Bucks, Wolves quiet as trade DL looms

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The NBA trade deadline is less than 24 hours away and still, no big trades.

There are rumors the Timberwolves should trade Kevin Love. Boston could be moving Rajon Rondo. Houston still has Omer Asik. The Knicks need a point guard. Philadelphia wants to trade every one of its players not named Michael-Carter Williams. The Cavs now want to move Luol Deng.

And those are just the blockbuster deals.

The Bucks have yet to make a ripple, despite having several pieces on their roster that need to be moved.

Gary Neal was on display before the all-star break. The 29-year-old guard who just signed a three-year deal with the Bucks plays a game here and a game there, then he’s “on display,” plays major minutes and produces like he’s an all-star. Neal went for 35 points on 14-for-23 shooting in back-to-back games – just showing him off.

Luke Ridnour and Caron Butler have expiring contracts for Milwaukee. Both are 33 and neither are doing the team any good. Butler has even complained about minutes. Ridnour has now lost his minutes to Nate Wolters. So much for him being "on display."

Minnesota has been rumored to be trading Chase Budinger and J.J. Barea to Memphis for Tayshaun Prince and Tony Allen, in what looks like one of the worst trades in Timberwolves history. 

Both Budinger, 25, and Barea, 29, are signed through next year at around $5 million a year. Prince, 33, is also signed through next season ($15 million total) and Allen, 32, is signed for three more seasons after this one at $5 million per.

I don’t understand why Minnesota would want to lock itself into a 32-year-old defensive stopper at shooting guard for three more years after this. Allen can’t shoot, so when he’s no longer quick enough to be a defensive stopper - which will come sometime next season- he’ll be useless.

The trade also essentially gives up on Budinger being a contributor, though now he’s finally healthy after two major knee injuries. They’ve waited this long, he’s only signed through next year, why not take the lesser of the two risks with the guy who actually has some potential. He’s only 25. Allen’s potential is tapped.

What the Wolves should be thinking about is trading Love, who can opt out of his contract next season. And all signs point to his leaving for the West coast. 

Minnesota isn’t making the playoffs this season. They have almost nothing coming off the books next season, so signing another free agent is unlikely. They spent all that money on 31-year-old shooting guard Kevin Martin (4 years, $30 million). He’s injured. And re-signed 28-year-old, oft-injured center Nikola Pekovic for five years, $60 million. He’s injured.

Minnesota is not winning now. It’s not winning next year. Then Love is gone and it’s really not winning when Pekovic is 30 and Martin is 33 and maybe even Ricky Rubio isn’t on the team, either.

In the past, Love, 25, was in trade rumors for the Clippers' Blake Griffin, which would be perfect for both teams. Griffin, 24, is signed for four years after this - the last being a player-option - so he wouldn't bolt any time soon and the Wolves would have time to come up with some sort of rebuilding plan, because that's where they're headed - again.

The Bucks have the worst record in the NBA and have disgruntled players – Ersan Ilyasova, 26, signed for three years after this season, is also among the complainers that wants to be traded – but they're on the tail end of a rebuilding plan. They have talent, a lot of talent, a lot of young talent  and just need to find the right pieces to get the most out of that talent ... like a veteran coach, say, George Karl?

Any coach would lick his chops at the potential on this roster. John Henson, 23, is blossoming at power forward. Giannis Antetokounmpo, 19, has unlimited potential at small forward. Brandon Knight, 22, is having a breakout season with no help around him. O.J. Mayo, 26, Khris Middleton, 22 and Larry Sanders, 25, are young, talented. And they’re all signed for multiple years on the cheap. They just need direction and consistency.

There’s no reason for the Bucks to bail on these guys. Trading Butler, Ridnour, Gary Neal and, maybe even Zaza Pachulia, would be smart but, so far, nothing.