The Bucks aren't typically at the center of much national media buzz, but with Thursday's NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching that's exactly where they are.
Are the Milwaukee Bucks the center of the trade deadline universe right now? Kinda feels like it, right?
With the deadline arriving at 2 pm central time on Thursday, we've officially entered trade rumor overdrive, and there was no shortage of Bucks-related chatter on Tuesday. For simplicity, let's hit the Twitter highlights one by one:
Three teams that league GM's on phones believe will make significant moves before trade deadline: Atlanta, Milwaukee and Phoenix.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 19, 2013
Here we go you guys!!!
On Bucks/Josh Smith talk: Hawks' interest believed to start w/Monta Ellis, since Monta could play next to Jeff Teague, whom Hawks still like— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 19, 2013
Sorry Josh, this rumor apparently won't die, though I'm not sure what it would mean for the Bucks either.
On the one hand, the Bucks acquiring J. Smoove could be really...well, awesome. I mean, his nickname is J. Smoove. He dunks, he blocks shots, he rebounds. Or it could also be a complete train wreck. Like, Gary Payton-punching-strip-club-bouncers train wreckish.
Realistically? It all comes down to what the Bucks would give up for Smith, since it would be quite likely he's gone by early July. There's no good reason for Atlanta to give Smith away for just Ellis, but is there a compelling reason for the Bucks to give up a long-term asset for a guy likely to be no more than a pricey rental?
One thing that hasn't been discussed much is what the Bucks might try to do to keep Smith if they do acquire him. Milwaukee would be able to pay Smith more than anyone else, and if they're that hot on his case then you gotta think they're going to throw a ton of money at him this summer, right? I mean, why else bother?
But do you really want the Bucks ponying up Michael Redd money for a 27-year-old who scores less efficiently than Brandon Jennings? Gulp.
Im told Monte Ellis's name is coming up in discussions btwn Milwaukee & ATL in potential Josh Smith deal.— Chris Broussard (@Chris_Broussard) February 19, 2013
I suppose Ellis
One deal on the table for the Bucks is Luc Mbah a Moute and a first-round pick to Orlando for J.J. Redick, sources say.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) February 19, 2013
I actually like J.J. Redick a lot, but a useful, affordably-priced rotation player and a pick? I vote no. Even if Redick is likely to sign long-term, I just don't think he's worth multiple assets and a big new deal.
The belief among rival execs is that the Bucks would only acquire Redick if they first decided to move Monta Ellis as part of a bigger deal.— Ken Berger (@KBergCBS) February 19, 2013
For all the leverage Brandon Jennings sought changing agents, reality is unchanged: No one will max him out, Bucks will match sheet in July.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 19, 2013
:-( h/t @spearsnbayahoo "The Bucks don’t have anything going trade-wise for Jennings and Ellis and doubt either will get moved."
— Jake McCormick (@Jake_BrewHoop) February 19, 2013
So it seems like all is quiet on the Jennings front for now, but Ellis' status appears less clear. Not that you'd expect trading either would be easy. Both are eye-of-the-beholder types, players who won't work just anywhere; at a minimum they don't seem particularly well-suited to playing with each other, but we've been assuming that since the day Ellis arrived.