As was thought to be the case, Bucks’ GM John Hammond wasted no time trading guard Mo Williams, who was rumored to be on the move before the draft, as part of a six-player deal earlier today. Williams, the centerpiece of the three-team swap, will head to the Cavaliers and team up with LeBron James, itching for a secondary scorer, while Damon Jones will be headed back to the Milwaukee along with Luke Ridnour and Adrian Griffin. Joe Smith and Desmond Mason will head to Oklahoma City (formerly Seattle). Further details here. And ESPN’s John Hollinger’s analysis here.
At first glance, the return value does not appear to be anything spectacular if you’re a Bucks fan, considering Williams averaged over 17 points a game last year. But the fact is, Mo’s value was not as high as many (including myself) anticipated it would be, and this trade reiterates just how much the Bucks’ organization thought of him, that being, not much. Perhaps the best part about this deal was dumping his horrible contract (he resigned last season for 6 years, $52 million) and also acquiring two more expiring contacts in Griffin and Jones. No, they didn’t get adequate compensation, however, Skiles is determined to bring a more defensive-oriented mindset to this team, and Williams was not by any means a juggernaut when it came to opposing his man. And even though Ridnour, Griffin and Jones aren’t either, they have a history of being good locker-room guys (something Williams was not) and the potential to be role players.
I have no problems whatsoever with the ridding of Williams. The part of the deal that upsets me and unevens the trade is parting ways with Desmond Mason for the second time in three years. Remember he was shipped off to New Orleans in ’05 for bust Jamaal Magloire? In his time in Wisconsin, Mason was nothing short of a consummate professional, and a genuine basketball fan can not help but feel for this guy. I wish him the best back home in Oklahoma.
Now here’s a look at the Bucks’ up-to-date projected depth chart:
PG: Ramon Sessions- Luke Ridnour- Tyron Lue
SG: Michael Redd- Charlie Bell- Damon Jones
SF: Richard Jefferson- Joe Alexander- Adrian Griffin
PF: Charlie Villanueva- Luc Mbah a Moute- Malik Allen
C: Andrew Bogut- Francisco Elson– Dan Gadzuric
* Elson has now officially signed according to JS Online.
I give Sessions a slight leg up on Ridnour for now because he has better familiarity with the team. He should be given every opportunity to run the show, however a time share between the two is possible barring another move. You may think I’m crazy for saying this, but I’m still not convinced Hammond is done. There are essentially five guys who can play point if you include Bell and Jones (remember Jones played point quite a bit in his last stint in Milwaukee). There is still reshaping that needs to take place as bench depth is putrid. The next man potentially on his way out via trade? Charlie Villanueva.
UPDATE: Courtesy of Wisconsin Journal Times’ friend Gery Woelfel, Hammond intends to start Ridnour. Hammond was on Milwaukee’s sports radio 1250 WSSP this morning discussing the trade. He seemed happy with the current mix of players but left the door open for more movement if the right deal presents itself.