February 18, 2010
This is Chicago's Jared Jeffries(notes) trade, mind you. In a buyer's market, they were able to sell a player that really doesn't help out a ton to a team that, if it's honest with itself, doesn't really need him that badly. And save for maybe getting a draft pick or cash considerations, Chicago got exactly what it wanted. This is a 450-foot home run for Chicago.
The Bulls sent John Salmons(notes) to Milwaukee for Hakim Warrick(notes) and Joe Alexander(notes). Two expiring contracts for Chicago, a team that will as a result have more than enough money to toss a max contract at what most Bulls fans hope isn't Joe Johnson(notes) this summer.
Milwaukee gets Salmons, a solid player who helps make up for the loss of Michael Redd(notes). A good offensive player who can adapt to a new system quickly. Why would the NBA's 28th-ranked offense trade a guy like that?
Well, the biggest problem Chicago had with Salmons was that he has a player option that he's nearly-guaranteed to pick up for next season, at nearly $6 million for 2010-11. Chicago didn't need that on its books, and truth be told, I don't think the Bucks need that on their books either.
Yes, the Bucks are in the playoff hunt and Salmons could help secure things. But will a few games of playoff revenue, in Milwaukee, help make up for Salmons' price tag next season? Is he going to be worth it, in any regard?
I have regard for John's game. When his shot is falling, he can put teams away. He might be the best reverse-shot artist in the NBA, and he can defend. And while he won't be a millstone and certainly won't hurt the Bucks too much on the court (he won't hurt them at all, actually) or in the payroll department, was this really necessary?
Chicago's giddy. Absolutely giddy. This guy has been a deal-breaker with team after potential team all season, and for the deal-breaker to suddenly have a deal brokered for him? The Bulls are cackling.
Are they going to be able to lure LeBron James(notes), Dwyane Wade(notes), Chris Bosh(notes) ... Amar'e Stoudemire(notes), even? The chances are slim. Not sure why James would leave a contender, Wade a tax-free haven, Bosh - well, not sure about Bosh - and who knows what makes Amar'e happy at this point. Not sure why Johnson would leave a better team and a bigger contract to come to Chicago, and I think most of you know at this point that I'm quite fond of the city by the lake.
This isn't the point. The point is that the team has room to do something. Sign one guy, sign four guys, sign for a few and trade for someone else's headache, whatever. They got a team to take John Salmons off their hands. Salmons is an average player with an average contract, but given the context, for Chicago, he was a millstone.
He likely won't be, with Milwaukee. The Bucks need offense. They really need to start going to Andrew Bogut(notes) more and stop faffing about with all these corner jumpers for Charlie Bell(notes) (and, now, John Salmons), but a minutes sopper who can swing through three positions can't help but aid the team in its run to the postseason. And he has a tradeable deal, one that matches up with heaps of players in this league and, as we've seen with this deal, a pair of smaller parts.
The parts Chicago gets are Joe Alexander and Hakim Warrick. Warrick can really play, and given proper minutes and the proper knowledge that there is no playbook in Chicago, he'll contribute. Can't defend, but such is life.
Alexander? An athlete, and little else. There's a reason Milwaukee didn't pick up its third-year option on the kid.
In all, a fantastic deal for Chicago, and (basketball-wise) a damn good find for the Bucks. I just wonder if, though it isn't my money, this is the sort of deal the Bucks should be making in this particular climate.