A year ago, Jared Dudley was the centerpiece of the three-team deal that landed Dudley in L.A. and sent Eric Bledsoe to Phoenix.
Today? Well, time's change. And for the Bucks that looks like it could work out quite nicely.
Adrian Wojnarowski reports that the Clippers are on the verge of sending Dudley and a future first round pick to the Bucks for end-of-the-benchers Carlos Delfino ($3.25 million) and Miroslav Raduljica ($1.567 million). The move allows Los Angeles to shed Dudley's $4.25 million salary in each of the next two seasons while taking on two players who can be waived at no cost next summer.
Bucks will send Carlos Delfino and Radiluca to the Clippers for Dudley and a future first-round pick, source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) August 26, 2014
UPDATE: Marc Stein adds that the Bucks will send back to L.A. one of the second rounders they acquired in last year's J.J. Redick deal:
In Jared Dudley deal, I'm told Bucks get a protected 2017 first-rounder from Clips while Milwaukee sends future second-rounder to LAC— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) August 26, 2014
For their trouble, the Bucks snag a future first round pick and also trim their roster by one player, leaving Milwaukee with 14 guaranteed contracts in addition to the non-guaranteed deals of Kendall Marshall and Chris Wright. Wright would seem the most likely odd man out if no other moves are made, but...well, there's still plenty of time for that. Our own Eric Buenning reports that the Clippers' future first will come in 2017.
The first-round pick coming to the Bucks from the Clippers will be in 2017, per source.— Eric Buenning (@ericbuenning) August 26, 2014
UPDATE: Eric's info suggests that the pick will be lottery-protected in 2017 and unprotected in 2018. Shipping a second rounder back to L.A. takes a little of the shine off the move, but overall not much to complain about.
Granted that's a long way off, but it reinforces the new longer-term view being adopted in Milwaukee, and honestly there's not much downside in this deal from a Milwaukee perspective even if you ignore the pick. Throw in a pick and it's more or less a no-brainer considering the Bucks won't be pressed for cap space going forward.
Having missed all of the 13/14 season while recovering from a broken foot, the 31-year-old Delfino had no clear role on the new-look Bucks, and that was before Woj suggested he might miss yet another season. The 26-year-old Raduljica showed flashes of offensive skill in sparse minutes as an NBA rookie, but his lack of footspeed made it difficult to play him against quicker NBA lineups. He could still carve out a niche as a big-bodied bench big, but that's not the most important thing for a rebuilding team with a crowded big man rotation. Ultimately, this was all about one team having cap flexibility and the other needing it, and it's quite possible both will benefit in the long term.
What Dudley will bring the Bucks isn't entirely clear, as the 29-year-old saw his numbers hit the skids somewhat in his first season in LA. after developing into a quality rotation player for the Suns. Though he stlll connected at a very respectable rate from deep (36.0% overall, 42.2% corner threes), Dudley battled knee tendinitis for much of the season and saw his free throw rate evaporate (58 attempts in over 1700 minutes), his scoring efficiency dipfrom excellent (true shooting marks of 58% to 61% the previous four seasons) to about average (54.1%), and his minutes shrivel with competition from the likes of J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes.
How he'll fit into the Bucks' crowded wing rotation isn't entirely clear at this point, and it's always possible he ends up elsewhere before the season starts. The most obvious concern would be that his arrival cuts into time for someone like Khris Middleton, though his ability to space the floor could also make life easier for younger Bucks like Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
UPDATE: Thanks to our Twitter friends Paul Henning and Mike Lloyd for pointing out this story from last October, which suggests Dudley might not exactly be thrilled about his new home. Here's Dudley talking about his close relationship with Steve Nash and the moves that took Nash to the Lakers and Dudley to the Clippers.
"I was happy because you always want to have Steve to have a chance to win. [Los Angeles is] close to Phoenix, and if you're going to leave a franchise where you have that emotion, you want to go to a big-time franchise. If he had gone to the Knicks, I would have been happy. That's the thing for me, I don't want to s--- on a team, but I didn't want to go to Milwaukee. You want to go to a team that has history and prestige, and L.A. was a perfect fit. You were happy for him. There was no sadness."
C'mon Jared, '71 title team!
It's worth noting that Dudley generally has a reputation as a good locker room guy, so it will be interesting to see what his reaction to the move is and whether he actually ends up in a Bucks uniform or not. If he does end up on the Bucks' roster this season, note that he can opt out of the $4.25 million final year of his deal in 15/16, which a) would be a good thing for the Bucks and b) would seem more likely given the quote above.