With the NBA trade deadline rapidly approaching, teams are weighing their options as rumors, per usual, swirl endlessly. Almost every rumor out there is centered on whether Dwight Howard will remain in Orlando beyond the deadline, which he has stated is his wish, or if he will be traded now so that the Magic can get something in return for their franchise player before he bolts in free agency this summer. Of course, Howard is not the only player that is on the trade block, Atlanta’s Josh Smith has requested to be traded, Carmelo Anthony‘s future in New York is blurred since his return to health and the recent skid the Knicks have been on. The likelihood of the Knicks moving Anthony is highly unlikely after what they gave up to acquire him, though. Paul Gasol is also a name that is currently in everyone’s mouth. Those are just some of the more well known players that have rampant speculation surrounding their every move. At this point, the only official trade that has occurred is between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Golden State Warriors.
Golden State has been looking to make a trade since last summer when Joe Lacob and his associates took over and had been in the thick of the speculation surrounding Howard. Now, however, they have traded Monta Ellis, Ekpe Udoh, and Kwame Brown to the Bucks in exchange for Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson. This move effectively removes Golden State from the race for Howard while also giving the team the a quality player in a position it has coveted.
Bogut, though, has been out for much of the season with a fractured left ankle and could potentially miss the remainder of the season as the initial timetable for his return was eight to ten weeks. He sustained the injury on January 25.
His career has been marred with injuries so his acquisition is therefore a risky one. However, Bogut’s presence in the middle, even if it is limited should be a great help to a team that has lacked interior scoring and defense for quite some time.
Any deal that Milwaukee was involved in was going to include Jackson. He fell out of favor with head coach Scott Skiles and was relegated to a bench role which the team reported was to let him recover from a hamstring injury. Statistically, this has been Jackson’s worst season since his sophomore effort. Combine that with his temperament and it is easy to understand why the Bucks were adamant about moving him.
Ellis playing in Milwaukee presents an interesting, if not all too unfamiliar, situation to the one in which played in with the Warriors. With Golden State, Ellis was paired in the backcourt with Stephen Curry. In Milwaukee he will be paired with Brandon Jennings. Ellis and Jennings are actually very similar players. Both have good ball handling skills which allows them to break down defenses but are more prone to take low percentage shots and shoot the ball inefficiently. At present, it is uncertain how they with mesh together on the floor. Ellis is the better pure scorer of the two and should help the sometimes anemic offense that befalls the Bucks but his average could dip.
Acquiring Ellis also begets the question: Are the Bucks planning to trade Jennings? What is the point of starting two similar players in the backcourt? There have been no rumors as yet to Jennings’ future with the team but a trade has to be an option that is now on the table.
As for the other two pieces, Udoh and Brown, it is Udoh with the most upside, and conversely, the most room to fail. Where Udoh fits into Milwaukee’s system will be important to his development. He will likely alternate between the center and power forward slots (those terms seem dated at this point) spelling Drew Gooden, Ersan Ilyasova, and sitting just above Jon Leuer in the rotation. This should effectively give him the minutes he needs but be most be productive. In his six starts with Golden State this season, Udoh has been just that averaging 12 points, 5.5 rebounds, and two blocks. He will not be getting starting minutes in Milwaukee but the sings of promise are there.