No Allen, Budinger, Redick, Dunleavy or Smith? Let the Accidental Tank commence!

The free agents, they aren't exactly flocking to Milwaukee so far this off season. (NBAE via Getty Images)
The free agents, they aren’t exactly flocking to Milwaukee so far this off season. (NBAE via Getty Images)

There is no indication that the Milwaukee Bucks had at any point since this off season began made a conscious decision to tank in 2013-14. It’s not the team’s way. Milwaukee wants to be competitive. Wants to make the playoffs and wants to get better every season. The lure of the 2014 draft class is so strong that plenty of teams across the league had made their intentions very clear and started tanking preparations week ago while the Bucks were still strategizing on how to remain a playoff team.

But since July 1, one interesting thing after the next has happened and Bucks fans find themselves witnessing something of a miracle: The Accidental Tank. We know about tanking, and most know about “stealth tanking” (A team making moves that seem solid but but are going to hurt more than help. A close cousin to Accidental Tanking.), but the Bucks are quickly finding that as much as they want to be a good competitive team, players in the NBA don’t really care about those plans.

It’s as if the entire league got together and decided someone had to do what’s best for the Bucks and if it wasn’t going to be the team itself, the players would have a heart big enough to do it for them. Player after player has been pursued by the Bucks this off season and, without fail, each player has decided he’d rather ply his trade elsewhere.

 

 

So things are going pretty smooth through two full days of free agency.

And I haven’t even mentioned the departures of Mike Dunleavy and J.J. Redick. So we can be certain the Bucks are 0-for-4 and we can assume they’ll be 0-for-5 when it comes to J.R. Smith, no matter how aggressively they pursue him.

A team can want to be good or great or very competitive as much as possible, but a team can’t be good if no players will play for that team. That’s the problem Milwaukee is running into right now. After assembling a roster full of expiring contracts and accumulating enough cap space to make a large market drool, the Bucks have found that all the money in the world isn’t always the most important incentive.

I recall John Hammond once saying something to the effective of what mattered most when signing a potential free agent was having a competitive salary offer, then giving them a chance to win and finally the location. Well, the Bucks can currently provide one of those three things and free agents are not biting.

So, for now, we can hope the season of the Accidental Tank will roll on as (un)planned. Of course, these are dangerous times and one or two missteps could screw everything up for all of us. A max contract for Josh Smith would be the kind of spirit crushing blow the Bucks typically deliver at moments like this. Or a near max contract for Brandon Jennings. A renewed interest from both sides in the Monta Ellis, Bucks pursuit. This field is not without its landmines.

Thus far, the Bucks have tried jumping on a few, but have been lucky enough to find nothing but dead spots. We have seven days of jumping left. Hold tight and hope for the best.

Categories: The Off Season

Jeremy Schmidt writes the Milwaukee Bucks blog Bucksketball. He founded it in…

28 Comments

  1. Please no to JR Smith, Josh Smith, and most of all to Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings at their prices (no one is bidding against us). The “accidental tank” is underway and the Bucks need to realize it. Pick up some mid-level options for low dollars and two years maximum. Devin Harris, Xavier Henry, Marco Bellinelli and others fit the mold. Henry is intriguing as he has talent cut hasn’t had huge opportunities — like Tobias Harris. May get lucky there. Otherwise trade for guys like Greivus Vasquez, Evan Turner, or even a Luke Ridnour. Of the better free agents, I would be only interested in Jeff Teague (so we can move on from our current no defense undersized duo), or Paul Millsap or Al Jefferson (then trade Ersan for a small forward like Evan Turner).

  2. I think they made a mistake by no pursuing Kevin Martin harder. He went to Minnesota for relatively cheap, and Minnesota is not a better place to play basketball.

    • Two words: Ricky Rubio. Kevin Kartin said he was happy to play with a pass first point guard

      • you got that right. i’d rather play with rubio too if i was a shooting guard. not like jennings wouldve given martin a whole lot of shots if he choose MIL

    • K Mart is garbage, cant play D to save his life and is useful as a 6th man only, The bucks need to worry about rounding out a starting 5 before they worry about a over paid bench guy.

