yardbarker
RealGM Basketball

Milwaukee Bucks BlogMilwaukee Bucks Blog

The Eastern Conference At The Deadline

Thursday at the NBA trade deadline, we saw a total of 26 players, seven second round draft picks, and zero blockbuster trades. On Friday, we covered how the 10 players that ended up on West teams will shape the playoff race, and now we are looking at the 16 that were sent to the D-League…whoops, I meant the Eastern Conference.

While the Western teams made a few smart, calculated trades to improve depth (Steve Blake to the Warriors) and cut costs (possible buyout for Jason Terry from the Kings), the East had the biggest deals of the deadline. The East deals included the only two All-Stars dealt (Antawn Jamison and Danny Granger), the two best players (Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes), and the smartest player (Professor Andre Miller, PhD).

The Brooklyn Nets traded their disappointing – but playoff tested – guard, Jason Terry, for the Sacramento Kings' disappointing – and never played in a playoff game – guard, Marcus Thorton. Thorton, who once averaged 21.3 points per game, is a solid sixth man and capable of scoring in bunches when needed though he has struggled badly this season. He will likely provide relief for Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson down the stretch of the season. However, adding his extra $730,000 in salary means paying a ridiculous $3.3 million in tax, bringing their total to over $88 million on taxes alone…for a team that won’t get out of the first round.

The Cleveland Cavaliers traded for 76ers' center, Spencer Hawes. He will likely anchor their team right to where they were destined to be before they traded for him…the lottery. Hawes is a talented 7-footer who leads all centers in three-pointers made and percentage, is an elite passer for his position, a good scorer and rebounder, and a capable body on defense when he cares. Forced to play on a hapless Philadelphia team, Hawes had no reason to try over the past few months, but as he heads into free agency this offseason, expect his production to go back up for the Cavs. Despite the addition of Hawes and recently acquired Luol Deng, this team is unfortunately still coached by Mike Brown, suggesting they are likely doomed to miss the playoffs and then ultimately lose Hawes and Deng to free agency for nothing.

Professor Andre Miller, PhD left his classroom for winter break on December 30th and has been M.I.A. ever since. However, after being traded to the Washington Wizards, you can rest assured Professor Miller will be making a teaching once again. Miller, who was restless under indecisive rookie head coach Brian Shaw will be a capable backup behind John Wall, likely helping lead this Wizards team to homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Charlotte Bobcats made a good deal at the trade deadline. Say it with me: “The Bobcats did something right.” They traded valuable but redundant point guard, Ramon Sessions to the Milwaukee Bucks along with Jeff Adrian for Luke Ridnour and Gary Neal. Ridnour is a terrific backup point guard who can play behind or with Kemba Walker, while Neal is an outstanding shooter who won an NBA Finals game last season by scoring 24 points in 25 minutes!

In the only move that might affect the NBA Finals this season, the Pacers trading former All-Star forward, Danny Granger to the 76ers for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen. Turner is a do-it-all forward who has fallen out of favor league-wide because he has failed to live up to the hype of a second overall pick. Turner should play with the first unit as well as anchor the second for the Pacers. His ball handling will allow George Hill, Paul George and CJ Watson to get free and take uncontested shots while giving them insurance –albeit expensive at an $8.7 million qualifying offer or whatever long-term offer he receives – in case Lance Stephenson leaves in free agency. Additionally, Allen started in the playoffs only two seasons ago and is a capable big man off the bench. Most importantly, Larry “The Legend” Bird signed off on this trade, thus, it must be great.

The last set of trades involved the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers and the Atlanta Hawks. Each team gave up players that weren’t part of their future and received cash, second round draft picks, and laundry service for a year in exchange for helping another team out. The Heat traded Roger Mason Jr. and cash for a pick they will likely never see in order to open a roster spot for Caron Butler (Tuff Juice wants to go home!). The 76ers, who were involved in a league-high four deals during the trade deadline ended up with five second round draft picks and five players that won’t be buying property in Philadelphia. Finally, the Hawks acquired Antawn Jamison from the Clippers and enough cash to take him out to a nice dinner before buying out his contract.

