Bucks busy, re-sign Salmons, sign Gooden

When the Bucks swung a trade for Corey Maggette, most pundits thought it was the end of John Salmons’ tenure in Milwaukee, but the two sides have agreed to a five-year deal.

The Milwaukee Bucks have verbally agreed to a five-year, $39 million deal with free-agent guard John Salmons, according to league sources. Sources say that the last year of the deal is only partially guaranteed.

Salmons is 30, so the length of the contract is reasonable, especially since the fifth year is only partially guaranteed.

Less than $8 million a year is a pretty good deal for a player who averaged 20-3-3 in 30 games as a Buck, and helped to spearhead a late-season surge that secured a playoff spot. Against the Hawks, he pretty much offset Joe Johnson, who is slated to make about twice as much if he accepts Atlanta’s max offer.

The Bucks suddenly have a crowd of talented scorers on the wing. With Salmons, Maggette, Carlos Delfino and the newly acquired Chris Douglas-Roberts, Scott Skiles has plenty of options. All four players can play either shooting guard or small forward, and if Maggette or Douglas-Roberts do not play hard enough defensively, Skiles will have another player to turn to.

GM John Hammond also negotiated a five-year deal worth $32 million with Drew Gooden. The Bucks are his ninth team in nine seasons, which isn’t a good sign. But John Hollinger thinks Gooden is worth the money, though some of his defensive numbers at 82games are a little worrisome. Hopefully, Skiles can coax some better play out of him. If so, he brings a lot to the table offensively and on the glass, and could start for the Bucks at power forward.

The two long-term contracts take the Bucks out of the running for a max free agent next summer, unless the salary cap takes an unexpected jump to $61 million.

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Report: Gooden to join Spurs

It looks like the Spurs will be able to make a moderate free agent addition in their quest for another title.

Barring an unforeseen snag, Drew Gooden will be joining the San Antonio Spurs later this week, according to NBA front-office sources.

Sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that Gooden — waived Sunday by the Sacramento Kings before the midnight deadline to be eligibile to play in the playoffs with another team — has made known his intent to sign with San Antonio after clearing waivers Wednesday.

Gooden was pursued by several playoff-bound teams this week, including San Antonio’s divisional rivals in Dallas and New Orleans.

But the Spurs have nearly $1.5 million remaining from their mid-level salary-cap exception to offer Gooden for the rest of the season, as well as a shot at title contention.

San Antonio should be a great fit for Gooden…

Read the rest after the jump...

Much Ado About Nothing: The 5 Biggest Trade Deadline Teases

You can blame it on the Grizzlies.

Ever since they traded Pau Gasol to the Lakers for a bag of peanuts and some slightly used underwear, NBA teams have become more and more fickle about pulling the proverbial trigger. With the state of the economy, and some owners desperately trying to cut payroll before the cap and luxury tax thresholds decline, it’s a buyer’s market out there. And those buyers are looking for Gasol-type deals. On the flip side, Chris Wallace took all kinds of grief over that trade and general managers around the league don’t want to follow in his footsteps.

After two or three weeks of covering all of this trade chatter, the biggest deal to speak of is the Shawn Marion/Jermaine O’Neal swap and that happened almost a week ago. Sure, guys like Brad Miller, Andres Nocioni, John Salmons, Rafer Alston, Larry Hughes, Tim Thomas, Chris Wilcox and Drew Gooden changed zip codes, but I doubt any fans out there are sporting wood at the idea that one or more of these players is joining their team.