    • korver wont go to the Nets because he said he wants the money. well, sounds like MIL is willing to overspend (3 yrs @ 20 million) to get him. i think he will be on his way. great shooter and decent defender…but is 32 yrs old aready and odds are he won’t produce the way he did this past season, where he had his best season of his career

  3. Potential record breaking year for the Bucks! Isn’t desperation ugly? Come play for us, please! We don’t care who you are or what you’ve done… Just come take our money. Pathetic. Show some pride John! Teams with money and vision sign the top players. You have money, but no vision, and so you’re unable to paint the picture for these guys. It’s not their fault…. It’s your fault. And just think… We get 2 more years of this thanks to Hammond’s extension.

    Just curious, what’s the lowest single game attendance for a Bucks home game in team history? I’m gonna officially declare that number in jeopardy!

    • Not Hammond, it’s Kohl. I guarantee it. I think Hammond wants to rebuild but can’t

  4. And why are the Bucks trying to get all of the Hawks players? The hawks even with all of their players was a 6th seed. Some of the players on the bucks team will only produce a 8th seed at best. Give up already and just tank, my goodness. Why kill any last hope we have. I think another mediocre year with no direction will kill me, and i will stop following the team for good

  5. happyfeethustle

    Dont you DARE tank it BUCKS…. have some respect for the franchise. You wonder why no one will come here, nooooo real direction! Sign someone worth having. Put your decent pieces around that player, WORK
    HARD to win-thats what professional athletes are REQUIRED to do…right?

    Tanking guarantees NOTHING, it could have a devastating outcome.
    I just cant endorse intentionally losing-someone out there feels the same as I do, Im sure of it!!!

    • Have you been watching what the Bucks have been putting out the last 20 years? the 2014 draft is the closest thing we could come to getting a super star. Hard work doesn’t guarantee anything either if you don’t have the skill to back it up

    • and you think by signing middling pieces we with get to relevancy? We have lost more fans by doing it Kohls and your way. Try and a different strategy for once

    • Who are we going to sign that is worth something? Really. If there is a player out there worth building around who has any interest in playing for the directionless Bucks, let us know.

      Now, when you admit that’s impossible, the only other place to find that superstar is the draft. Finding superstars when you’re drafting 14/15 every season can take decades. I’m sick of waiting. Our best hope is a high pick in the 2014 draft, so if we need to tank to get there, tank away.

    • To happyfeethustle: I also hate the idea of the Intentional Tank, but am intrigued by this idea of the Accidental Tank. There’s really no one out there to get excited about. So let’s sign a couple of character guys at moderate pay for one or two years, play our young guys a lot, give it our best effort all year long, and see what happens.
      I laughed out loud when Jeremy wrote that our Accidental Tank could be screwed up by signing someone like Josh Smith — it would be just like our front office to do something stupid like that. Other players in that dubious category would be J.R. Smith and O.J. Mayo.
      Note to the seemingly long list of overrated, overpaid NBA free agents with bad attitudes: We Don’t Want You, Either!!!
      In response to my friend bucks1988 above, I wonder more and more about how much Herb Kohl is running the show — and I’m concerned that he might be ruining the show.

    • You are that 5’8″ white guy that got 7 min a game in high school aren’t you? This is the NBA kid, and if you don’t have talent on the team, HARD WORK gets you absolutely nothing. Having a 6’9″ athletic freak that works his butt off gets you championships. The bucks have a bunch of you, 5’10” white guys with no talent right now.

  6. happyfeethustle

    No Tony Allen- OK,he stayed with Memphis-cant blame him. No Budinger- thats just fine with most fans I’d bet! J.R. Smith…Hmmm- tempting to WANT an explosive player like that. Realistically- Brewtown probably not anywhere near exciting enough… so O.K.

    Would have liked to sign Kevin Martin-bummer. There are still good free agents out there- SPEND some CA$H…please.

    Front Office took it in the tailpipe on Redick deal- so, do something about it!!!!!!!!!!! For Heavens sake- get something POSITIVE accomplished!!!!

    GO BUCKS GO

  7. Guys like Ellis, Josh Smith and and BJ3 aren’t the 3rd best players on good teams let alone the best players. So why bother. They might as well grab Devin Harris though, he’ll sell more tickets to friends and family than anyone else they can pick up.