Compared to the four West teams that made a deadline deal, eight of the top ten Eastern franchises made a deal with only Chicago and Detroit remaining inactive. Whether this reflects the fragility of the Eastern Conference standings (5th place through 11th is separated by just 5.5 games), or the strength of the mighty teams in the West (3rd place in the East would be 10th in the West) is anyone’s guess. With that said, all these moves outside of Indiana and Miami are moot because none of them are making the Eastern Conference Finals.

Indiana Pacers Vs. Miami Heat, Round III starts May 20th – Get ready, America!

Nate Wolters Continuing Unheralded Ascent

Nate Wolters was minutes into being drafted into the NBA in June, and the franchise that selected him with the No. 38 pick – the Washington Wizards – had already traded him to the Philadelphia 76ers. For 15 minutes on draft night, Wolters believed this would be his new team, that he’d report to the Philadelphia organization within the next few days.

“I thought I was going to Philadelphia, and my agent texted me, so I never thought I was going to Washington,” Wolters told RealGM. “It was kind of surreal when I think about it.”

Palpable relief and enjoyment filled Wolters, and he learned soon that it took a second trade to place him in a strong circumstance. Less than a half-hour later that night, John Hammond and the Milwaukee Bucks’ front office pulled off a deal to acquire Wolters.

“I’m happy I’m here,” Wolters said. “It’s definitely a pretty good situation.”

As it turns out, the Bucks executed a shrewd move in dealing for Wolters, and the 22-year-old has the look of a steady, reliable point guard long into his NBA life. He doesn’t lean on his athleticism, but rather his elusive craftiness and smart decision-making, especially as a cautious passer early in his career.

Four years at South Dakota State crafted Wolters into a confident ball handler, and he concedes he’s continuing to surprise people. He’s put up a staggering 34 assists to five turnovers through six games as a pro, a first-year player’s model of a nearly perfect quarterback rating. His coach, Larry Drew, and veterans have been enamored by his work ethic, his wise approach already. As Drew says, “Nate’s a gamer.”

Yes, injuries to Luke Ridnour and Brandon Knight have allowed Wolters to take a larger role than he imagined this rapidly, but he’s limited a category – turnovers – that most rookie point guards pile up.

“I’m taking care of the ball pretty well, but I’m also being careful trying not to make mistakes,” Wolters said. “It’s a really small sample size, so we’ll see how it goes moving forward. We’ve got a lot of good players too. I’m learning what I can do, what I can’t do.”

Growing up in Minnesota, Wolters had been fond of Steve Nash and carefully watched his calculating approach, and he laughs when someone mentions that he could emulate his game after the two-time MVP. Even so, Wolters has layers of the court vision that Nash perfected and he still tunes into games Nash plays with the Los Angeles Lakers.

“When Nash is on, he’s one of my favorite players to watch,” Wolters said.

Wolters made his NBA debut at Madison Square Garden and remembers an early sequence when he crossed over his defender, drove to the rim, and was met by Tyson Chandler who bothered his shot release. He quickly learned: This isn’t college basketball anymore. These are physical big men lurking for him.

“When you get in the lane, it’s not 6-7, 6-8 guys, like in college. It’s seven-footers,” Wolters said. “I have to be a little more crafty, and it’s a harder finish, a lot harder to get shots off in the lane. Those lessons and this opportunity will definitely help as my career goes forward. There’s a lot to learn still, but each game I feel I’m getting more comfortable.”

From an under the radar collegiate career at South Dakota State University to the second round of the NBA draft, the first trade, then another, was so surreal for him. Fifteen minutes after the 76ers landed him from the Wizards, the Milwaukee Bucks pushed to acquire Nate Wolters, and they brought a guard hardened out of the Midwest a little closer to home. 

