Kevin C. Cox
The Bucks continue to be active in the hours leading up to the NBA trade deadline, with Josh Smth, J.J. Redick and Beno Udrih among the names being mentioned prominently.
Sources insist Bucks not trading Monte Ellis to ATL in JSmith deal— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 21, 2013
Plugged in source tells PBD Josh Smith to Bucks seems likely. Bucks have best offer on the table right now but others teams still trying— Probasketballdraft (@Probballdraft) February 21, 2013
So is Monta for sale or not (there is a right answer here)? And will Chris Broussard ever spells Monta's name right?
There are really two separate but very much related aspects to analyzing any deal for Smith: what it takes to get him now and what it takes to keep him in the summer. It doesn't make sense to ship out real assets for him unless you plan to make a serious offer to keep him in July, and that's where it gets tricky. I'd have serious reservations about re-signing Smith for $90 million over the summer, but on its own (if you can even analyze it as such) a deal revolving around Smith/Harris for Ellis/Udoh would be extremely palatable for the Bucks. So palatable in fact that I have a hard time believing the Hawks would actually go for that deal without one more asset heading to Atlanta (a 1st rounder? Tobias Harris?). But I'm happy to be proven wrong.
As for whether Ellis is reportedly involved or not, your guess is as good as mine. The Bucks can use other expiring deals to make the salaries match, but it's not clear how much value Atlanta might put on actually having Ellis on their team, or likewise how much the Bucks don't want to part with him. Smith apparently would like to play with Ellis, but for the sake of the Bucks I can't see a Jennings/Ellis/Smith core being one to invest heavily in for the future.
Not that the Bucks are the only ones jostling to acquire Smith. Houston and Phoenix are reportedly also still after Smith, though Houston's interest is reportedly limited by the fact that they could also make a run at him this summer with their cap space. Phoenix could probably put together the most compelling package overall with Jared Dudley, Marcin Gortat and a 2013 lottery pick, but that's a price they may not be willing to pay, and Atlanta might prefer more expiring salaries.
In other news:
Trade to watch: Udrih-to-Dallas in play but Beno won't be dealt on own til end of deadline in case Bucks need him in bigger (JSmoove) deal— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 21, 2013
Bucks "keep upping the ante" in pursuit of J.J. Redick, source says. Could mean confidence growing that they will land Josh Smith.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) February 21, 2013
We've heard precious little about Udrih possibly being on the move, likely because Udrih effectively backs up both Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis in Jim Boylan's three-guard rotation. I would guess Dallas' angle would be sending out non-expiring salaries to clear more cap space for this summer, which could include Vince Carter among many others. Carter is owed a little over $3 million next season and has been a great value thus far (40% threes, 17.2 PER). The ironic part is that the Bucks helping Dallas clear cap space could facilitate the Mavericks making a run at Brandon Jennings over the summer. Careful, John Hammond.
Remember, Bucks' pursuit of Redick based on scenario where Monta Ellis is sent to Atlanta as part of proposed Smith deal.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) February 21, 2013