In a somewhat surprising move, Tuesday the Milwaukee Bucks traded Carlos Delfino and Miroslav Raduljica as well as a 2015 second-round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers for Jared Dudley and a 2017 protected first-rounder.
The Clippers had been trying to unload Dudley for months with no luck, but finally found a willing trade partner in the Bucks. The team has been looking to shed some of the players from the roster that, with the addition of 2014 No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker, don’t fit into the vision the organization has for the Bucks going forward.Delfino, a combo guard/forward, had yet to even play a game for the Bucks under the new two-year contract he signed last offseason before needing additional surgery to repair a fractured bone in his right foot. Raduljica is a 7-foot center who averaged 3.8 points, 2.3 rebounds and 0.3 rebounds last season and should fill the Clippers’ need for another big man to add to the bench.
In Dudley, the Bucks get a a pretty mediocre small forward whose stat line of 6.9 points and 2.2 rebounds is fairly mundane. With the team under the salary cap absorbing the $8.5 million he has left on the final two years of his contract isn’t an issue.
So why would the Bucks do a deal like this and get no viable players in return?
It’s all about the draft picks.
As most Bucks fans know, the organization is entering the next phase of rebuilding the team from the ground up. And while it’s not as drastic a rebuild as the Philadelphia 76ers are going through, it’s still a long way from finished.
They have their future All-Star in Parker and a young core that includes the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo and point guard Brandon Knight, but they are still going to need to add more players, and the best way for them to do that right now is through the draft and having draft picks.
In 2017, the Bucks should be gaining steam and well on the way to becoming the team they want to be. Parker will be going into his fourth year as a pro and the final year of his rookie contract while coach Jason Kidd will have his system firmly in place and should start seeing results as he goes into the 2017-18 season.
At that point, it’s a good possibility that all the Bucks will need is one more player, that one piece of the puzzle that will put them over the top and send them back to the NBA playoffs. Having another first-round pick will give them the leverage they need and will get other teams to listen to trade offers, or they can keep the pick and use it to bring in some young talent.
Either way they come out on top and have put themselves in a better position by letting go two players who had no future in Milwaukee and absorbing the contract of another player who had fallen out of favor in Los Angeles.
And while Dudley has been pretty unremarkable as of late, when he played for the Phoenix Suns he was more impressive, averaging 10.9 points, 2.57 assists and 3.10 rebounds per game his last season there. So it’s always possible that with a new coach and a new system he could reinvigorate his career.
He is only 29 and could provide some leadership and experience to a young frontcourt.
But even if it doesn’t, the Bucks still have that first-round draft pick, which is why they did this deal in the first place. It will definitely pay dividends down the road and may be the thing that helps put them back in the postseason. Time will tell.