  8. Unfortunately the bucks are going to say “not so fast Jeremy”!

    OJ Mayo and Kyle Korver are on the way.

    I believe Teague, Calderon, or Vasquez could be coming too. And don’t count us out of the Josh Smith sweepstakes quite yet.

    Would have loved a rebuild, but an 8th seed team without Brandon Jennings at point is a marginal improvement. I will breathe a heavy sigh of relief when and if he is gone. Babysteps babysteps

  9. Bucksfanforlife

    Looks like oj mayo is coming to the bucks now hopefully we trade Ilyasova and arneasty Gooden and sign Carl Landry,bj3,korver and devin Harris don’t give up bucks fans

  10. With the news about Mayo being all but locked up,coupled with the presence of Sanders and Bucks guarantee to match any offer given to BJ3, I can safely say that the Bucks would NOT be bottom feeder. Such a shame because they are going to miss out on a potential franchise players.

    With that being said and acknowledging the Bucks direction, they might as well go all in and sign Jefferson too.

    Jennings/Wolters/Ish
    Mayo/Unnamed defensive minded wing
    Ily/Luc/Adetokunbo
    Jefferson/Henson/Udoh
    Sanders/Ayon

    If Larry Drew can get OJ Mayo to give at least a LITTLE effort on defense, then this Bucks lineup can snag a 4th or 5th seed IMO. The problem isnt Mayo’s scoring because he can hit buckets from anywhere. He NEEDS to play some defense.

    DEFENSE with Mayo is the difference between him being a bonafied star and just a really good 6th man.

    My problem is that if Rick Carlisle couldnt get Mayo to committ on the defensive end, how is Drew going to do it?

    Thoughts on this lineup Bucks fans?

    • We have Larry Sanders Ersan Ilyasova and John Henson. Now why in the world would we sign Al Jefferson? Sounds like a complete waste of money in a league dominated by transition and small ball scoring.

  11. more cynicism. seriously, why do you write about the bucks? it seems that that writers at this site and other bucks blogs just hate the bucks or have an inability not to be negative. you just cannot fundamentally accept the position that hammond has been nothing but explicit and unambiguous about: the bucks will try to be competitive. all of this harking on tanking is a continued obsession by the bucks fan base for to team to suck so we can draft high. hammond aint up for it. and by the way, the day for players to sign is still 6 days away, so this article is about a week early at best. and could only be written by a true bucks-cynic at heart.

    • Why? I will tell you why. Because fans are what drive sports. And the Fan base for this franchise demands better. I know what John Hammond and Herb K have stated and you want to know what the fans have stated? WE ARE NOT OK WITH THIS STRATEGY. why should we be. Why should we give a Fuk about a franchise that shows no direction, continuously trades away promising young talent for rental role players. Who never ever ever will be in the market for a top free agent and who considers making the playoffs once every few years a great accomplishment. I don’t want to root for mediocrity and apparently I am not the only one. Is it wrong to want to be a fan of a franchise that makes smart moves. A team that has exciting players to watch and a history of continuously finding ways to compete at a high level. Name one thing the bucks have done worth praise? Tanking would be the first move I have respected in 15 years. My only real regret is the Larry Sanders didnt beat the crap out of Monta and Jennings in the locker room last year during our oooo so stimulating series with the Heat.

  12. The key for next year is to play Henson A LOT and play Wolters and the “Greek Freak” more than we should! That should give us a great shot at a top 6 pick. Rumors are that any of the top 6 next year would have been #1 this year. It has become clear that the only way for us to become a serious contender is to get lucky in the draft multiple times i.e. Oklahoma City.

    • AGREEEEEEEE

      Starting Lineup
      Wolters
      Mato
      Greek Freek
      Henson
      Sanders.

      Play them all 30 puss min a game. Take the 20 wins, give these guys a tone of experience and than draft a great player next year. 3 years from now, we could be the next Thunder.

  13. We could really build on the accidental tank and make it a fun parody of the
    failures we’ve had as a mediocre playoff team.
    -Sell tickets to students for a dollar.
    -Give away burgers when we lose
    -Rename the mascot “Tank”.
    -Play a “scrambled eggs” squad like Al McGuire used to at Marquette.
    Meantime, toss all the big contracts overboard and draft, draft, draft!