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Trade Rumormill: Bucks "definitely open" to Andrew Bogut trade offers

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NY Post: Bucks open to offers for Andrew Bogut
Whether you consider it real news, unfounded speculation or simply a statement of the obvious, the New York Post's Peter Vecsey writes that the Bucks are indeed open to trade offers for injured center Andrew Bogut. What we don't know is all the important stuff, namely what the Bucks' asking price would be and whether there are any teams willing to pay it.

Vecsey touched on Bogut in a broader discussion of Dwight Howard's ongoing saga, though he stops short of saying Bogut could be somehow involved in a multi-team deal for the Magic superstar.

That leads us to Andrew Bogut, who fractured his left ankle and is out for another 8-12 weeks. Hurt or healthy, there are always teams interested in the 2005 pick of the litter, who’s under contract ($13M/$14M) for the next seasons. Obviously, the Bucks have yet to hear anything especially enticing, but they’re "definitely open to offers," disclosed an East Coast coach.

As noted in this space on Friday, the Bucks would be silly to consider Bogut or anyone else on the roster untouchable at this point, so in a general sense his availability shouldn't be surprising. In fact, it'd only be surprising if the Bucks weren't open to offers for their oft-injured star, who struggled offensively this season before suffering a left ankle fracture in Houston a month ago.

That doesn't mean a trade is imminent of course. It's still not clear if Bogut will be able to return from his ankle injury before the regular season is over, limiting his value to a contender in need of a legitimate big man for the postseason. Plenty of teams would still be interested in adding a healthy Bogut (perhaps a misnomer) for the final two years of his deal, but his current injury won't make trading him any easier ahead of the March 15 deadline.

One obvious exception would be if the Bucks wormed their way into a bigger trade involving Howard, with the Nets reportedly working on multi-team options in the hopes of acquiring Howard before the trade deadline. I'm not sure if Bogut would be enough of a consolation prize for Orlando unless a number of other assets went Orlando's direction, nor would it be obvious what the Bucks could get out of a deal involving the Nets and Magic. Neither team has a ton of young assets at this point, though the Mavericks and Lakers are also among the teams Howard's agent Dan Fegan has been given permission to contact in the hopes of brokering a deal. Contrary to some preseason speculation, I don't foresee Andrew Bynum coming to Milwaukee either at this point--he would likely be heading to Orlando in any scenario involving the Lakers.

If the Bucks were to part with Bogut, it's not clear if they would prefer more established players or younger, less proven players and picks--a decision that gets to the more fundamental direction of the franchise. Most hardcore fans would likely prefer the younger route at this point, but it's not clear if the Bucks' brass will be willing to hit the reset button after targeting playoff competitiveness the past three years. If they do decide to pull the cord, then waiting until June would be a more obvious route to take. Deals involving picks are less risky and typically easier to do once the draft order has been set, underclassmen have declared and teams have had a chance to evaluate them as well as their own rosters.

Of course, if the Bucks don't want to rebuild, then why trade Bogut in the first place? Injuries would be the obvious answer, though Bogut's history of bizarre injuries has as much or more to do with bad luck than anything else. And even when he's not firing on all cylinders offensively, Bogut's elite defensive abilities allow him to anchor a team in a way few centers can, which has been made all the more clear by the Bucks' defensive struggles without him.

Waiting on Bogut would also buy the Bucks more time to figure out what they want to do with Jennings, who will be eligible for an extension to his rookie contract this summer. A big extension offer seemed rather likely after the first month of the season, but Jennings' on-court struggles and questions about his motivation off it have more recently brought that into question. This summer could be the last/best time to deal Jennings, which raises its own challenges given how much of a focal point the 22-year-old has become for the Bucks, both on the court and in terms of fan interest and marketing.

JS: Break in the grind for Bucks
Lori Nickel writes that the all-star break is coming at a good time for the struggling Bucks, though the challenges of a compressed schedule are a common issue around the league.

The squeezed NBA schedule has affected practice time. In a normal week, the Bucks would get about two practices around the games, said forward Jon Brockman.

Now, with an average of four games a week, team practice is virtually gone. Of the nine non-game days in the first three weeks of February, the Bucks practiced only four times. Leuer’s Leap
Truman Reed looks back at Jon Leuer's path from Minnesota high schooler to NBA starter.