NBA Free Agency: Drew Gooden Signs With the Milwaukee Bucks

Jesse MotiffSenior Analyst IJuly 1, 2010

LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 3: Drew Gooden #90 of the Dallas Mavericks walks the other way after shooting an air ball against the Los Angeles Lakers on January 3, 2010 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. The Lakers won 131-96. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks continue to make their push towards the top of the Eastern Conference. While Chicago, New York, and Miami are focused on LeBron, Bosh, and D-Wade, Bucks GM John Hammond is focused on bettering his team in other ways.

The latest move is the signing of power forward Drew Gooden to a five year, $32 million contract on Thursday, according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski .

The contract is a bit on the high side for the 28-year-old Gooden. He'll turn 29 in September, but he has a lot of wear and tear on his body. He averaged 10.9 points and 7.7 rebounds for the Clippers and Mavericks last year. 

For his career, Gooden has averaged 11.9 points and 7.9 rebounds in seven NBA seasons. Taking away a contract that isn't the most attractive, Gooden is an absolutely perfect fit for the Milwaukee Bucks. It's a contract similar to former Buck forward Dan Gadzuric, except Gooden is a far better player than Gadzuric could ever hope to be.

With the additions of Corey Maggette and Chris Douglas-Roberts, the biggest need for Milwaukee was a power forward. Although Larry Sanders was the team's first-round pick in the draft, he is still more of a project and a couple years away from making a significant contribution.

It also seems likely that John Salmons will return to Milwaukee next season. 

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That would give the Bucks a starting five of Brandon Jennings, Salmons, Maggette, Gooden, and Andrew Bogut. The Bucks pushed the No. 3 seed Atlanta Hawks to a Game Seven without Bogut in the playoffs, and with the current additions, the Bucks move closer towards being considered a top three team in the Eastern Conference.

Coming off the bench would be defensive specialist Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Douglas-Roberts, Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova, and possibly Michael Redd. There is no disputing that Hammond is a basketball genius for being able to flip this roster over in just two years.

The Bucks have gone from a perennial laughing-stock to a model franchise overnight. The core players are all signed for at least three years. The Bucks' greatest success came in the 70s and 80s, but they may be entering a new golden age in team history with these moves. 

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