The Bucks made the NBA’s biggest splash at this year’s trade deadline, dealing Beno Udrih, Doron Lamb and Tobias Harris to the Orlando Magic for J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayon and Ish Smith. For the second straight season, Milwaukee made a deal on the brink of the deadline for the best shooting guard available.
Though this move was made primarily to help the Bucks “win now”, it also alters the franchise’s future cap room and financial flexibility. Let’s take a look at the Bucks’ current roster situation and the contracts of the newly acquired players.
|Monta Ellis||$11,000,000||$11,000,000 (ET)|
|Ersan Ilyasova||$7,900,000||$7,900,000||$7,900,000||$7,900,000||$8,400,000 (NG)|
|Luc Mbah a Moute||$4,794,192||$4,588,384||$4,382,575|
|Ekpe Udoh||$3,524,880||$4,469,548||$5,962,377 (Q)|
|Brandon Jennings||$3,179,493||$4,330,469 (Q)|
|Larry Sanders||$1,991,760||$3,053,368||$4,268,608 (Q)|
|John Henson||$1,823,280||$1,905,360||$1,967,320 (T)||$2,943,221 (T)||$4,094,000 (Q)|
|Gustavo Ayon||$1,500,000||$1,500,000 (T)||$1,875,000 (Q)|
|Ish Smith||$910,491||$951,463||$992,435 (NG)|
P = Player Option / T = Team Option / Q = Qualifying Offer / NG = Non-Guaranteed / ET = Early Termination Option
Chart according to HoopsWorld.com
As of today, the Bucks are over the salary cap of $58 million, but well under the luxury tax. With a number of expiring contracts in the books, the Bucks are in a very good position financially for the future. Milwaukee will have a lot of cap room — as well as a lot of tough decisions — to make this summer, where they will start off the offseason process approximately $30 million under the salary cap.
This season is Gustavo Ayon’s final year of guaranteed money on his contract. This offseason the Bucks have a team option on Ayon. Milwaukee can either accept the option and retain him for the 2013-14 for $1,500,000, or decline the option and release Ayon in to unrestricted free agency to open up cap space. If the Bucks do accept Ayon’s team option, he’ll play next season on his contract and will become a restricted free agent in the summer of 2014.
Ishmael Smith — who is on his 5th NBA team in just three years in the league — has a contract that runs through the 2014-15 season. Smith makes $910,491 this year, and $951,463 in 2013-14. In 2014-2015 Smith is set to make $992,435, but that money is non-guaranteed.
J.J. Redick is earning $6,190,000 this season in the final stint of his three-year, $19,690,000 deal he signed with Chicago — a deal that was matched by Orlando — as a restricted free agent in 2010. At the end of this season, Redick becomes a unrestricted free agent, meaning he has the ability to sign with any team he likes. In this trade the Bucks acquired Redick’s Bird Rights, which would allow Milwaukee to go over the salary cap if they re-sign Redick this offseason.
According to Sam Amick of USA Today, neither Redick nor his agent gave Milwaukee a promise that he would resign with the Bucks this summer before the deal was made. The Bucks will certainly be faced with interesting decision this offseason, as both their shooting guards — Monta Ellis (early termination option, which allows him to end his contract a year early) and Redick (unrestricted free agent) — have the ability to leave Milwaukee. They’ll likely have to choose between one or the other and ante up some serious dough for whichever guy that may be.
Most around the league don’t believe Ellis will be able to find anything close the $11 million he’s set to make in 2013-14. Would Ellis give up several million dollars in exchange for playing on a contending team, or to simply just get out of Milwaukee? Would he give up money over the short term in favor of a longer deal with more financial security? Who knows. But if Ellis ends up bolting, you better believe the Bucks will be offering Redick a magnanimous deal.
So let’s say Milwaukee re-signs either Redick or Ellis along with matching an offer for restricted free agent Brandon Jennings. That still gives the Bucks a considerable amount of cap room and money to either retain key role players, or to court players in free agency such as Josh Smith, who the Bucks came minutes away from acquiring at the trade deadline.
These are just a few of the challenging decisions GM John Hammond will be faced with this summer. This trade is really sets the table for what is sure to be an extremely eventful offseason for Milwaukee. With a boatload of cap space and a number of expiring contracts, Hammond’s actions this offseason will have huge implications on the direction of the Bucks franchise for a atleast the next decade.