30 Rapid-Fire Questions For Each Team's Front Office

The following 30 questions are the biggest issues facing each NBA front office as the 13-14 regular season begins.

Eastern Conference 

Atlanta Hawks: Are the Hawks going to try to bottom out and if not, what is their plan for the future?

Boston Celtics: What’s going to happen with Rajon Rondo's return from a torn ACL and how will the Celtics' front office go about their rebuilding process?

Brooklyn Nets: How will Jason Kidd lead a veteran roster filled with players he competed against for the last 15-20 years?

Charlotte Bobcats: Are Kemba Walker, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Cody Zeller legitimate young players to build around?

Chicago Bulls: Do the Bulls need another source of offense to prevent defenses from dialing in on Derrick Rose?

Cleveland Cavaliers: Who will emerge as Kyrie Irving’s sidekick if Andrew Bynum doesn’t return to full health?

Detroit Pistons: Will the Pistons be able to manage a functional offense with three non-shooting big men?

Indiana Pacers: How will the Pacers divide playing time between Danny Granger and Lance Stephenson, and who will be more effective with the starting group?

Miami Heat: Will Shane Battier and Ray Allen be able to remain productive as the key three-point threats in the Heat offense?

Milwaukee Bucks: Can the Bucks trade some of their young promising players for an All-Star?

New York Knicks: Will Andrea Bargnani provide another element to an offense that became stagnant in the postseason?

Orlando Magic: Will the Magic be active in trying to trade some of its young pieces, or will they be patient and hope for another high lottery pick?

Philadelphia 76ers: To what lengths will the 76ers go to make sure they have the worst record in the league?

Toronto Raptors: When will the Raptors trade Rudy Gay and what will they get in return?

Washington Wizards: Do the Wizards need to add a frontcourt offensive threat in order to score consistently?

Western Conference

Dallas Mavericks: If it becomes clear that the Mavericks aren’t going to be a contender, what will they do about Dirk Nowitzki?

Denver Nuggets: What will the Nuggets do about the highly paid trio of Ty Lawson, Danilo Gallinari and JaVale McGee if they do not make the playoffs?

Golden State Warriors: Will Andre Iguodala hurt the Warriors’ three-point attack that was so vital to their success in the postseason?

Houston Rockets: Will the Rockets keep Omer Asik and have the best backup center in the league while experimenting with coexisting with Dwight Howard, or will they trade him to bolster their rotation elsewhere?

Los Angeles Clippers: Do the Clippers need to make a move for an effective third big man in order to become a legitimate contender?

Los Angeles Lakers: How angry will Kobe Bryant be if the Lakers find themselves on the verge of missing the playoffs?

Memphis Grizzlies: How will the Grizzlies maintain a good balance between shooting and perimeter defense at their wing positions?

Minnesota Timberwolves: Will Derrick Williams have an opportunity to live up to his potential as a former second overall pick despite not being an offensive priority?

New Orleans Pelicans: How will Jrue Holiday, Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon mesh in the backcourt?

Oklahoma City Thunder: Who will emerge as the new third scoring option behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook?

Phoenix Suns: Is Eric Bledsoe capable of being the Suns’ point guard of the future?

Portland Trail Blazers: If the Trail Blazers struggle, will LaMarcus Aldridge’s name reemerge in trade rumors again?

Sacramento Kings: Is DeMarcus Cousins good enough for the Kings to put up with his immaturity?

San Antonio Spurs: Will Tiago Splitter develop enough to become a factor on both ends in the playoffs?

Utah Jazz: Will Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter work together in the frontcourt?

Stephen Graham Hoping To Settle With NBA Team After Playing Overseas

As a career journeyman with seven teams, Stephen Graham had earned three multi-year contracts, but the NBA’s lockout in 2011 prevented him from working out for organizations in the summer and he eventually landed in the D-League and overseas.

30-Team Offseason Rundown

Great drafts for the Rockets, 76ers, Nets, Warriors, Hawks and Grizzlies headline this complete rundown of the 2013 offseason.

