The Milwaukee Bucks may have been the surprise team in the Eastern Conference in 2010, but they are in danger of returning to perennial losers this summer.
John Salmons is likely to declare himself a free agent, and the Bucks will be hard pressed to re-sign him, especially if Joe Johnson leaves Atlanta. Michael Redd is coming off a second major knee surgery in two seasons, and even if he can return early in the season, there is little chance of him being healthy enough to show his old All-Star form.
With a 2010 season that revitalized the fanbase and city of Milwaukee, it is imperative for the front office to make a splash this summer to continue building momentum for a franchise that hasn't had sustainable success for the better part of a decade.
The team already has All-Star caliber play from their point guard, Brandon Jennings, and their center, Andrew Bogut, but a third star is needed for the team to become a legitimate threat in the Eastern Conference. A draft day trade for 76ers shooting guard Andre Iguodala is exactly the impact move needed by GM John Hammond to make the Bucks a threat for a conference title.
Iguodala, the ninth overall pick in the 2004 draft, is one of the most complete shooting guards in the league. He averages 16 points, six rebounds, and almost five assists a game in his career. His athleticism and scoring prowess embody the exact type of player needed to play alongside Jennings.
A proposed trade of Dan Gadzuric, Carlos Delfino, and the Bucks' first round pick (15) for Iguodala makes sense for both teams and would be allowable under the league's salary rules.
The 76ers are looking to free up money for the 2011 free agent class, and they would do just that by dealing Iguodala. They would save $2 million in 2011 salaries, and Gadzuric's $6.75 million contract expires after the season. Delfino still has two years on his $3.5 million deal, but that is much easier to handle than Iguodala at $12-plus million for the next four years.
The trade also gives the 76ers a great deal of flexibility in the draft.
Most feel the 76ers will take Evan Turner with the second overall pick to replace Iguodala. In that scenario, the team could then draft a big man—Hassan Whiteside, Ekpe Udoh, Patrick Patterson, or Daniel Orton—with the 15th pick. The 76ers could then look to try and unload Elton Brand and his massive contract as well.
Another possibility for the 76ers would have them select Derrick Favors with the second pick to replace Brand. They could then replace Iguodala with their second first round pick with Xavier Henry, James Anderson, or Elliot Williams. Either way, the 76ers could pick up two long-term starters and major cap relief by getting rid of Iguodala.
Iguodala would immediately be able to step into the Bucks' starting lineup, and enable the continued growth of Jennings. It would also allow the Bucks to let Salmons leave, and the team could focus on signing frontcourt help in free agency. Most importantly, it would keep Redd on the bench even if he's able to return 100 percent healthy early in the season.
Both the 76ers and Bucks are in prime position to make major changes to their rosters, while improving at the same time. The Bucks are closer to winning now and adding an All-Star shooting guard, and that is just what the Bucks and their fanbase need to stay energized for the 2011 season after a surprising 2010 campaign.
To read more by Jesse Motiff, click here.