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Are Bucks set to play 'Let's Make a Deal'?
Posted by: gwoelfel on January 12, 2009 at 12:36AM EST
By GERY WOELFEL
It’s hardly a secret the Milwaukee Bucks have been working the phones to make a trade,
There have been continuous rumors forward Charlie Villanueva is being shopped and whispers about Michael Redd being dealt.
Backup guard Charlie Bell’s name has also been bandied about in trade talks and it is believed some teams have contacted the Bucks about the availability of veteran small forward Richard Jefferson.
The latest rumor to surface is the Bucks possibly trading backup point guard Ramon Sessions and forward Joe Alexander, who was the eighth overall selection in last June’s NBA draft, to the Memphis Grizzlies.
In return, the Bucks would obtain point guard Michael Conley Jr., who was the No. 4 overall selection in the 2007 draft.
The Bucks would also likely receive a future draft choice.
I’ve been told both teams have virtually agreed on the conditions of the trade and only Bucks owner Herb Kohl had to give his stamp of approval. Bucks general manager John Hammond, reached in North Carolina where he was on a scouting trip, said it was his policy not to comment on any trade speculation.
As a rookie last season, Conley played in 53 games and started 46. He averaged 9.4 points and 4.2 assists.
But Conley has struggled this season, starting only 18 of 37 games. He is averaging 7.5 points and 4.9 assists.
Sessions spent most of last season in the NBA's D-League with Tulsa before becoming the Bucks starting point guard when Mo Williams got hurt.
Sessions played well then and is playing well now, although he has been used primarily as a back up to Luke Ridnour. Sessions is averaging 10.8 points and 4.5 assists.
Alexander has played sparingly behind veteran small forward Richard Jefferson. He has appeared in 27 games, averaging 4.1 points.
Conley, who worked out for the Bucks before last year’s draft, is making $3.63 million this season. He’ll earn $3.88M next season with a team option for $4.91M the following season.
Alexander is being paid $2.4 million this season and Sessions makes $711,000.
While the Bucks and Grizzlies may be in agreement on the aforementioned deal, neither team is under any pressure to consummate it quickly since the league-imposed trading deadline isn’t until Feb. 19.
* Billy McKinney, the Bucks' scouting director, recently traveled to Europe and checked out several players, including Ersan Ilyasova.
Ilyasova, the Bucks' second-round pick in 2005 who played in 66 games during the 2006-2007 season, is playing in Spain for FC Barcelona. The Bucks still retain his playing rights.
McKinney watched Ilyasova play and went out to dinner with him. He came away suitably impressed with the combo forward.
"He played very well,'' McKinney said. "He's a nice, multi-dimensional player. I don't have any doubts he can play well at the NBA level.''
“It was good to see we have a very viable asset playing in our system.''
McKinney believes several other European teams will vie for Ilyasova's services after the season, but didn't dismiss the possibility of Ilyasova rejoining the Bucks.
What could work in the Bucks' favor is that Ilyasova's wife is from Milwaukee.
* So, who do the Bucks think should represent the Eastern Conference in next month's NBA All-Star Game in Phoenix?
Well, in a poll of eight Bucks, only two players were unanimous selections: small forward LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and center Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic.
Former Marquette University and current Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade received seven votes and Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett garnered six votes.
Rounding out the Bucks' Eastern Conference All-Star starting team was ex-University of Wisconsin star guard Devin Harris of the New Jersey Nets, who got four votes.
Others who received first team votes were Detroit guard Allen Iverson, Boston guard Ray Allen, Toronto guard Jose Calderon, Toronto forward Chris Bosh and Indiana forward Danny Granger.
The Bucks, who couldn’t choose any teammate, were also asked to pick seven reserves. No less than 14 players were chosen.
They were Boston forward Paul Pierce, Detroit guard Richard Hamilton, Atlanta guard Joe Johnson, Orlando forward Rashard Lewis, Washington forward Antawn Jamison, Detroit forward Tayshaun Prince, New Jersey guard Vince Carter, Orlando forward Hedo Turkoglu, Cleveland center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Atlanta guard Mike Bibby, Boston guard Rajon Rondo, Orlando guard Jameer Nelson, Chicago guard Derrick Rose and Detroit forward Rasheed Wallace