According to multiple reports from various sources, the Milwaukee Bucks have pulled the trigger on the deal that sends the injured Andrew Bogut and disgruntled Stephen Jackson to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh and the injured Kwame Brown. Neither team has made official confirmation, but based on the number of media sources citing the same deal, including Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel, this trade appears done.
For the Warriors, the deal makes plenty of sense. After whiffing on a trade for Dwight Howard, Golden State gets a proven defensive big man that could change the culture of their offense-first franchise if he can make a recovery from the broken ankle he suffered against the Houston Rockets back in January. The Bucks are another story. Ellis is an inefficient and undersized shooting guard on an expensive contract, and will team up with Brandon Jennings to make one of the most inefficient and undersized backcourts in the entire NBA. It gives the Bucks an additional $8M of cap space going forward and rids them of Stephen Jackson, but it's hard to fight the feeling that they sold very low on Bogut.
*Note: This reaction is an extremely emotional fan response to the trade, and does not represent the views of the Brew Hoop staff. This is the opinion of one disappointed Bucks fan who is upset for the reasons set forth below, so take it for what it's worth or feel free to completely disagree. We love open and thoughtful discourse here on Brew Hoop. Have at me in the comments! Sincerely, Steve]
Ekpe Udoh may be a nice defender, and is an adjusted +/- monster, but it's hard to really know his worth at this point in his young career. As for Kwame Brown, he's Kwame Brown. Original talks with the Warriors reportedly included Steph Curry and not Ellis, but concerns over Curry's ankles held the Bucks back from that deal. Excuse me while I light myself on fire.
Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis have missed a combined 827 shots this season. No pair of teammates have missed more.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) March 14, 2012
It's very hard to be optimistic about giving up on a franchise big man who loved playing in Milwaukee and started the wonder Squad Six section that provided energy and atmosphere at the Bradley Center. Now it appears the Bucks are making a run at the eight seed in the Eastern Conference, which will rob them of a shot at a top draft pick for the loaded 2012 NBA Draft and could set up an embarrassing 1 vs. 8 matchup against the Chicago Bulls. Excuse me while I light myself on fire AGAIN.
Monta Ellis when asked about the trade to Milwaukee (via the San Francisco Chronicle)- "I knew they weren't going to send me to a playoff team. But the Bucks are still in the running. I think we can go for the eighth spot."
I see three serious problems with this deal:
Problem 1: The Bucks Sold Low On Andrew Bogut For No Good Reason. Bogut is 27 years old on an extremely affordable deal with elite defensive skill that held strong even when he was playing with one arm last season. I get a bit worried about lower leg injuries with seven-footers, but to trade Bogut amid those concerns means the Bucks absorbed some of that risk by getting a lesser return. The Aussie's best traits did not rely on hyper-athleticism, but rather on skills that could easily maintain their value well into his mid 30s. Even if the Bucks wanted to trade Bogut, this was the wrong time to do so.
Problem 2: The Bucks Unnecessarily Prioritized Getting Rid Of An Invisible Player (Stephen Jackson). In all of the Bucks trade rumors, they seemed to be working to rid themselves of Stephen Jackson for anything short of a kick in the nuts. He's not very good, he thinks he is, and sometimes he runs his mouth under the guise of professionalism. I get it, he's not a great guy to have in the locker room. Even so, why take a worse deal with Bogut just to get rid of him? They could have continued to bench S-Jax and just make him stew for the rest of the season and then offer him a low-ball buyout or trade him in a separate deal with a lesser trade chip involved. Instead they packaged him with their franchise player in an ill-timed deal and took a worse return as a result because the Warriors no doubt expected a discount for taking Jax. They could smell the desperation on the Bucks.
Problem 3: Brandon Jennings Gets To Learn From Another Undersized Volume Shooter. The pairing seems like a really dumb idea to me, but maybe I'm just an idiot. I'm honestly not sure their combined True Shooting Percentages break 100, which is just not an ideal recipe for good NBA offense. However, if the franchise decided they liked Jennings over Bogut, it would seem prudent to give Young Money a shot at becoming an efficient guard by surrounding him with good decision-makers and mentors. Instead, he gets to play beside a guy who plays just like he does and earned a contract that broke $60M for his troubles. They might not be together for the next three years, and there might be another move coming, but at this point I don't get it. How does Beno Udrih fit into this mix in the short term, if at all? What about Shaun Livingston?
The Big Redeeming Note: Ekpe Udoh could be the new Bogut. He is a true defensive big man, and I know Warriors fans will be sad to lose him...at least until they see Bogut in action.
I will have more on this aspect shortly. This is what gives me serious hope.