This year’s trade deadline was mostly about teams setting themselves up financially for the next two summers of free agency. Even though there were a number of big names bandied about, the Marion/O’Neal deal is the only semi-blockbuster trade of the season. And, barring some last-minute, late-breaking deal, we have these five teams to blame…

5. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs were in talks with the Nets about acquiring Vince Carter and also spoke with the Bucks about Richard Jefferson. Either of those players would have been a nice addition, but the Spurs just don’t have the pieces (or the balls) to pull off a trade like that. They were willing to trade for Carter, but they didn’t want to give up Roger Mason or George Hill. So they offer the Nets Bruce Bowen and Fabricio Oberto. Great, the numbers don’t even add up. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t really think that the Spurs should have given up Mason and/or Hill to acquire Carter. They’re arguably the second-best team in the West and their current lineup, if healthy, is likely to give the Lakers fits if the two teams meet in the playoffs with a less-than-100% Andrew Bynum. Plus the Spurs are notoriously conservative when it comes to messing with their chemistry. Jefferson wouldn’t have been a problem in that area but Carter might have been. So the Spurs stand pat. Shocker.

Read the rest after the jump...

Breaking down the Chicago/Sacramento trade

According to ESPN sources the Bulls and Kings have agreed to a multi-player trade. There aren’t any so-called “big” names in the deal but there are a number of starter-level players involved.

The Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings have reached tentative agreement on a trade sending Andres Nocioni, Drew Gooden, Michael Ruffin and Cedric Simmons to the Kings for Brad Miller and John Salmons, front-office sources said on Wednesday.

The Kings would then turn around and ship Ruffin to the Portland Trail Blazers for forward Ike Diogu and cash considerations, sources told ESPN’s Chris Broussard.

One source told ESPN.com that the Bulls players were pulled off the team bus Wednesday afternoon and were told they had been traded.

The trade centers around Nocioni, Gooden (or at least his expiring contract), Miller and Salmons. The Bulls’ big “get” here is probably Brad Miller, who is still a pretty good center. Salmons is a dynamic wing who is playing very well this season, but it will be interesting to see how the Bulls plan to use him. He is not nearly the same player coming off the bench.

For the Kings, they will get immediate salary cap relief as Miller’s $12.3 million will come off the books for next season. Nocioni’s contract runs another three years at the tune of $20 million, so they must see him as an upgrade to Salmons. Nocioni is capable of starting, but has spent most of his time in Chicago coming off the bench in large part because he plays the same position as Luol Deng.

Is there a winner here? Not really. The Bulls got the better end talent-wise, but the Kings got a nice mix of talent and salary cap relief. It looks like a win-win for both sides.

The big news here is that without Gooden’s expiring deal, the Bulls are probably out of the running for Amare Stoudemire’s services. But as the week has worn on it is looking less and less like the Suns are going to move him before the trade deadline.

Bosh to Chicago?

The Chicago Sun-Times is reporting that the Bulls are talking about a deal that would allow them to land Chris Bosh.

The Amare Stoudemire trade talk still has the Bulls among the teams most involved, but a new scenario making the rounds has the Bulls taking part in a three-team deal that would bring Toronto Raptors star Chris Bosh to Chicago.

The rumored swap would send Stoudemire to Toronto and land the Phoenix Suns a package of players and draft picks from the Bulls, likely to include Drew Gooden and his expiring $7.2 million contract, Tyrus Thomas and a first-round pick.

Maybe I’m wrong, but this just sounds like wishful thinking by Brian Hanley, the writer of the article. He doesn’t even say that he has a source — he just calls it a “rumored swap,” which means he might have read about it on some fan blog somewhere. (Not this one, of course.)

The Raptors have said all along that they don’t want to move Bosh and with the recent actions by the Suns indicating that they may in fact keep Stoudemire, I don’t really see how this deal goes down. Besides, if you’re the Suns, wouldn’t you rather do a straight up Bosh-for-Amare swap than to do a three-team deal and trade for Tyrus Thomas, Drew Gooden and a few other pieces? Bosh’s trade value is higher than Stoudemire’s because he’s two years younger, hasn’t had microfracture surgery and has a reputation for being a solid defender.

If I were a Bulls fan, I wouldn’t hold my breath. This just sounds too good to be true.

2/18 Update: Toronto GM Brian Colangelo says there is “no truth” to the trade rumor.

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