What has gotten into John Hammond? When did he become so suave and smooth? He’s out here like Joe Dumars of three years ago (minus Darko). There are now reports that he has swapped the expected to be cut Fabricio Oberto for Detroit’s Amir Johnson!
If you’re not familiar with Johnson’s work, and I’m sure most people aren’t, he’s a shot blocking, rebounding, fouling machine. The 22-year-old semi-veteran had a subpar year last year, but that may have been a product of his minutes being jerked around by new coach Mike Curry. Before last season he had PER’s of 17 and above in every year of his four year career. He’s very much an “upside” guy. The best bet would be that he’ll cut back on his fouls and flash his rebounding shot blocking talent with consistent minutes.
He immediately becomes the best big man athlete the Bucks have had since. . .probably ever. If he’s able to handle consistent minutes on the court he could be a terrific eraser on defense. He’s the best shotblocker on the team and can make up for a whole lot of mistakes, if he’s not saddled with foul trouble. He’ll never be a very polished offensive player, but hopefully he’ll be able to dirty work with the best of them.
To get a guy as talented as Johnson for a player they were going to cut anyway is terrific. Best of all, Johnson is incredibly affordable. He has one year left on his deal at 3.67 million. If the Bucks like what they see, they have a young building block. If they don’t, it cost them nothing.
The only thing that might be constituted as any sort of downside to this trade is that it wipes out the savings the Buck would have gained by cutting the partially guaranteed contract of Oberto. As it stands they lose around 1.8 million dollars on this deal. Considering the little breathing room they’d have if they wanted to keep Charlie V. and Ramon Sessions, that may come into play.
But it looks like Hammond might just be getting started with his wheeling and dealing. Johnson and Bowen should both be valuable assets in the coming month or two. As noted at Brewhoop, Bowen’s deal does not guarantee until August 1. Hammond may be in the process of gathering as many chips as he can.
There is a delightful Amir Highlight Mix here.