The Milwaukee Bucks have been rumored to be after Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick but it appears they’ve now shifted their focus on acquiring Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith, something that might still require them to acquire Redick. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, Smith has come forward to say he likes the idea of playing alongside Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, but that’s where things get complicated.
A selling point for Smith in Milwaukee is playing with Jennings and Ellis but one of the ways the Bucks can acquire Smith is by trading either Jennings or Ellis to Atlanta. The Hawks want Ellis and at least one other expiring contract in exchange for Smith and a draft pick is likely going to be thrown in if a deal can be made.
The Bucks were open to trading Ellis until Smith said playing with him was a selling point so now the Bucks are trying to figure out a way they can acquire Smith without having to give up Ellis or Jennings. Even if they somehow manage to pull it off, the move will be unbelievably risky as Smith, Jennings and Ellis all have expiring contracts and many believe Ellis will opt-out of his contract and sign with a contender.
However, if Smith comes to Milwaukee, the Bucks are all of a sudden a contender which might motivate him to stay. Re-signing Smith would be the Bucks No. 1 priority in the offseason but that could end up being pricey as Smith makes $13.2 million this year with a 15 percent trade kicker.
Marc Stein reports that Brandon Jennings is “nearly untouchable” at this point in the negotiations meaning trading Ellis to Atlanta might be the best option for Milwaukee in the long run, but the team wants to find a way to make it work where they don’t have to do that.
It’s complicated and fluid situation but it appears the Bucks are serious about acquiring Smith and right now they perhaps the most attractive assets when it comes to putting together a package that the Hawks approve of.