Welcome back to the Brew Hoop Round Table, where we ask that everybody use coasters and please don’t feed the pugs from the table, thanks. Today, we respond to the news that the Milwaukee Bucks have acquired Tyler from the Brooklyn Nets, and will part with a protected second round pick...along with our beloved Rashad Vaughn.
Can confirm Bucks are sending Rashad Vaughn and a future 2nd round pick to Brooklyn for Tyler Zeller. Given that Bucks are in NYC, it’s possible Zeller could join the team as soon as tomorrow provided the trade becomes official later today/early tomorrow.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) February 5, 2018
What was your initial reaction to the trade?
Riley: I wasn't surprised in the least that Rashad is on his way out of town; the Bucks failed to pick up his team option for the 2018-2019 season, and so he was essentially a dead man walking. However, I thought he'd be included as a “sweetener” in a bigger deal, even if only to provide some salary matching/a chance for the acquiring organization to tout him as a young sharpshooter who just needed a change of scenery. In summary, the fact that he's gone isn't shocking. I just didn't think he'd be shipped out for a Zeller.
Mitchell: I had always thought that Rashad either would have been waived, or lingered on the roster until the summer when his contract ran out. The fact that a team – any team! – had interest in bringing him aboard surprised me, and Tyler Zeller seems like a perfectly capable short-term backup center, which is worth the price of admission (locking the Bucks out of their 2018 second round pick) in my opinion.
Greg: My initial thought was, “aw man not Shaddy,” but then I thought about it a little bit and turning his minimal-to-zero minutes a game into actual minutes for a bench big guy made me think, “well, okay.”
Adam: A shrug that grew sadder when I knew Rashad was leaving town. It had grown depressing to not even see him get a chance to chuck in garbage time lately. I’ll miss rooting for someone emphatically when they merely make a shot. I also thought there’s little need for an extra big man on this roster, even one who is practically getting paid pennies in Zeller.
Rachael: Sad for non-basketball reasons. I really enjoyed his personality, his energy, his humor, and his pregame dances with Giannis. None of these are related to his positive impact on a basketball court, but I’ll still miss him. I’m a girl, cut me a break!
Is this move a particularly big deal? Why or why not?
Z!!!!!!!!!!!— John Henson (@Johnhenson31) February 5, 2018
Riley: It depends on what Jon Horst & Co. decide to do at the trade deadline, right? At face value this is a small deal that helps shore up Milwaukee's center rotation without sacrificing a ton in the way of assets. However, if it is a set-up to a bigger transaction involving, I don't know, the maybe expendable Thon Maker, then we can reclassify it as a big deal.
Mitchell: Honestly, I view this move as short-term insurance for those nights where Maker is struggling and the team needs something more steady from the center position. I don’t anticipate the rotation changing very much, if at all, as a result of this move. Perhaps Zeller takes over Thon’s shifts in the second half of a game where Thon is struggling, and it helps put the Bucks in a position to win while Maker would have hurt their chances. Even then, this move replaces one third-string player with another, so my hypothetical scenario is a stretch as it is!
Greg: No. It’s a very low stakes trade considering Vaughn was not producing this season and would not produce in the future and Zeller is a rotation player. Despite recent success in the second round, those picks rarely pan out, so the front office is marginally mortgaging the future to bolster this year’s roster a little (and maybe next year if they pick up Zeller’s option).
Adam: No, unless it represents the first domino in a shifting of the organizational thinking about Thon Maker. Clearly they have concerns about his long-term viability, which are well warranted, but I’ll be curious to see if they start to see if teams are sniffing around Maker still. On it’s face though, trading for a third-string center is not a big deal, even if it seems unnecessary in my opinion.
Rachael: No. It was for the best and it wasn’t anything too crazy. Not sure what Tyler Zeller will bring that Marshall Plumlee doesn’t, as I’m not well versed on Zeller’s basketball history.
What’s your take on Tyler Zeller? Is he going to make any impact?
Tyler Zeller is a) big (7'0", 250 lb.), b) cheap ($1.7m this year, non-guaranteed $1.9m next year), and c) experienced (has played 382 games in 6 seasons). Not the worst kind of guy to bring in to the end of the Bucks' bench.— Mitchell Maurer (@Mitchell_NBA) February 5, 2018
Riley: I can't remember, is this one of the good Zellers? Or this a bad Zeller? He slowly found himself relegated further on the bench in Boston under Brad Stevens before being sent to NBA exile in Brooklyn. He's got so-so rebounding numbers (TRB% of 14.5 and a DRB% of 19.9 this season) and shouldn't be expected to come in and change the complexion of the team. If he can be serviceable in occasional minutes, I'll be pleased.
Mitchell: He’s a “fine” Zeller. For his career, he has per-36 averages of 14.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.2 blocks, a career TS% of 0.550, and started taking threes this season, making 38.5% of them (on extremely low volume). He’s an NBA-sized center (on a dirt-cheap contract) who can come in and hold down the fort on the nights where Thon Maker looks like he might not be an NBA player. He could be depth you can use, unlike Rashad Vaughn, who you could not.
