The Milwaukee Bucks are in desperate need of a quality center to come off of the bench.
Inevitably at some point in this coming season, we will see Andrew Bogut and his awful white suit riding the bench due to migraines, back pain, issues with his elbow or any other ailment the oft-injured Buck develops.
It has to be the No. 1 goal of the Bucks to sign an insurance policy in the event Bogut goes down again.
But it is important to be realistic. We can dream as fans all we want, but here are the five most realistic players the Bucks should target to back up Bogut at the center position.
This is a quality big man who will have many teams drooling over him. He likely will not accept a role as a bench player, and the amount of money he will command simply does not make sense for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Tyson is a quality player, but he has always been a bit overhyped. He is coming off a championship run with the Mavericks, so his stock has never been higher.
This is the type of player the Bucks need to avoid splurging on when the value really isn't there.
Kurt Thomas is the oldest player currently in the league. There is a lot of mileage on those tires. But there still is some tread left, as he showed to be a valuable contributor to the Chicago Bulls last season. He averaged four points and six rebounds in limited action. But more important than his stats is the leadership that he provides, both on and off the court.
Due to his age, I don't know that Kurt would want to come back the Bucks. He is obviously on borrowed time and is looking for a win-now situation.
While there is no "wow" factor to the Bucks signing Kurt Thomas, he is a proven veteran that can fill the holes when needed. He is a decent defender and can hit a 15-foot jump shot when called on.
When the lockout is over, Samuel Dalembert will be a hot commodity.
The NBA is by no means in excess of talented big men. Many teams will be looking for an excellent defensive center who can hit a shot or two when needed.
Being one of the few quality big men on the market, and being 30 years old, Dalembert will demand a higher price tag then perhaps he is worth. Maybe if the Bucks are lucky, the cards could fall right and they may have a chance at signing him.
For his career he averages eight points, eight rebounds and nearly two blocks per game.
The is pretty decent production from a potential bench player for the Bucks.
Spencer Hawes is a restricted free agent, meaning his current team, the Philadelphia 76ers, have the right to match any offer that he gets. This could hurt the chances of him signing with the Bucks.
Spencer has not yet lived up to the hype that he had when he was drafted 10th overall in the 2007 NBA draft. He started all but one game for the 76ers last year, while averaging seven points and nearly six rebounds in about 20 minutes per game. He is still rather young at age 23, and has more than enough time to develop his skills.
He makes sense for a number of reasons for the Bucks. He is young and will be relatively cheap, given his inconsistent play since joining the league.
If the Bucks could steal him away from the 76ers at the right price, he would be an excellent insurance policy for Bogut.
Nenad Krstic is a tough and gritty player.
He will never set the world on fire in terms of his numbers, but he will be productive and do what is asked of him. In a possible backup role to Andrew Bogut, he would not be relied on as the primary big man, which he was on the last couple of teams he played with.
He is going to get you around eight points and five rebounds each night, while playing decent defense. He would be the smartest choice for the Bucks in terms of cost versus production.
The hurdle, however, is that he signed a two-year contract with a team in Russia. Despite my best researching efforts, I could not find out if there was a buyout clause, so he may not be truly available. If he is, the Bucks should look at him to be the center off of the bench.
Kwame Brown makes a lot of sense for the Bucks. He is only 29 years old and coming off of his best season, averaging eight points and seven rebounds.
If the Bucks could get him for $7 million over two seasons, he would be a steal.
Brown has always gotten a bad rap because he didn't live up to the No. 1 overall draft hype in the 2001 NBA draft. But when you take a look at the production throughout the years, when given consistent minutes, he has been more than serviceable.
The Bucks are looking for someone who can step in when Andrew Bogut goes down. Now based on cost, ability, availability and need, Brown makes the most sense to back up Bogut.
Andrew Bogut's health can not be relied upon. Year after year he has been injured, and the Bucks have suffered without a solid backup.
Drew Gooden, Larry Sanders and Jon Brockman tried to fill the role, but none are true centers. In order for the Bucks to have sustained success, they need to fill the huge hole at backup center with one of the options we just reviewed.
Please leave a comment and let me know what you think the Bucks should do for a backup center.
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