Barring a highly unlikely third trade in less than a weeks time, the Milwaukee Bucks should move decisively in re-signing 2009-10 midseason acquisition, shooting guard John Salmons.
I say barring a trade because there has been some recent chatter about a trade centered around the Bucks No. 15 pick in tomorrow's draft and Philadelphia 76ers shooting guard Andre Iguodala. Without a doubt, Iguodala is a better candidate than Salmons to form a solid young core with center Andrew Bogut and point guard Brandon Jennings. He is five years younger than the 30-year-old Salmons, a better rebounder and passer and is a much more athletic player.
However, such a scenario now seems a distant dream as resources that might have been part of a trade for AI2 have been recently moved after the Bucks traded away Dan Gadzuric, Charlie Bell, and a second round pick. However, Milwaukee did receive Golden State's No. 44 pick, so general manger John Hammond still has a first and three seconds at his disposal after trading one to the Nets.
It's possible the Bucks could package the No. 15 and No. 44 picks along with a player like Carlos Delfino or even recently acquired shooting guard Chris Douglas-Roberts for Iguodala. Iguodala seems to be expendable to the 76ers, as they are all but guaranteed to land shooting guard Evan Turner with the No. 2 pick in the draft.
But those are all theoretical possiblities. Back to reality.
John Salmons is set to opt out of his $5.8 million contract for 2010 before the June 30th deadline. That will add his name to the most star-studded free agent class in NBA history.
When he does opt out, the Bucks must act immediately to sign him to a long-term deal.
In my estimation Salmons is in line for a contract of about three years and worth around $24 million. He is not set to break the bank but is no slouch on the court, and his salary should reflect that.
The Milwaukee Bucks are set at center with Andrew Bogut, point guard with Brandon Jennings, and now small forward with the recent acquisition of Corey Maggette from Golden State. By locking up Salmons at shooting guard, Hammond would virtually ensure a second consecutive appearance in the Eastern Conference playoffs for his squad.
After coming to the Bucks in a deadline deal with the Chicago Bulls, Salmons proved to be the catalyst in Milwaukee's post All-Star break playoff run. He averaged 19.9 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.1 steals, while shooting 46.7 percent from the field 38.5 percent on threes, and 86.7 percent from the line.
He also plays much better defense than Michael Redd, so that might keep Redd on the bench if he can come back from another knee injury. That's a role he is much better suited for at this stage in his career.
At the end of the day, Salmon's game just fits with the Bucks and coach Scott Skiles' brand of basketball. He's an unselfish player with a knack for the clutch moment.
A starting five of Bogut, Luc Mbah a Moute or Ersan Ilyasova, Maggette, Salmons, and Jennings would be very strong in the Eastern Conference, regardless of where all the big names end up after the upcoming wild free agency period.
That said, Hammond should do everything he can to make a trade for the electrician, Andre Iguodala. Iguodala is exactly the type of highlight reel player the Milwaukee Bucks have been lacking since Desmond Mason was around the first time.
A move like that would truly bring amazing to Milwaukee.
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