NBA TRADE DEADLINE: Recasting the Mold

You have to love a trade in which both sides seem to get exactly what they want…even if what they seem to want is completely and utterly unspectacular.

John Salmons may be proving last year a fluke more and more with every errant jumper, but he’s a natural fit in Milwaukee. They need someone to fill the void as an honest two guard, and though Carlos Delfino has done a great job of playing well above his head, Salmons is the better player. Even in a state of regression.

Salmons is a perfect Scott Skiles guy exactly because he’s not a perfect Scott Skiles guy. If you break down John’s game, you’ll find he’s a decent but underwhelming defender, a decent enough offensive player, capable of being either crafty or foolish with the ball, and decidedly unathletic for his position. Remind you of anyone? I don’t know, maybe, say, a bit of a reclamation project playing at back-up point guard and churning out the most impressive season of his career? These are the kind of players that Skiles gets the most out of, despite their reputation. Who cares if Salmons isn’t a hard-nosed defender? There are other ways to win over Skiles, and I have no doubt Salmons will do just that. Plus, Delfino, Charlie Bell and Jerry Stackhouse isn’t the strongest collection of wings the league has to offer. Salmons provides a bit more scoring and appears to be a seamless fit in the lineup, which is pretty significant considering just how bad the Bucks are on offense at times.

The Bulls cap jockeyed their way out of $5.8 million due next season, which is perfect for a franchise looking to make noise on the free agent market. I don’t know if you’ve heard this, but Chicago’s a city with a bit of basketball history, has a certain historical greatness associated with that red and white uni, and just so happens to have a young stud point guard with a mile-high ceiling. Joe Alexander shouldn’t see much playing time, but Hakim Warrick should be good as a half-season loaner. Hak is basically just a less irritating, if less talented, version of the outgoing Tyrus Thomas. And if given the opportunity, he’ll win over VDN just like Taj Gibson did.

Chicago’s not going anywhere this season with or without Salmons’ marginal production, but hopes for that a different system and a change of scenery might reboot his season are not misguided. He’s looked out of place and out of rhythm all year long in Chicago, and though Milwaukee system is hardly a polar opposite, sometimes it’s the illusion of significant change that can jump-start a guy’s season. It’s a risk the Bucks could and should have taken, and though it’s not likely to make much of a difference come playoff time, there’s nothing wrong with being opportunistic and beefing up the rotation.

Seth Carstens