Greg: Agreed with Mitchell on all accounts. His per-36 numbers are better than Thon’s with the same amount of minutes played per game, so it will be nice to have a diet-Henson coming off the bench.
Adam: He’s a minutes-eater, nothing more, nothing less. If anything I would’ve preferred Milwaukee just roll with the Plumlee just eating a few more minutes if what they were hoping for was a bigger body. Him taking Thon minutes would certainly be more depressing, but at least it would make it more clear on its face what they likely think about Thon’s potential.
Rachael: It’s a little sad that none of us were really sure which brother he was. That’s never a good sign. But hey, we’re lacking in the big body center department, so he can’t really hurt.
Did the Bucks overpay and/or make a move too early, with the NBA Trade Deadline still a day away?
Mitchell: This is perhaps the most fair criticism of the trade; with more time on the clock and buyout candidates still to be determined, it’s entirely possible that a superior player could be available or could have been acquired for the same package as Zeller. It’s also entirely possible that the opposite is true, and Zeller is the best player the Bucks could have gotten for a protected second round pick and Vaughn. Consider it the same as a 19-foot pull-up jump shot with 12 seconds left on the shot clock; perhaps waiting could have had a better result...but perhaps not.
Riley: I think it could be reasonably argued that Milwaukee was a bit too trigger-happy making this move with time before the trade deadline struck. Every NBA insider on the face of the Earth has made it known that there are significantly more sellers than buyers around the league, so you'd figure Milwaukee would have their pick of the litter as a potential buyer. As Mitchell said, though, this isn't the worst outcome possible for the Bucks: immediate help and the flexibility to either cut bait on Zeller's unguaranteed 2018-2019 salary or bring him back as a usable big.
Greg: I don’t think they overpaid at all and to borrow a line from Horst, “if it’s inevitable, why wait?” I’m sure the front office inquired about Dewayne Dedmon and Willy Hernangomez but found what the Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks were asking for to be too much. So they went with this trade instead knowing the more valuable trade targets would cost too much.
Adam: Probably, but I don’t think Bucks fans would’ve been happy with anything the Bucks gave up to get a big at the deadline, especially the ones they’ve been reportedly targeting. Sure the organization can purchase a second round pick to replenish the coffers, but to this point they’ve rarely made lavish choices when it came to team spending outside of the Summer of Contract Love when they got Delly, Telly and signed another Plumlee. Considering their precarious cap situation, it seems short-sighted to give up any potential, however infinitesimal, to get an impact player for dirt cheap in the second round.
Rachael: If this is the only trade we make, I’ll be disappointed. In my dream world, I’d love to dump Dellavedova’s contract and get a new point guard on the roster...even though he’s injured right now. But no, I don’t think they really overpaid.
Feel free to add to our favorite Rashad Vaughn moments thread pic.twitter.com/Upr5TWYYKq— Brew Hoop (@brewhoop) February 6, 2018
Finally, please take a moment to reflect on what Rashad Vaughn means to you.
Riley: Bold dancing during the pre-game huddle, becoming a perennial feature of Milwaukee's Summer League squad, and a blank slate upon which all Bucks fans could project their feelings about Jason Kidd. I'll never shake the feeling that his tenure in the NBA was mishandled from the get-go, but I hope he's able to find green pastures elsewhere and turn himself into a usable NBA player. Godspeed, Rashad!
Mitchell: Rashad Vaughn is one of the last vestiges of the Kidd Era in Milwaukee. Maybe trading him is what it takes for Bucks fans to let that era go! In all seriousness, though, Rashad is a wonderful, goofy guy, and things just never came together for him here. Maybe it will in Brooklyn. I hope it does.
Greg: He weirdly means a lot. When I played basketball as a youngster I was the kid that only took threes and barely played defense in my six to eight minutes of game time and the rest of the time I was on the bench cracking wise. I saw a little bit of myself in Vaughn and I’m glad he was able to make some money playing basketball.
Adam: He’s taken over the JOB III sized sentimental hole in my heart for pitiful draft pick likely to accomplish nothing in his career. Which meant anything, however small, he did accomplish on the court warranted celebration. Those tiny moments make a fourth quarter blowout infinitely more entertaining.
Rachael: Rashad was arguably one of the most likable guys on the team, personality-wise. He’s hilarious, sings loudly and proudly (also badly), dances a lot, and just brings a sense of joy and fun to the team before the game and on the bench. I will fondly remember his cooking shows and impromptu concerts on Instagram live. He brought me many laughs in his time spent in Milwaukee. I’ll leave you all with this gem that I will cherish forever:
One of our coworkers, who does not watch basketball, has been watching videos of the pregame dance huddle.— Brew Hoop (@brewhoop) January 30, 2018
Based off the videos, she concluded that the star on the team was the one leading the dance circle.
We did not correct her.
Rashad Vaughn, LEADER OF THE BUCKS.