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Woelfel: Villanueva/Lue trades being discussed, Landry among possible targets

OK, here's what we were waiting for.  Gery Woelfel writes what we kind of expected--that Damon Jones re-entering the fold could just be the first of a number of moves:

While Bell and Ridnour have health and injury issues, Tyronn Lue doesn't have either. But Lue's status appears to be up in the air as well. It is believed the Bucks have an offer on the table from the Los Angeles Lakers for Lue, with the Bucks receiving veteran big man Chris Mihm in return.

There have also been rumors that Lue could be dealt to Oklahoma City, perhaps as part of a package deal with teammate Charlie Villanueva. The Bucks are looking to solidify their power forward position and the Thunder have three power forwards that may interest the Bucks: Nick Collison, Chris Wilcox and [Joe] Smith.

All those guys would be of use, which is why I had hoped the Bucks might end up with one of them when the Mo Williams trade happened. Still, it'd swapping dynamism for consistency: none is as explosive or talented as Villanueva, who's still affordable this year ($3.4 million) but will be a RFA this summer.

Collison brings nice versatility as he can play both big positions and can do the dirty work up front, but his deal ($19.55 million over three years) is too long to stomach in my mind given the Bucks' luxury tax concerns next year. Wilcox's $6.75 million deal is expiring this summer, but he carries a rep for being a poor defender and he's having a poor season to boot--why would Skiles even bother? The 33-year old Smith is still a solid veteran who could help the Bucks a good deal, but it would seem that he'd be available for less than Villanueva.

Of more interest in my opinion is a possible deal with Houston involving hyper-efficient power forward (and Milwaukee native) Carl Landry. 

There has also been scuttlebutt Villanueva could be involved in a multi-player trade that would send him to Houston.

In return, the Bucks would possibly receive reserve forward Carl Landy, who was a prep star at Milwaukee Vincent High School.

I hadn't heard anything about the OKC thing, while the Landry rumor started to my knowledge a day or two ago.  Wichmae/GAD at RealGM have now posted the Landry deal as being close.  It would start with sending Lue to the Lakers and Villanueva to the Rockets.  The Bucks get Landry (signed to an extremely luxury tax friendly three year, $9 million deal) and either Luther Head or Brent Barry. The Rockets would also get Chris Mihm from the Lakers.

Villanueva has done a nice job thus far, but as a restricted free agent next summer the Bucks have to figure out what to do with him--and I don't see them wanting to commit long-term dollars to a player who has lacked consistency and a defensive motor for most of his career.  Adding Landry would kill two birds with one stone: a) give the Bucks' added flexibility next summer when they will need to re-sign Ramon Sessions without hitting the luxury tax and b) give Scott Skiles a young PF who better fits his system.  My only concern would be Landry's health, which was the major factor in why he dropped to the 31st overall pick in 2007.  He had reconstructive knee surgery while at Purdue and missed time last year as well.  But if Landry stays healthy it would seem to be an excellent all-around move from the Bucks' perspective.

Will one of these deals actually go down?  As I said, I don't know anything about the OKC proposal other than what Woelfel has written.  In asking around, I've heard conflicting things about the Landry deal.  First, I heard that there had actually not been any discussion of a three-way deal, though there had been discussions with both teams individually.  So that is a blow to the notion of a three-team deal, but the deal could go down in separate pieces. The Rockets need a backup big man--hence the persistent Dikembe Mutombo talk--so them getting Mihm (expiring $2.5 million) makes sense. But it's possible the Bucks could separately send Lue to L.A. for Mihm and then flip Villanueva and, say, Elson for Landry and Barry/Head (I think that still works).  That would actually be preferable to the three-way for the Bucks, since Mihm is expiring and Elson is not.

Secondly, Landry played tonight which doesn't make sense if a deal was actually imminent.  Because his offer sheet was matched on 9/25, he only became trade eligible on Christmas day and also retains to right to veto any trades until 9/25/09.  So if a deal was imminent then Landry would have had to approve it, in which case I don't see a scenario where he'd still suit up for the Rockets tonight.

On the surface, coming home would seem to be a very good career move.  Aside from being a MIlwaukee native, Landry would have every opportunity to win the Bucks' starting PF position, as Skiles has stated a preference for Luc Mbah a Moute coming off the bench. Lastly, Landry has butted heads with Daryl Morey and the Rockets' front office each of the last two summers, so that might also make him more willing to head home.

Will the Bucks' roster have changed by tomorrow night against Detroit?  Difficult to say for sure right now, but it certainly doesn't seem as though Jones' return was meant as a one-off move.  Stay tuned.