The Milwaukee Bucks have been the most active team in the offseason so far and it continued on Day 1 of NBA Free Agency.
Last season the Milwaukee Bucks looked like a team that could compete in the East. Behind rookie point guard Brandon Jennings, the Bucks made the playoffs for the first time since 2006 before losing in the first round. They improved their record by 12 wins over the previous season and 20 wins over 2007-08. However, a first round exit left a bad taste in their mouths.
The Bucks want to continue to improve and feel they have a great foundation in Jennings and center Andrew Bogut. Michael Redd is one of the best shooters in the league but rarely stays healthy and his massive expiring contract could serve as a trade chip for the upcoming season. His health was the reason the team acquired swingman John Salmons at last season's trade deadline. With Salmons opting out of his contract, the Bucks immediately began their offseason by looking for players who could fill his role.
Milwaukee was one of the worst teams in the league at getting to the free throw line. Taking advantage of the cost-cutting Golden State Warriors, the Bucks acquired 6-foot-6, 225 pound wingman Corey Maggette. He ranked first in the league last season with 551 free throw attempts (83.5% of which went in).
Then the Bucks used the New Jersey Nets desperation to clear cap space to get G/F Chris Douglas-Roberts for a future second round pick. Douglas-Roberts reached the NCAA Championship game in 2008 with Derrick Rose as a member of the Memphis Tigers. He averaged 9.8 points per game in his rookie season but did not get much of an opportunity with the Nets. He is a solid scorer who will add depth to the roster.
Today, the Bucks were the most active team in free agency, agreeing to deals with Salmons and big man Drew Gooden. Salmons addition last season clearly made the Bucks much better. In 30 games with the Bucks, he averaged 19.9 points per game and was very effective on the defensive end. Although it is not yet official, Salmons is close to agreeing to a 5 year, $39 million deal. The average income of $8 million a year is a reasonable price for Salmons, although the length is probably too long. It will be great for the Bucks to have some stability at the shooting guard position after dealing with Redd's injuries for years.
Gooden reached a 5 year, $32 million agreement with the Bucks. He will now join his eighth NBA team in eight seasons. While Gooden is no all-star, his career numbers of 11.9 and 7.9 rebounds per game are decent. At 6-foot-10, he will fit in nicely at the power forward position for the Bucks. They probably could have waited for a better price but $6 million per year is not bad for a solid role player and veteran.
With those moves, the Bucks are more than likely done with their offseason moves. They addressed some of their biggest needs and added stability to a team that has had a revolving door of players for years. If Bogut can stay healthy throughout next season, they will be a force in the Eastern Conference.