With Michael Redd out for the season, Andrew Bogut out for a couple of months and Luke Ridnour out for a month, the Bucks' chances of making the playoffs have dramatically decreased. With Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions hitting free agency in the summer, the team must clear some space to sign them.
That need has led the Bucks to explore deals for Jefferson that would allow them to reduce payroll and add an asset in return. The Blazers have had a lot of interest in Jefferson in the past and have the right combo of assets, plus Raef LaFrentz's expiring contract, to make it happen.
So I decided to check out the Bucks' situation, and I'll tell you what: It ain't bad. For all the talk about how Charlotte, Chicago, New Jersey and New York are fighting for the No. 8 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference ... well, it's the Bucks that they are chasing. Kind of amazing, isn't it? I mean, is there a more ignored team in the NBA than Milwaukee?
This year, the trade deadline is being influenced like never before because owners who've lost millions in the plunging U.S./global economy are determined not only not to be luxury tax payers, but to cut costs as much as possible as quickly as possible, with no intention of allowing their team's salaries to ever rise near the tax threshold in the foreseeable future.