Salary returning for Milwaukee: $56,068,163 (Kudos to ShamSports.com for the numbers)
Salary Cap: $58-60 million
Luxury Tax Level: Between $70-75 million (Probably at least. The NBA out did their projections it sounds like, so I’d expect the luxury tax not to fall from its current amount: $69.920 million.)
Resignable Free Agents
At this point, Stackhouse and Thomas are veteran’s minimum ($1,352,181) guys and I’d say it’s no better than 50/50 that either of them will return. They played nice roles this season, but counting on them next season to contribute as much as they did this season may be a recipe for disaster. Ridnour is looking at backup point guard money, which is also known as a huge pay cut. Teams have had great success recently with younger players at the point, and while this year’s draft is not as point guard rich as last season’s, he could feel the crunch in terms of his salary. The market value for Ridnour can’t be much higher than $3 million a season.
Salmons has an extension staring him in the face that would keep him at $5.8 million this next season. He’d be wise to accept a contract that gives him four more seasons of above mid-level money, but he wouldn’t be the first player to mistakenly assume he’s worth more than he is.
If Ridnour comes back at $3 million and Salmons does the same at $5.8 million, they’ll be looking at roughly $65 million in salary, and that’s before draft picks are factored in. If Milwaukee keeps each of their three draft picks, the roster will be at 14 players (factoring in Darnell Jackson), with Royal Ivey being a possible option for the fifteenth spot.
So, free agency? I’m thinking it won’t factor heavily into Milwaukee’s plans this off-season.
But trades? Trades may once again alter the Bucks landscape. Last summer they shook things up and locked up the NBA title for San Antonio by handing them Richard Jefferson on a silver platter. What’s that? Kurt Thomas had nearly the same PER as Jefferson in the playoffs (10.0-10.9)? Oh. It’s funny how that worked out. That bold move showed that John Hammond is not afraid to make big moves over the off-season rather than stand pat and hope for development.
Who could the Bucks have some interest in this off-season (and who would I like to see them have interest in in some of the cases)?
Milwaukee flirted with Childress last off-season, but was unable to get anything done. To land Childress, Childress is still a restricted free agent and he makes roughly $7 million after taxes in Europe (over $10 million in NBA money), so the hurdles Milwaukee would need to get over to work out a deal with Childress would be significant. The Bucks would likely have to work out some kind of sign and trade with the Hawks, which can only happen if Childress does not sign an offer sheet with the Bucks. Childress was last seen in the NBA in 2007-08 and would fit the Bucks as a high percentage shooter with the ability to defend and do the little things Milwaukee loves so much.
Iguodala is signed through 2013/14 for all kinds of crazy money, over $55 million. For the suddenly rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers, that doesn’t quite add up. If they could dump him for an expiring contract and a younger player, odds are they’d love to. Michael Redd and two draft picks may get the Sixers ear as a starting point. Iggy is versatile, a good defender, athletic and capable of hitting an open three. Unfortunately, Iggy has fallen for the three in the last three years (over 300 attempts in two of the past three years while shooting roughly 30%) and hasn’t fit as a leader on a once emerging Sixers squad. He’s naturally a better fit as a supporting player and he may be thrust into too large a role on the Bucks if they weren’t able to get another star wing. His contract simply won’t allow for him to ever be a good value, something Milwaukee needs to thrive on.
John Hammond acknowledged he had interest in Landry at the trade deadline. The Kings hold the third pick in the draft, prime DeMarcus Cousins territory. Jason Thompson has three years left on his contract and Landry has one. All those signs add up to the possibility that Landry could be had. At $3 million next season, Landry is a very valuable player and an expiring contract. He’s not someone who eats the ball, but he is someone who can score efficiently. He’s precisely the kind of player who would fit in Milwaukee at the power forward spot.
In each of the next three seasons, Bass will make $4 million and likely sit behind Dwight Howard, Marcin Gortat (if he’s kept), Rashard Lewis and Ryan Anderson. If Orlando wins the title this season, they may be interested in shedding just enough payroll to stay under the luxury tax, but no one of enough value to knock them from the league’s elite. Per 36 minutes this past season, Bass averaged 16 points while shooting over 50% from the field, grabbed 7.1 rebounds and blocked 1.5 shots. His numbers suggest he could be more productive, past his allotted salary even, if given more minutes. Perhaps a combination of second round picks and lesser salaries could balance and get Bass in Milwaukee. I’d love to see Bass in a Bucks uniform.