Here’s the problem with the Salmons deal…

As a long-time (and sometimes-proud) Bucks fan, my NBA objectivity goes out the window whenever my favorite team makes a big transaction. I start to look at it from the perspective of “my Bucks” and don’t really care what kind of an effect the move has on the other team.

But in this John Salmons-for-Elson/Thomas (or Warrick/Alexander) deal, the Bulls’ new-found financial freedom might come back to haunt the Bucks. Without Salmons’ salary ($5.8 million) on the books for next season, the Bulls would project to have more than $18 million in cap space heading into this summer’s free agency. That’s enough to sign LeBron James, Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh. Without this trade, the Bulls would have a tough time signing a “max” player.

So by taking on Salmons and his contract, the Bucks may have increased their chances of becoming first round fodder in the postseason, but they also increased the chances of a top 5 player joining their bitter rival. They already have LeBron in the division — now they may have to deal with D-Wade, too?

While I can understand the deal that includes Kurt Thomas and Francisco Elson, I don’t get why the Bucks would include Warrick in the trade, seeing as how he has been a valuable rotation player — 10-4 in 21 minutes per game — throughout the season. In other words, I’m not sure how a Salmons-for-Warrick swap gets the Bucks that much closer to the postseason that it would justify the added expense next season and the increased likelihood that Dwyane Wade will land in Chicago.

After a shaky start — trading for Richard Jefferson, drafting Joe Alexander, trading away Mo Williams — GM John Hammond has had a nice year, unloading Jefferson’s huge contact, acquiring Ersan Ilyasova and Carlos Delfino, and most importantly, drafting Brandon Jennings. Unlike most teams, the Bucks are stockpiling cap space for the summer of 2011, when they currently project to have $25 million (or more) in cap space and only seven players under contract. He has the Bucks in position to bounce back over the next couple of seasons, but it won’t matter if Cleveland and Chicago are dominating the division.

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