Title: Jefferson Traded to Bucks
Date: June 26, 2008
Original Source: The On Deck Circle
Synopsis: Richard Jefferson once mattered and earned his ludicrous salary, so at the time this trade was a big deal. This was actually the first “clear cap space” move the Nets made in what has turned into a 4-year shuffling of deck chairs for the franchise.
Richard Jefferson has reportedly been dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks. All I can really say is: wow. The deal, just announced at 3PM today, will send Yi Jianlin and Bobby Simmons.
While I’m surprised there are no picks going New Jerseys’ way, the deal crates $10M in long-term savings and gives them even greater cap flexibility over the next two summers as they prepare for the LeBron James sweepstakes.
The Bucks get Jefferson, a top-25 player in the league, is a multi-dimensional offensive tool with high character and a reasonable maximum contract. That makes him exactly the type of player the Bucks were looking for as they seek to establish an inside-outside identity around Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut. Jefferson should fit in nicely on Milwaukee and could even be a nice mentor for the very similar Charlie Villaneuva. He won’t make them an instant contender, but he fits in with new coach Scott Skiles and should, at the very least, push them to an 8-seed.
For New Jersey, they get Bobby Simmons’ ridiculous contract, which has 2 years at over $20M remaining on it. Still, that’s a valuable contract or trading piece heading into LeBron Summer, and Simmons is still good enough that his roster spot is not a total write off. There’s a chance he could be parlayed later in the year for a shorter or more affordable contract. Simmons was a good player on the cusp of being a star in 2004-05 and 2005-06, but injury troubles have set him astray since then. He’s still just 28 and is a dangerous scoring threat – obviously, he’ll be the key to how this deal is looked upon at season’s end.
The Nets also pick up Yi Jianlin, last year’s 6th overall pick. The Bucks drafted him despite his protests, and now look the fool, trading him after just one season. The Chairman wasn’t as bad as I thought he would be, posting a rookie line of 8.6-5.2-0.8 with 0.55 steals and 0.88 blocks, but he showed a great deal of immaturity and a lack of polish throughout the season. He is a player that could develop into a great third-option down the line, and if that’s the case he would be an attractive piece alongside LeBron or any other major free agent in 2010. Yi is also very affordable through 2012 on his rookie deal, making the finances of the trade work but saving New Jersey long-term money.
This is a deal that I like for both sides, once again – while the Nets get remarkably worse on the floor, it sends a clear signal that they’re ready to start rebuilding around Devin Harris and it shows that they are, indeed, preparing for a spending spree in two summers’ time. For the Bucks, they get significantly better and now look like a playoff team in the East.
The teams probably aren’t done adjusting their rosters, as Milwaukee owns the 8th overall pick and New Jersey owns the 10th and 21st. Just a note that because this trade is not 100% confirmed yet, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the teams also swap the 8th for the 10th.