Ok, so this was a little less clear than I expected.
We started a new series the other day with the intention of ranking each of Milwaukee's players in terms of "asset value." Unfortunately, I wasn't totally clear on how exactly that term was to be defined. So here's a simple explanation of the scenario I intended to set out from the beginning: Imagine the NBA was having an expansion draft, and the Bucks were able to "protect" their entire team from being taken by a new expansion organization, except for one player. Whoever is left unprotected will be selected in this hypothetical and totally unfair expansion draft. After this player is chosen, his salary comes off the Bucks' books instantly, as though he was never on the team at all. Then (and this is important) the Bucks' future plays out for some number of years, however long you care to imagine, only they no longer have the chosen player on the roster or on the cap sheet.
The question, then, is who would you leave unprotected?
That's what we're doing with this series of posts. One by one, we'll pare down the roster, eliminating the consensus "least valuable" player after each round and starting the scenario over. It's like we're imagining a bunch of parallel universes in which some cruel Basketball Overlord (who oddly enough, looks a lot like David Stern) is making the Bucks relive their future over and over again with progressively fewer players. What a jerk.
What we'll presumably be left with is a ranking of the entire Milwaukee roster in terms of their asset value as determined by our readers. So the bottom of the list will be overpriced veterans or fringe role players with little ability to contribute. The top will be promising young players on team-friendly contracts. You can consider the multitude of factors (age, performance, salary, etc.) as much or as little as you'd like, but keep in mind that we're interested in value to a real-world squad, even if it is one that has been ravaged by the Evil Basketball Genie.
We'll continue with vote #2 rather than starting over, since the results are likely to be similar near the bottom of the list anyway. The award for Least Valuable Player on the Bucks goes to O.J. Mayo, who narrowly defeated Chris Wright with a late surge and may have gotten a boost from my late-game explanation of, you know, what we're actually trying to do here. Anyway, Mayo is a fairly obvious choice to be left unprotected first among all of Milwaukee's players, considering his poor performance last season and hefty $8 million price tag each of the next two seasons. While cap space isn't a major concern for the Bucks at this juncture, dumping Mayo for free would give Milwaukee a lot more future flexibility at very little cost, considering how little he now seems to figure in the long-term picture. In fact, the only loss may be a vague sort of opportunity cost: if Mayo turns things around and has a solid season this year, another team might be willing to toss a marginal asset Milwaukee's way in a trade. But that's not something to bank on, so it's no shock to see Bucks fans send O.J. packing before anybody else.
Let the voting for the second-least valuable player begin!