Rumors are flying fast and furious. Experts are confirming that the Milwaukee Bucks have been very active in trade discussions. Bloggers have been analyzing and proposing all kinds of trades and even Sheboygan citizens are coming up with sure-fire proposals to save the franchise.

But most of the discussion has been based around just two players that Milwaukee’s been linked to.

Note: Inserted thought may not accurately reflect Josh Smith’s thoughts. But, probably, right? (Photo by Scott Cunningham/NBAE via Getty Images) (Though bubble by Jeremy)

Josh Smith

The Atlanta Hawks forward is known for his athleticism, shaky decision making when it comes to shot-selection and his occasionally dominant defense. He’s a free agent at the end of this season and he’s said to be seeking a max deal, which has given many Bucks fans reason to pause when discussing the possibility of him coming to Milwaukee.

At least that’s one of the things that has Bucks fans worried about a deal for Josh Smith. Not only is he a free agent, but a few years ago he said Milwaukee was boring. Somehow, that’s been twisted by many into him having some sort of deep seeded hatred for the city. He doesn’t hate Milwaukee. He probably doesn’t really like Milwaukee, but to be honest, it’s 18 degrees out, snowy as hell and I’m not much of a fan right now either. But I live here and I work here, so I’ll continue to do so until I decide I want to do otherwise. I don’t have to love it here, I just have to go to work here.

Smith will likely react the same way if he’s traded to the Bucks. He’s not going to protest and sit out the rest of the season. Maybe he won’t be chomping at the bit to re-sign with the Bucks this off-season, but worse things can happen than not having a good but not great player sign a max deal with the team you like.

But if he doesn’t re-sign, aren’t the Bucks giving up too much to get him? No. We’re not talking about breaking up the ’96 Bulls here. The Bucks are built on expiring contracts and serviceable prospects. Even if Tobias Harris or Brandon Jennings are included (and recent rumors say the Hawks are actually interested in Monta Ellis), we’re not discussing the kinds of players that are irreplaceable or ready to blossom into superstars. Harris would be tough to swallow for a half year rental, but Smith would make the Bucks much more interesting than they are now.

JJ Redick

Surely it won’t take quite as much to get Redick as it would take to get Smith. Plus, if the Bucks weren’t capable of trading away Jennings or Ellis there’s the upside of Redick taking some of the playing time those two hoard like old shoes. The Magic are interested in dumping any bad contracts they have (Jameer Nelson, Al Harrington and possibly Arron Afflalo) and getting back young players, picks or expiring deals.

Milwaukee has some moderately attractive young players in Jennings, Harris and John Henson. How much they’d be willing to give up would probably be decided by how willing Redick was to re-signing. Unlike Smith, Redick can likely be had for a reasonable number and could play an obvious role on a very good team. Redick is not just about this season, though he’d be very helpful, and more about the next few.

 Other Names

While those two have led the way in discussions, with Milwaukee supposedly quite active in telling anyone and everyone that they are willing to move some players, some other obvious trade targets around the league have occasionally been linked to the Bucks, though more through speculation and logic:

  • Ben Gordon – The shooter from Charlotte looks like he’s doing his best to get himself booted from the team. His production has leveled off after a few years of decline and it’s pretty clear who he is at this point: A dangerous spot-up shooter. Milwaukee could use one of those. But the Bucks may not be so enthusiastic about paying $13.2 million for him next season. Of course, he’ll be an expiring contract and that’s always at least semi-attractive. If the Bucks could give up an expiring or two for Gordon and salary, he doesn’t seem like a terrible fit.
  • Eric Gordon – Yes, please. Still working his way back from a variety of knee ailments, it appears that the folks in New Orleans are all too eager to part ways with Gordon. Not unlike Bucks fans with either Ellis or Jennings. If the Bucks could part with one of their centerpieces and Gordon was willing to cooperate with the trade, Milwaukee could find a strong piece to start rebuilding around.