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Wednesday Notes: Bogut update, draft blather, Wiz shopping?

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  • Bucksketball: Weight A Minute.  I compared DeJuan Blair to a bunch of current NBA players the other day, and Jeremy finds another interesting potential comparison:

    I’m not saying Blair is doomed to eat his way out of the NBA. I love a lot about his game and think he could really be a great addition to a team. But I would wait before hoping he joins Big Baby Davis or Paul Millsap in the brotherhood of undersized power forwards. I’ve seen this Dejuan Blair movie before. And I know what you’re thinking, but I’m not talking about Tractor. I’m not going to rehash that old wound. I’m more recently reminded of Mike Sweetney.
    We often conflate a player's willingness to work off the court with his motor on it, but Blair provides an interesting counterpoint. As Jeremy notes, there is nothing normal about a guy losing 40 pounds in a month; does it say more about his newfound dedication to his craft, or is it a statement about a fleeting willpower which could continue to be an issue? Tough to say.  But even if Blair's off-court work ethic has been questionable, there's no knocking his determination and relentless style on the court. 
  • Bogut.com: Andrew doing core work, heading back to Milwaukee soon.  Among other things, Andrew Bogut's latest blog talks about his upcoming rehab work.  He'll be back in Milwaukee over Summerfest as well.

    I have started a lot of my core strengthening and weight room type exercises. I’m working with a trainer I have used before who works @ the Melbourne Football Club (I know I’m a bombers fan) down at Junction Oval. I cannot thank the club enough for their hospitality and help in letting me utilize some of their medical staff and trainers.

    ...Once I’m done with the core and ready to start running again I will be working with the running man himself Bohdan Babijczuk who is the Athletic Development Coach at Melbourne FC and has worked with numerous football clubs, along with the Australian National Basketball team when I was a tad younger. He really knows his stuff. Finally I am doing all my Physio work with Sam Pietsch, who is the head Physio at Melbourne FC, who is once again very solid in his field. I’m very lucky to be in good hands and very thankful to know these people. Once again I have to thank the Melbourne FC for their hospitality.
  • Warriors.com: Multi-team workout blog.  Billy McKinney and Dave Babcock are on the West Coast watching the workouts in the Bay Area. 
  • DX: Chicago/workout recaps (mp3).  There's plenty of interesting stuf in here, but it provides a nice excuse for talking about B.J. Mullens.  Gery Woelfel and Jonathan Givony have both mentioned the Bucks' interest in Mullens, which seems...weird.  The athletic seven-footer was a huge disappointment at Ohio State as a freshman, but still declared for the draft despite major question marks about his effort, toughness, and polish.  It's perhaps not surprising then that Givony mentions Mullens being badly outplayed in Minnesota by Utah big man Luke Nevill.  

    Sorry, but doesn't that seem like the exact kind of guy the Bucks wouldn't draft?  I can appreciate looking for a potential superstar, but if Mullens is in play then how is DeMar DeRozan not even being mentioned?  The obvious answer is that the Bucks might not be particularly interested in Mullens at all--at least not at #10--and it could be a smokescreen or some due diligence in case Mullens slips and the Bucks have a chance to pick him later in the draft.  As noted the other day, the Bucks seem to be interested in just about everyone--Jonny Flynn, Stephen Curry, and DeJuan Blair being the most common mentions.  Truth or just gamesmanship?  The answer is probably somewhere in between.
  • Wizards pick in play?  It's all media and fan speculation at this point, but I wanted to weigh in briefly on possible trades involving the Wizards' 5th overall pick.  Ever since Washington saw their worst nightmares realized in the lottery, there's been talk of dealing the pick for veteran help.  So Michael Lee of the Washington Post, Bullets Forever, and the Bucks RealGM board have all discussed the possibility of dealing either Richard Jefferson or Michael Redd to Washington in exchange for the Wizards' lottery pick and some combination of expiring contracts--notably the expiring deals of almost-Buck Etan Thomas ($7.35 million) and one-time Buck Mike James ($6.47 million).  Depending on your opinion of the pieces involved, the Bucks could also send their 10th and/or 41st picks back...plenty of possibilities. 

    The premise from the Wiz perspective is that they're not thrilled with the options at five and would prefer a proven player to add to their existing core of Gilbert Arenas (assuming he's finally healthy), Caron Butler, and Antawn Jamison.  That's also the basis for more unsubstantiated talk about an Amare Stoudemire for Jamison/5th pick talk (which would seem much better from a Wiz view).   I don't see adding either of the Bucks' wings as making them contenders in the East--a wing scorer doesn't seem to be a need for them--but Ernie Grunfeld did draft Redd back in 2000 and...well, I guess desperation makes you do things.  Maybe?  As a trade piece Jefferson would seem more attractive given his deal averages $3 million less over the next two years and he's not coming off major knee surgery.  I also can't recall the last time a star player was dealt while still rehabbing a serious injury, but I could be forgetting someone.

    One thing to keep in mind when you hear these deals is how the salary matching works.  Picks don't have a cap number for trade purposes, but the 5th pick will make about $3.27 million next year.  In other words, for a Bucks/Wiz trade to be "cap neutral" from a Milwaukee perspective, it has to send the Bucks less in the way of existing contracts.  For instance, a hypothetical Thomas/James/#5 for Redd deal would only add about $50k to the Bucks' total payroll; however, the same deal with Jefferson adds about $2.9 million.  Both scenarios would also bring the Bucks to the max roster of 15 guys not including Ramon Sessions

    While this draft might not look like a blockbuster, I'd be a fan of any deal that brings the Bucks an extra pick without a) dealing Bogut or Mbah a Moute and b) leaving the Bucks some space under the tax to *maybe* re-sign Ramon Sessions.  With two picks in the top ten, your odds of finding one quality NBA player look pretty good, and you also have a bit more latitude to go for a home run pick--think DeMar DeRozan or Tyreke Evans.  And if James Harden slips outside the top four you have a great (and cheap) SG prospect to replace Redd.  Will the top pick be as productive next year as Redd or Jefferson?  Maybe not, but who cares.  It hardly qualifies as an all-out rebuild (which the Bucks front office seems averse to for a number of reasons) and better positions the Bucks for the future as well.  Namely, the Bucks would have more young talent and plenty of salary coming off the books next summer in order to avoid another close shave with the luxury tax. The favorability of any deal depends on the final configuration, but overall I'd be all about a deal that converts one of our wings into an extra lottery pick and expiring deals.  I'm just not sure it makes sense for Washington.