Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tuesday Bucks Notes

Chad Ford reports in his latest postings that the Bucks big board is looking something like:

1. Al Horford - Lock to go 3rd or 4th
2. Mike Conley - 50% chance of going 4th in the Horford-to-Atlanta scenario?
3. Yi Jianlian - Still playing hard-to-get, though some suggest the Bucks might call his bluff.
4. Jeff Green - Could go to Boston at 5.
5. Brandan Wright - Will be there barring a big surprise.
6. Julian Wright - Ditto.

Horford is likely to be gone to the Hawks, and certainly gone to Memphis if he slips past Billy Knight and company. Conley meanwhile sounds increasingly likely to be gone to the Grizzlies if the Hawks take Horford, but Noah is apparently also in play there, and could even be the favorite depending on what you believe. Boston sounds most interested in Yi and Jeff Green. If a trade with Phoenix happens, Yi or Noah might well be the pick at 5.

So Horford is almost a lock to be gone but Conley could still be there. Yi continues to play hardball and I just don't think the Bucks will risk drafting him only to have him play the go-back-to-China card in order to force a trade. I'd guess there's a >50% chance Jeff Green is available, and he could contribute immediately.

There's virtual certainty that Brandan Wright and Julian Wright will be available. The Bucks said they liked what they saw from Brandan Wright, but he's not going to contribute immediately. Julian Wright just turned 20, but he would provide valuable depth at the forward spots immediately, and Ford's sources say he still has a chance at the 6 spot.


Gery Woelfel reports that the Bucks are considering trade offers, which makes sense given how the draft buzz is shaping up. Given the uncertainty over Yi and the possibility that Conley is gone, do the Bucks like Jeff Green enough that they resist the temptation to trade down with a Yi-coveting team like Chicago? It's sounding increasingly likely that both Wrights will be available at the Bulls' 9th pick. They're known to be shopping Chris Duhon and his expiring $3.2 million salary, which may or may not be appealing to the Bucks, depending on how much they want to give Mo Williams a big contract. Other options would be Thabo Sefalosha and the 9th or even Tyrus Thomas straight-up for the 6th pick. It sounds as though Paxson is loathe to deal Thomas, but given he's similar to the immovable Ben Wallace, it's always possible they would prefer a more offensive PF like Yi to pair with Ben for the next few years. Acquiring another player would likely nix the Bucks' hopes of signing a big-name free agent, though it looks increasingly likely that there won't be anyone worthwhile available anyway (Billups has always been a pipedream and Gerald Wallace is most likely to re-sign in Charlotte).

Both Wrights would represent good value at the 9th overall pick and the Bucks are also working out Florida State SF Al Thornton today, who also is likely to be a mid-to-late lottery pick. The question is whether Chicago is willing to offer anything the Bucks are interested in. Golden State (possibly offering the 18th or something involving Monta Ellis), Philly (with the 12th and 21st picks) and Phoenix (with the 24th, 29th, and lots of veterans including Shawn Marion) are also in the mix.

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