The Milwaukee Bucks officially added Drew Gooden and John Salmons to their roster on Thursday, inking each player to a five-year contract.
Gooden's deal will pay him $32 million over the duration of the contract, while Salmons deal could pay him upwards of $40 million, if he meets all his bonus clauses.
On their own, each move is another solid step in the right direction for a team that won 46 games last year and pushed the Hawks to a seventh game in the first round of the playoffs. Together, the moves elevate the Bucks into a viable threat for the Eastern Conference crown.
Gooden, who will turn 29 before the start of the season, has been a target of the Bucks for quite awhile. His career averages of 11.9 points and 7.9 rebounds will fit extremely well at power forward next to Andrew Bogut. The Bucks have been seeking a legitimate power forward since trading Vin Baker to the SuperSonics after the 1997 season.
Gooden, along with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, will give the Bucks two very good defenders in the post.
Salmons was the spark that led the Bucks to their first playoff appearances in five seasons. The Bucks had a 22-8 record after Salmons' acquisition in February. He picked up much of the slack on the offensive end of the court after season-ending injuries to Michael Redd and Bogut.
Brandon Jennings had a phenomenal rookie season, and he brought back as much excitement to the Bradley Center as any player in recent memory. Additionally, Bogut finally lived up to his selection as the first overall pick in the 2005 draft.
Trades for Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts have given the Bucks new weapons for Jennings and added a ton of versatility to the perimeter.
Coach Scott Skiles will now have the task of taking the talent and turning it into a very good team.
While the Heat, Bulls, Knicks, Hawks, Celtics, and whomever signs LeBron James will get more media attention, the Bucks have transformed themselves into a well-rounded, diverse team, with great youth and athleticism.
The NBA may not have taken notice of what the Bucks have done, but 50 wins in the coming season will serve notice of a new title threat in the league.
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