Grading The Deal: Clippers Trade In Bledsoe For Better Roster Balance

The Clippers have long been waiting to trade in their biggest asset in Eric Bledsoe to improve the construction of their roster and found it in the form of J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley.

2013 NBA Offseason Primer

With the 2013 NBA offseason underway, here is a primer on what all 30 teams are facing.

Leroux's 2013 NBA Draft Review

Breaking down all 30 teams by category of how they fared in the often surprising, never disappointing 2013 NBA Draft.

2013 NBA Amnesty Primer

One fun component of the Amnesty rule is that we know exactly which players are eligible for it and that number can only decrease over time since the players had to have been under contract with the same team before the new CBA.

Brandon Jennings Vows Free Agent Strategy After Slumping Out Of Playoffs, But 'I'd Be Cool Coming Back Here'

The Bucks' offseason all revolves around Brandon Jennings, and he’s already made clear he wants to win and the Bucks would be inclined to add veterans and try to pile up picks for next year’s draft.

Bucks Struggling Ahead Of Heat Series

The Bucks are are expected to put up a fight against the Heat, with enough talented pieces to be a dangerous team with nothing to lose. But they are finishing the regular season looking far more like a lottery team.

Given Minutes In Orlando, Tobias Harris Is Thriving

Tobias Harris has gone from benchwarmer to trade throw-in and now he's widely seen as nice young piece with a lot of upside for the Magic. Needless to say he appreciates his new role.

Larry Sanders Explains Breakout Season

In this third NBA season, Larry Sanders has emerged as one of the league's most impactful young centers. After seeing inconsistent playing time under the now-departed Scott Skiles, Sanders is thriving with consistent minutes under Jim Boylan.

How Many Players Teams Acquire At Each Trade Deadline On Average

The Kings, Knicks, Rockets, Thunder and Cavaliers have been the most active teams at the deadline over the past decade, while the Spurs, Pistons, Heat, Lakers and Pacers have made the fewest deals.

Injured Brandon Jennings Concedes Bulls’ Edge On His Homecourt

Brandon Jennings set a serious tone from the tip and played an excellent game Saturday, going for 23 points, seven assists and five steals, carrying the offense with Monta Ellis missing 10-of-17 shots and Ersan Ilyasova again disappearing.

Drew Gooden Deems Mike Brown’s Firing Unfair

Drew Gooden played under Mike Brown with the Cavaliers and was surprised the Lakers suddenly changed direction since his system takes time to master.

Marquis Daniels Cites Media For Exaggerating Rondo-Allen Feud

Marquis Daniels has a strong understanding of how the Celtics’ locker room had operated over the past three seasons, and he admits Rondo and Allen had their differences at times. But he was adamant that it has been the media that’s led to the war of words escalating between both Celtics players and Allen.

Leroux's 2012-13 NBA Tier Predcitions

While the drop-off from the Heat to the rest of the Eastern Conference is severe, the Lakers, Spurs and Thunder have quick company in the second and third tiers.

Monta Ellis Focused On Elevating Bucks, Not Individual Accolades

Heading into an eighth NBA season, the frustration within Monta Ellis has subsided. He has mesmerized people around the league with big scoring outputs and uncanny athletic finishing at the rim, and yet the most prestigious individual awards haven’t followed.

Leroux's 30-Team Offseason Review

The Nuggets, Lakers, Heat, 76ers and Nets were amongst the teams with great offseasons, while the Bucks, Magic, Suns, Knicks, Cavaliers and Bulls were in the bad column. Here's how all 30 teams have fared in the 2012 offseason.

Older Blog Posts »

 

Basketball Wiretap Headlines

    NBA Wiretap Headlines

      NCAA Wiretap Headlines

        MLB Wiretap Headlines

          NFL Wiretap Headlines

            NHL Wiretap Headlines

              Soccer Wiretap Headlines