Jan 10, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Andrew Bogut (6) jumps for the tipoff during the game against the San Antonio Spurs at the Bradley Center. The Bucks defeated the Spurs 106-103. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

Farewell, Bogut

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Andrew Bogut has been traded to Golden State in a multiplayer deal that bring Monta Ellis to Milwaukee:

The Golden State Warriors have agreed in principle to trade guard Monta Ellis and two players to theMilwaukee Bucks for center Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

The Warriors will send forward Ekpe Udoh and injured center Kwame Brown to the Bucks as part of a package for Bogut, one of the NBA’s most talented – but also often-injured – centers. The deal will be officially completed later Tuesday night, one executive involved in the trade said.

The Bucks should have kept Bogut.  Presumably, they aren’t even getting any picks in this deal. (And please, please, John Hammond, please don’t let me find out later that you’ll be sending any out.)  They traded an almost-but-not-quite All-Star center who is hurt for an almost-but-not-quite shooting guard that is healthy.  They are smaller and healthier — but probably not any closer to a championship.  Here’s why:

Andrew is a center.

If Andrew were a point guard, a wing, or even a power forward, this matter would be entirely different. But he is a center, and a quick glance around shows you that centers are scarce at best.

You can look at the Bucks’ own roster, for instance. When Bogut went out, Larry Sanders was the only player on the roster resembling a center, and he struggled. Thankfully, Sanders has improved as the season has progressed, but even now the Bucks still play the majority of their minutes “centerless”.

You can also look around the NBA. Teams have been desperate to add centers. Take Joel Przybilla, for instance. Over the past two seasons, Przybilla has underwhelmed. Yet, when he made the choice to sit out training camps and stay home with his family to enjoy the holidays, teams like the Heat, Bulls, Bucks, and Blazers were still lining up to recruit him.

Centers are in demand and the Bucks had one. You should have kept him. Now where are you going to find one. “Oh hello, Kwame.”

Bogut’s injuries should not stop him going forward

Once his ankle heals, it heals. He didn’t suffer an ACL tear or an Achilles’ tendon injury. The elbow injury will always be a concern, and it may hamper his offense for the rest of his career, but from the games he played this season, it is clear that Bogut can still anchor a defense terrifically.

Not to be cruel, but Greg Oden he is not. For his career, he is averaging more than 60 games per season.

For an injured player of his caliber, his contract is the perfect length.

Bogut has two years left on his deal with the Bucks. By trading him now, the Bucks sell low. Even if his future in Milwaukee is short, they should have let him come back next year and prove his health. If he came back strong, trade him next year… and get a whole lot more in return.

If his health did not improve significantly by next year, trade him in a year anyway. The return on investment would not have decreased. And even if the Bucks were stuck in a scenario where Bogut was stuck in Milwaukee, the contract was short enough to just wait out.

One Last Thought:

The 2004 Pistons showed that an NBA Champion could be built around a stalwart defensive center surrounded by above-average all-around players.  John Hammond should know; he helped put that team together.

When was the last time you saw a NBA champ anchored by a high-volume shooting guard who couldn’t make an All-Star team?

Onto the Monta Era…  It might not be pretty, but it should be fun.

Tags: Andrew Bogut Golden State Warriors Milwaukee Bucks Monta Ellis

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