferson will contribute more than the pair that Milwaukee traded away, and the coaching addition alone was probably enough to put the Bucks in the postseason, but at what cost? This team has no cap space to maneuver under. Michael Redd and Jefferson are good players, but they're peaking, and this still doesn't look like an overwhelming team even if Skiles (as expected) gets everyone on the same page and the defense improves.

I thought the Bucks had a nice little window to try and rebuild with, drafting well tonight, dumping Michael Redd for cap space and/or young talent, starting over under Skiles, and shooting for higher goals. Instead, they've decided to go for one more pop at the middle of the Eastern Conference, and I don't know if the addition of Jefferson will be enough.

The Nets, as it stands right now, will have just Yi, Vince Carter, and Devin Harris on the roster when LeBron James is a free agent in 2010. All three will combine to make about 30 million dollars in a cap that should be around 60 million by the summer of 2010. Whoa.

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