The Summer of 2011

The Bucks have made clear that, while they won’t be particularly active in the free agent market in 2010, 2011 is an opportunity for them.  Many people have asked me who they may or may not be targeting and up to this point I’ve said, “I haven’t been able to get a look at the free agents to be.”

We’ll I’ve gotten a look.

Here’s a breakdown of some free agents to be with some comments on how they might fit with the Bucks going forward.  I didn’t look  at any restricted free agents, it’s not often that they switch teams, especially the better ones.

Big Names

Carmelo Anthony (ETO) – Anthony has an early termination option and a history of playing in cold weather cities (Syracuse).  Plus, the Bucks can probably pay as well as Syracuse did too!  Denver’s aging quickly and relies on a variety of headcases around Anthony to get things done.  Coach George Karl may be interested in stepping down in the next few years after he beats cancer again and the Nuggets generally have the look of a team that has their window open for one maybe two more years.  It’s not unrealistic to think Anthony would consider leaving Denver, but it does seem unrealistic that he’d come to Milwaukee.  If New York strikes out this summer, they may be interested in Anthony in two years.

Tim Duncan (ETO) /Tony Parker – Duncan seems a surefire bet to end his career in San Antonio, and while I think Parker will end up staying there, it’s worth noting that he’ll be on the market completely unrestricted.  Parker doesn’t seem a logical fit with the Bucks though, as they’ve hitched their wagon to Brandon Jennings for the time being.

David West (ETO) – West doesn’t seem a likely candidate to terminate his contract with the expected salary crunch looming in the 2011 off-season, but he wouldn’t be a bad fit as a third or fourth option power forward for the Bucks.  He’s thrived with Chris Paul and could enjoy success with Jennings.

Zach Randolph – Randolph is having a great year this year and has apparently enjoyed a renaissance in Memphis, but he doesn’t seem like a good fit with the Bucks.  Randolph still isn’t a very good defender and has a tendency to hold the ball for extended periods of time.  He’d be turning the Bucks into a much more isolation based offense and may clash some with Bogut, though he’s doing well with Marc Gasol.


Tayshaun Prince – Prince will be 31 when 2011’s free agency rolls around and won’t offer much more than spot shooting and defense.  But he’ll offer lots of both still.  His talents age pretty well, especially given his length and knowledge of the game, so he has a shot to be productive for another four years, but anything over $5 million seems like a stretch for Prince.

Caron Butler – Butler will be 30 when next 0ff-season rolls around and has a game that could go south on us quickly.  He’s not much of a three-point shooter and is such a physical player, injuries have been a problem with him before and seem destined to creep up on him again.  The Bucks want to be thinking a little bit younger and more multi-faceted than Butler.

J.R. Smith – He’s crazy as all hell, but he’s young enough that he could still be something better than he is.  Of course, that’s what every other team that acquired Smith thought too and it’s come back to bite them all.  Denver got a few productive seasons out of him, but he’s been flaky and struggling this year.  He’ll only be 25 next off-season and is at least worth a conversation given his array of talents and interest in defense on occasion.

Is anyone excited?

I’m certainly not overwhelmed.  The Summer of 2011 sounds like a great idea, but when you look at it, there isn’t much there.  It’s cool that the Bucks will have some cap room, but I’m hoping that it’s spent wisely and judiciously.  Cap room doesn’t help if $10 million gets blown on Tayshaun Prince.  As nice as the free agent market sounds, it’s still a much wiser strategy for the Bucks to continue to focus on the draft and trades, while adding smaller veteran pieces in free agency.

Categories: The Off Season


  1. I think each of those guys would be overpaid to come to the Bucks. Although I’m not sure you will be able to overpay Carmelo in another year. We also have to keep in mind that a lot of the restricted/ETO free agents in summer 2010 become unrestricted free agents in 2011.

    Yet, I’m more excited to see if they move some of their expiring contracts in trades before the trade deadline next year. I think they could acquire much more.

  2. Interesting comments, but I think you left out the summer 2010 ETO players who will likely not exercise the rights, as those players can see the slim pickings in the summer of 2011 and would be wise to wait until 2011 before seeking a new team. Although a few teams have a silly amount of cap space available for the summer of 2010, there are also a ton of good players that are available, too. Everyone reads about LeBron and Bosh, but the ratio of available cash to desired player contracts is not that great for next summer. Expect a lot of disappointment from the B + players. The ratio is really good for the summer of 2011. I read on another site that agents are telling their B+ players to stay where they are and come out in 2011, as there will be cash to player ratio is better. Others without ETOs are being told – get the best 1 year deal you can and look for a new team and better contract in 2011. Lets be honest, the Bucks are B+ shoppers anyway. I would look for the bucks to pick up 2 or 3 players in the $3-7 million range, instead of a superstar, in 2011. It will also add 2 first round picks and 4 second round picks during this period. Think how good this team could be in 2011 if it simply maintains its core and then does that? 45 / 50 wins? If we can get there by 2011, we can’t really ask for more.

  3. Perhaps Atlanta will blow all its payroll on Joe Johnson this summer and we can outbid them on Al Horford in 2011…

  4. I know I am in the minority here, but I can’t get excited over daydreaming about players who won’t be playing here two years from now.

  5. I anticipate that Hammond will make a blockbuster trade at next years trade deadline. Every year there are teams looking to unload a big contract player to begin rebuilding. We hav two assets in Redd and Gadzuric’s expiring contracts. Hammond has already stated that signing a big name free agent will be difficult. I personally feel that is a more viable option to land top-tier talent in Milwaukee. Then again, a 50 win team may look attractive to a few free-agents consider the bucks.

  6. Speaking strictly in basketball terms, Anthony would be a wonderful fit in Milwaukee *if* the long-term status of the SG position is figured out. With Bogut down low, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute concentrating on defense/rebounding, and Jennings doing nothing but setting him up, Carmelo Anthony could have great success here. The only caveat is that we’d need a J.R. Smith-type player who’s adept at both three-point shooting and defense, with the ability to run the floor. Perhaps J.R. Smith is that J.R. Smith-type player? I sure hope not, but crazier things have happened.

    Now, the money part likely prohibits this, but a starting lineup of Bogut, Mbah a Moute, Anthony, *insert capable off-guard here*, and Jennings is a formidable squad.

  7. For the Bucks to draft the three most 1) sizeable 2) atheltic power forwards left on the board when it’s their turn to choose. Now thats exciting!

  8. I would hope they do something like they did this year: use cap space to pick up players other teams are trying to dump. Being patient on the market like that can be tricky, but it worked pretty well this year. That may be what Hammond means when he talks about financial flexibility.

    The Bucks are not likely to ever be big FA players, they will always need to develop their own stars. Simple fact of small-market existence.