The inevitable has happened to the Milwaukee Bucks. After starting the season with an 8-3 record, they have fallen on hard times and currently sit third in the Central Division with a record of 12-18.
Milwaukee's early season success was highlighted by rookie Brandon Jennings' 55 point statement game against the Golden State Warriors. It appeared the Bucks had the steal of the draft and the league's next great point guard.
While Jennings is leading the team in scoring and assists at 19.5 points and 6.1 assists per game, he isn't receiving much help from the rest of the roster. Michael Redd, most notably, is having a difficult time adjusting to Jennings' game and the up-tempo style he brings to the team.
This is nothing new for Redd or fans of the team. He struggled meshing his style with former point guards T.J. Ford, Mo Williams, and Ramon Sessions. Ford and Williams were traded, while Sessions was allowed to leave in free agency.
Like Jennings, all three prefer to play an up-tempo style of play and can score the ball as easily as they can dish it to their teammates. Redd's strong suit is being a jump-shooter and nothing more. Due to injuries, he's unable to put the ball on the floor and get to the hoop on a regular basis.
A knee injury caused him to miss the start of the season as well as a few weeks once he initially came back from the original injury. Redd has only played in 14 of the team's 30 games, making only six starts. His 11.1 points per game this season is over nine points under his career average of 20.3. He and Jennings don't play together often and when they do, the offense is very painful to watch.
With Tracy McGrady and the Houston Rockets having a fall out, the Bucks should make a serious effort to trade for the disgruntled star. Although McGrady may not be the player he once was, he would fit into the Bucks' offense much better than Redd currently does.
The Bucks would not be risking too much trading for McGrady. His contract expires at the end of the season, and Milwaukee would then have more financial flexibility if he leaves. It also gives him time to play with Jennings and the rest of the young Bucks roster to see if he would be a good fit long-term for the team.
Although the Rockets would like to trade McGrady for an expiring contract, getting Redd wouldn't be a horrible idea for them. He is under contract until after the 2011 season and would be a nice compliment for Yao Ming when he returns. He would give the Rockets a great shooter and give more room for Yao to work in the post.
The two contracts don't quite match up, so the Bucks would have to include more players than just Redd.
Charlie Bell could give the Rockets another solid jump shooter, although he is under contract for two seasons after the 2010 season. He doesn't make a large salary, so he could be a viable option.
Joe Alexander is also another player that could be dealt from Milwaukee. He has fallen out of favor with coach Scott Skiles and hasn't lived up to expectations for the Bucks since they made him the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft. He is currently injured but his contract expires at the end of the season.
Luke Ridnour would be a third possibility to be traded, although that seems unlikely. His $6-plus million contract expires after the season, but he has been a key member of the Bucks' bench and has played well when paired on the floor with Jennings.
The Bucks could also throw in a first-round draft pick to the Rockets to make the trade more tempting. Milwaukee is a young team and they are in a position where they need to add quality veteran players, not take a chance on another rookie that may or may not pan out.
A package of Redd, Alexander, and a first-round pick for McGrady could be a win-win for both teams. While fans of the Rockets may not find it appealing, they need to look at it both in the short and long-term for the team. They receive another shooter to pair with Yao, get salary relief, and a likely lottery pick in the 2010 draft.
The Bucks get a former scoring champ looking to prove his former team wrong in their evaluation on his current talents. If it works out, the Bucks could have another star to pair with their Rookie of the Year candidate. If McGrady is a bust, they will have an immense amount of payroll to build upon their current roster heading into the future.
Even if the Bucks can't make a deal for McGrady, it is time for them to move on from Michael Redd. Redd is a great person off the court and still possesses a great deal of talent on the court, but he has run off three talented point guards. The franchise can't allow him to do the same to a fourth. Brandon Jennings has taken over as the face of the franchise from Redd in the fan's eyes, and it's time the franchise views Jennings the same way.
To read more by Jesse Motiff, click here .