Game 52: Rockets/Bucks (plus the latest trade rumors)

2009/2010 NBA Season

Hou2_medium


Mil_2_medium
27-25 (12-14 road)
@
24-27 (16-8 home)
February 17, 2010
Bradley Center
7:00 PM
Radio: WTMJ AM 620 TV: FSN Wisconsin
Probable starters:
Aaron Brooks
PG Brandon Jennings
Trevor Ariza
SG Charlie Bell
Shane Battier
SF Luc Mbah a Moute
Luis Scola
PF Ersan Ilyasova
Chuck Hayes
C Andrew Bogut

(15th) 106.9 - OFFENSE - 102.4 (25th)
(15th) 106.6 - DEFENSE - 103.9 (7th)
(13th) 93.3 - PACE - 93.8 (8th)



Linkage:

The Dream Shake / Houston Chronicle / Clutch Fans / Red 94

The latest trade rumors after the jump...

Mannix: Rockets sending T-Mac to New York?
Rick Adelman sent Tracy McGrady packing a couple months ago, but as of this very moment he's still technically a Rocket.  Whether the same can be said when the Bucks and Rockets tip off is far less certain.  Chris Mannix at SI is among those reporting that the Rockets are finalizing a deal that will send McGrady to New York in exchange for Larry Hughes (expiring this year), Jared Jeffries ($6.88 expiring next season), and first round pick Jordan Hill, in addition to the right to swap picks in 2011 and the Knicks' first rounder in 2012.  

While the Knicks might make some noise about McGrady helping them make a playoff run, the real appeal is clearing Jeffries' contract from the books, which depending on the cap level probably gives them room for two max-level free agent signings.  Meanwhile, the Rockets get a young big man prospect and a future first in exchange for a guy they weren't playing and their willingness to pay Jeffries' 2011 salary.  Well played, Darryl Morey.  Well played, indeed.  

The Bulls have also been in the mix for T-Mac, offering some combination of Tyrus Thomas, Brad Miller (expiring), Jerome James (expiring), and John Salmons/Kirk Hinrich.  Marc Stein writes that Thomas has drawn interest from a number of teams (New York, San Antonio, Denver) but doesn't mention the Bucks.  Chad Ford mentioned the Bucks as possible suitors for Thomas yesterday.

Gardner: Deal-making won't be easy
Where are the Bucks in all of this?  Well, they're probably wishing they could have used their ability to take on 10/11 salary (like Jeffries) to get a piece of the Knicks' firesale.  For instance, Kurt Thomas, Hakim Warrick, and Joe Alexander matches up salary-wise with Jeffries, Hill and Marcus Landry, and for all I care the Knicks could keep their damn first rounders.  I'm not sure if the Bucks even discussed something like that with Donnie Walsh, but it's also possible that Walsh really wants McGrady's name (in addition to his expiring contract) in order to make the dumping of Hill and first round picks look less desperate.  

Charles Gardner's story on the Bucks' deal-making chances doesn't make anything sound imminent, but at least the Bucks are trying to make use of the almost $20 million in expiring contracts currently sitting on their books.

"But you’re not doing your job if you’re not looking to upgrade all over the floor," Skiles said. "If you’re a team that hasn’t played in the playoffs, you have to try to get better.

"At the same time, we’ve made it clear in the things we’ve said, that we’re going to be fiscally responsible about it. We’re setting ourselves up well for the season after next, and we have to be mindful of that as well."

30 Days Later
The Rockets held off the Bucks 101-98 in overtime a month ago, but since then things have turned around for the Bucks and gone the opposite direction for Houston.  The Rockets dropped their third in a row last night at home, a 104-95 decision to the Jazz, while the Bucks won eight of twelve heading into the all-star break and haven't played since crushing the hapless Nets a week ago.  That means they'll be well-rested, though too much time off isn't necessarily a good thing either.  Coming off the long weekend, Gardner reports that Scott Skiles was pleased with the team's practice yesterday:   

"Everybody was good; we had a lot of energy and had a very spirited workout," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "It's a little odd going in the afternoon like this.

"This can be a very iffy practice, the first one back, and we certainly don't want to kill anybody today. You go based on how guys look, and they looked very good."

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