The Milwaukee Bucks spent some cash in the 2010 free agency and came up empty, striking out on Drew Gooden and John Salmons. Milwaukee managed to unload Salmons for Beno Udrih and also sent away Corey Maggette for Stephen Jackson. In the draft, the Bucks added Tobias Harris, a combo forward who could be a couple years away. Is there more room for adjustment for Bucks GM John Hammond, or has he gotten himself stuck?
Here's a look at the Bucks' salary cap levels over the past six seasons.
The Bucks are one of those small-market teams clinging to a dollar figure just below the luxury tax line. Given that this has occurred with the "flat luxury tax," one imagines it will continue in a couple years when the graduating tax is introduced.
Heading into free agency, the Bucks have a cap figure of $51 million with the leaguewide team salary cap set at $58 million and the luxury tax line at $70 million. Basically, the Bucks can add a player making right around the full mid-level exception. Drew Gooden is, sadly, already taken.
The Bucks' free agents are:
It's pretty clear that Redd is done in Milwaukee. Boykins is a veteran who seems more apt to hang around and sign with a contender near the postseason roster deadline than get any sort of guaranteed deal in free agency. Mbah a Moute is the real intriguing piece here. The Bucks cleared away combo wing Salmons, small forward Maggette and watched combo forward Ersan Ilyasova flee to Turkey. Jackson will have a starting role at one of the wing spots, Carlos Delfino remains a legit rotation player and Scott Skiles may want to integrate the rookie Harris quickly. But there's definitely a need for a no-frills defender like Mbah a Moute. The question is whether another team will value the Prince more than Milwaukee can afford to.
Joel Przybilla has been mentioned as a potential pick-up to play behind Andrew Bogut; Larry Sanders, a rising sophomore, is the other option in the middle. Either way, if Gooden can't perform, the Bucks desperately need a frontcourt scorer, assuming that Bogut's horrific arm injury almost two years ago has ruined his shooting stroke for eternity. (His shooting was just awful last season.) A three-guard rotation with Brandon Jennings, Jackson and Udrih is stacked (if expensive), so Hammond should have options if he needs to manuever around Gooden.
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