The Bucks traded their best player, Richard Jefferson, for a trio of decent but not winning players. The Milwaukee Bucks have sent a message to their fans—“We lost with Richard Jefferson. We lost paying the NBA Luxury tax for being over 71.5 million. So this year don’t bother watching us. We are going to save money and dump the 2009-10 season.”
Like all the NBA teams that are dumping payroll this year and next, the excuse is that “we are preparing to make a big splash in the free agent market in 2010.” Don’t believe that for a second. No major free agent is going to go to Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland (if LeBron leaves), Washington, Oklahoma City, or any other of the cold weather and traditionally mediocre teams in the league.
The reason that teams get away with these half-truths is that all sports fans are gullible. As a Cavs and Cubs fan, I include myself in that group. We all believe that all we need is one more really good player to bring a title to our long suffering team.
There are several BIG names in the 2010 free agent pool. But the pool is not nearly as deep as it looks.
CLE – LeBron James
The future of the Cavs begins and ends with James. If he leaves, it ends for sure. No free agent would ever come to Cleveland except to play with LeBron. There is a 33% chance that LeBron will stay in Cleveland. I believe it will depend on what the Cavs do this off season. If not, he is bound for Orlando, LA, NY, or maybe even San Antonio.
Miami – Dwayne Wade (Player option)
Wade is the most valuable PG available in the next 2 years. He will likely move to a contender. The Bucks fans don’t have to worry. No way will Wade or any other big time FA go there.
Bos – Paul Pierce (Early Termination Option ETO)
The BIG 2.5 (Ray Allen is only half) is getting older. We saw this year how important the loss of Kevin Garnett was. If Pierce leaves, the Celts are the 4th or 5th best team in the East. The team will do whatever it takes to keep him. Allen will also be unrestricted in 2010 and will likely be allowed to leave.
Hou – Yao Ming (ETO)
Since a group of Chinese businessmen bought into the Cavs, there have been rumors of Yao going to Cleveland to join LeBron. Don’t bet on it. Yao may well take a hike if the team loses more of his support. Ron Artest is a free agent this year, and Tracy McGrady is a free agent in 2010. If they both stay and the Rockets bring in someone else, he will likely stay. The problem that the team faces is that Yao is the only young C in the pool. He will receive a lot of offers.
ATL – Joe Johnson
There is no way that a team that is young and building is going to let a scorer go. Johnson will be super-glued to the Hawks roster. With the Hawks coming along nicely, he won’t leave.
Milw – Michael Redd
Redd will likely put his house up for sale this year because the housing market is down. That should give him plenty of time to sell the house prior to him leaving the Bucks. He is the one player that might go home to Cleveland but only if LeBron is there. Since Redd is a SG, he is not exactly what the Cavs need the most.
There are a lot of other players including Amare Stoudemire (ETO Suns) who is an oldie but goodie.
Most teams are using the 2010 season of LeBron as an excuse to lose now and save money. But we all get lied to a lot, so why the NBA team owners be any different.
That’s what I think. Tell me what you think.
Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. He is a senior writer for and edits https://fryingpansports.com. He has also published several novels on and edits .