We mentioned a couple weeks ago that the Bucks were in the running for journeyman PG Tyronn Lue, and now Jerry Brown of the Phoenix-area East Valley Tribune reports that Lue will sign a two-year deal with the Bucks. Brown writes that Lue's agent Andy Miller informed the Suns earlier today that his client was signing for the biannual exception with the Bucks. The BAE is worth $1.91 million this year and with the max raise would be worth about $2.06 million in 09/10. Just yesterday the word was that Lue was deciding between Boston and Phoenix, but apparently things changed. There's no further word from the Bucks or anyone else on whether the deal is done, so stay tuned.
Obviously the Lue signing alone isn't going to sell any season tickets, but the more interesting question is whether Lue's arrival would imply the Bucks are close to dealing incumbent point guard Mo Williams. Ramon Sessions continues to impress out in Vegas and the Bucks also have Charlie Bell available to fill in at the point, meaning that the addition of Lue would leave them with four guys capable of playing decent minutes at the point--and still only one real power forward in Charlie Villanueva.
I don't think Sessions' past few days in Vegas would alone lead the Bucks to deal Williams, but all summer we've been hearing speculation that either Mike Redd or Mo Williams would be dealt in order to break up the Bucks' high-scoring but defensively-challenged backcourt. Given the difficulty of getting fair value for Redd and the recent acquisition of Richard Jefferson, he seems to be off the market for now. That would leave Williams and his long-term deal as the obvious candidate to be dealt, especially in light of the Bucks' potential luxury tax issues next summer (it's probably too late to do much about their situation this year).
As for the 31-year old Lue, he's not a starter but he has proven to be a capable backup with a nice perimeter game (39% career 3fg%). He's not big (6'0" / 175 lbs) but provides honest defense, so if Williams was dealt he could at least push Sessions a bit at the point. Don't expect him to create much for teammates, though, and he hasn't played 70 games in a season since 04/05.
Granted, a Sessions/Lue point guard rotation wouldn't scare anyone on paper, but they would at least be a bargain at only $2.6 million combined. And with the scoring punch packed by Redd, Jefferson, and Bogut, the Bucks probably don't see Williams' scoring talent as the ideal complement to the rest of the starting five.
If Williams is dealt, there are plenty of available power forwards to be had. I'm probably getting ahead of myself a bit, but the biggest name would be Miami's Shawn Marion, whom the Bucks were rumored to have been interested in a year ago. Marion's $17.8 million expiring deal woud be tough to acquire unless the Bucks threw the kitchen sink of Williams, Villanueva and Desmond Mason at Miami. That would also give them just over $68 million committed to 10 players, leaving them a little over $3 million for their remaining few roster spots if they want to avoid crossing the luxury threshold.
While Marion might be the most intriguing option, more realistic deals could include his Miami teammate Udonis Haslem, the Cavs' Anderson Varejao and OKC's Chris Wilcox. Varejao and Wilcox both have expiring deals while Haslem has two years and $13.7 million left. Wilcox's teammate Nick Collison would also be an attractive option but his longer deal (three years, $19.25 million) might be less attractive if the Bucks want salary flexibility in return.
The more important question might be whether teams like Miami, Cleveland (who just re-signed Daniel Gibson), and OKC (who just drafted Russell Westbrook and still have Ridnour as well) are really interested in Mo in the first place. At this stage Miami is probably the best option given that a) Pat Riley almost signed Mo last summer and b) their point position is a big question mark, despite the promise of rookie Mario Chalmers. Still, in all the talk about the Heat acquiring a veteran PG, there's been surprisingly little talk about Williams. And if there in fact isn't much of a market for Mo's services, I wouldn't expect John Hammond to dump him for nothing this summer.
Wait, all that speculation from a mere report of Tyronn Lue signing? Gotta love the offseason.
Update: Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic is also reporting Lue will be a Buck. Coro reports the second year is a player option.