Normally I try and avoid these unrealistic, complex and hackneyed hypotheticals. I find that living in the “what could be” prevents me from enjoying living in the “what is.”
In terms of the Bucks, the “what is” is shaping up to be a pretty enjoyable 2010-11 season. But what if it could be more. What if it could really be something special? What if one move could get Milwaukee that much closer to a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals or even, dare I say, a chance to compete with Miami?
I can’t help myself, so I’ll indulge this one time.
As a one season rental, isn’t there a pretty compelling case to be made for Carmelo Anthony to the Milwaukee Bucks?
Even when indulging in an exercise like this, I’m still somewhat grounded in reality, so I’m not saying Anthony could ever want to stay in Milwaukee for more than a season. Not when New York is flaunting its wears so prominently. Not when Chris Paul toys with the idea of joining ‘Melo there on their own super team. Free agency has never been Milwaukee’s game any way. But the trade market has often been good to the Bucks.
Realistically, the Bucks can make a compelling offer to Denver. Milwaukee is loaded with young talent and has the ultimate facilitator in these situations, a guy whose new last name is Expiring Contract in Michael Redd. Package Redd with Ersan Ilyasova, Chris Douglas-Roberts and a first round pick and that’s a good start. Maybe swap Ilyasova for Larry Sanders or find a way to get Luc Richard Mbah a Moute involved and we might have legit intrigue from Camp Denver. Assets shouldn’t be the issue if Denver decides to part ways with Anthony. The bigger question would be whether the potential gains that come with acquiring Anthony for what would likely be one season outweigh the cost.
The Bucks are more or less locked in for the next four years at every position but the three. And while they have a number of options at small forward, none of them are the package, namely the scorer, Anthony is.
Those free throw problems the Bucks had last season are right now in the hands of Corey Maggette, but wouldn’t everyone feel a lot better if Anthony was the one taking care of them? His smooth jumper and winning pedigree would ease many of the concerns people have about Maggette’s fit. While Anthony demands the ball, his awareness and feel for the game is superior to Maggette’s. He just fits on the court in a five-on-five setting better Maggette’s own efficiency numbers are impeccable, but it can come at the price of team efficiency. Anthony doesn’t have that cost.
The infusion of Anthony would allow Maggette to thrive as a role player and make the Bucks starting five down right formidable, while leaving the Bucks with no more questions defensively than they have now.
And Anthony can slide right into Michael Redd’s salary slot to leave the Bucks financially no worse for the wear.
But would Anthony disrupt chemistry? On the court, he’s no more a risk to the team than Maggette. In the locker room he’s likely a much more commanding presence than the Bucks have had to deal with in some time, but Milwaukee seems to have a group that’s all on the same page as their coach. That goes a long way towards harmony regardless of who is coming in and out. So long as a coach has his guys on his page, whether they are all best friends or not, they should work well together. And when a team’s two most established stars, in this case Andrew Bogut and Brandon Jennings, are buying what the organization is selling, that goes a long way.
It’s all too perfect. But fairy tales usually are. The thought of Carmelo Anthony coming to Milwaukee during a Bucks playoff run is as crazy as a Cy Young winner joining the Brewers during a playoff push.
I guess sometimes, fairy tales do come true.
Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball.com