Bucks,’Young Buck’ look to regroup

By Troy A. Sparks, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: May 5, 2010

MILWAUKEE (BASN) — “Young Buck” vows to make a quantum leap next season, with or without the same crew he hung with for more than eight months.

But sometimes you need new friends.

When guard Brandon Jennings wasn’t selected by the New York Knicks in last year’s NBA Draft, he brushed it off and accepted the call from the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 10.

After dropping a league-high 55 points last November against the Golden State Warriors, Jennings help put his team in the national spotlight. Then, when guard Michael Redd went down with a knee injury, Milwaukee went to the scrap heap and signed forward Jerry Stackhouse.

In need for more scoring, the Bucks traded with Chicago for guard John Salmons and two second round picks.

One of the second round picks became a first rounder because the Bulls made the playoffs.

After center Andrew Bogut broke his hand late in the season, many people thought Milwaukee would exit quickly in the playoffs. The Bucks took Atlanta to the brink of the first round of the playoffs, going seven games.

Now that Jennings tasted the playoffs for the first time in his young career in his first year, he’ll do whatever it takes over the summer to get the Bucks back to the postseason.

But that will include a makeover of the roster.

The first order of business for the Bucks is to try to re-sign Salmons, who wants to test the free agent market. Salmons has a one-year option at $5.8 million. The Bucks want Salmons back.

It’s unlikely that he will hit the jackpot, so he should take the option.

Plus, it will boost team scoring and provide insurance due to the uncertain status of Redd. Redd will likely exercise his $18 million option in his final year. Stackhouse wants to come back as well.

The status of guards Luke Ridnour and Charlie Bell are unclear.

Bell has two years on his existing contract. Bell probably severed his ties with the organization after missing a team meeting and the team bus in Atlanta for Game 7 and was benched.

He might be packaged in a trade with another teammate and one of the draft picks.

Forwards Carlos Delfino, Ersan Ilyasova, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Dan Gadzuric should be back. Kurt Thomas’ career is winding down. There’s only so much more that the old veteran body of 89 career playoff games can take.

Thomas will be 38 in early October.

Head coach Scott Skiles and general manager John Hammond work well together as a team. Owner Herb Kohl, a U.S. senator, may disagree with some of their decisions, but he doesn’t interfere with Skiles and Hammond’s efforts to put together players who want to win.

Just one more season of treading water with players who have big contracts and the Bucks can grab top-notch free agents in 2011. Well, maybe, third-tier free agents, because Milwaukee isn’t an attractive city for players.

Let’s see, the Bradley Center is the oldest arena in the NBA at 22 years old. Commissioner David Stern will consider helping the Bucks get a new arena if they sell out regular season games (they can’t).

After what Josh Smith said when the Hawks came here for three playoff road games, the approval rating for living here tanked. Since Hammond likes to take on expiring contracts, a player’s days are numbered with the organization.

The only martyr in the Milwaukee organization is Jon McGlocklin.

And he’s been with the Bucks since they joined the NBA in 1968 as a player.

“Young Buck” wants to win now.

Without a supporting cast, he’s taking the high road once his contract expires.