A year ago, Bucks general manager John Hammond won Executive of the Year because he made several bargain-basement signings that propelled the Bucks into the playoffs. It was a brilliant strategy that more general managers really should emulate.
That was last year, though. This summer, Hammond and the Bucks have made a number of curious decisions that make you wonder whether they learned anything from their previous success. First, they traded for Corey Maggette, who is overpaid and has a long-term contract that could hamstring the small-market Bucks. Now, they've apparently wasted no time in signing Drew Gooden to a five-year, $32 million contract.
Via Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski:
Gooden has played for eight teams in eight seasons, and hopes to find some stability with the fast-rising Bucks.
This is a staggering commitment to a player that has never proven to be reliable in his NBA career. Gooden, as mentioned above, has played for eight teams in eight years, confounding everyone with his lack of concentration, his defensive issues and more. It's debatable whether Gooden is worth half of what the Bucks gave him. Throw in the five-year commitment, a killer for a small-market team, and the impatience in doing this on the first day of free agency, and you have to wonder what Hammond was thinking.
Making matters worse, the Bucks are also progressing on a long-term contract for John Salmons. Salmons makes sense if the Bucks hadn't traded for Maggette, but with Maggette in town, he's superfluous. At the end of the day, the Bucks are spending too much money on supporting players and are going away from what made them so successful last season.
For more, check out SB Nation's Bucks blog Brew Hoop.