Ken Norman made all the sense in the world. Quasi-local ties, solid numbers, filled a position of need, cool nickname (the "Snake"). How could this possibly go wrong?
In very many ways, apparently. After his debut 1993-1994 season, Norman and the remainder of his 6-year $15M contract were shipped to Atlanta for Roy Hinson, who had not played in an NBA game during the prior three seasons due to injury. The then-Milwaukee Journal labelled the trade as being for (euphemism warning) "salary cap reasons", which is like saying Larry Sanders got suspended last season for agricultural reasons.
The Norman signing came two seasons after the Bucks inked Moses Malone to a free agent deal. I remember talking to a co-worker about the Malone acquisition. He asked what I thought, and, mindful of the Bucks coming off a 48-win season the year before, I said "fifty wins". I was right, kind of. The Bucks topped fifty wins with Moses, but it took them two seasons to do it.
The Bucks have not had an impact free agent signing since...I honestly don't think they've had one. The best free agents have been the under-the-radar roster-filler types, such as Mike Dunleavy, Brian Skinner and Dell Curry. Our best outright free agent signing in the post-Moses era was Mo Williams when we got him off an offer sheet from Utah back in 2004. Of course, the Bucks then bid against themselves to give him a contract extension in 2008, and the rest of his Bucks career played out eerily similar to Ken Norman's. At least the Williams' trade netted actual NBA players in return.
The Bucks can saber-rattle all they want in this free agency season, but I highly doubt Eric Bledsoe or Greveis Vasquez will be calling MKE home this season, and frankly, nor should they. As in every prior season, I'll still pour some Kool-Aid no matter who we bring in (OJ Mayo, looking at you) and hope for the best. I could stomach a Jeremy Lin trade as a one-season reclamation project, but please please please no splashy free agent signings. I still have the Moses jersey.