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News » NBA DRAFT Keeping options open Deal won't affect draft, Skiles says


NBA DRAFT Keeping options open Deal won't affect draft, Skiles says


NBA DRAFT  Keeping options open  Deal won't affect draft, Skiles says
Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles contends that Tuesday's three-team trade that sent forward Richard Jefferson to San Antonio will not affect the team's approach or strategy in Thursday's night's NBA draft.

Even so, the deal that brought forwards Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas and Amir Johnson to Milwaukee has altered the Bucks' needs for next season and could have some bearing on how the team uses its first-round pick (10th overall) and second-round selection (41st overall).

Skiles' view on how the trade will affect the Bucks in the draft?

"I don't think it does," he said. "We're going to try and get a very good player, the best player we can at 10, and the best player we can at 41, and see what happens. If it so happens the best player is at a position that helps us, that's even better."

Before the trade, it was anticipated that the Bucks' most dire needs for next season would be at power forward and point guard, since it appeared likely they would lose restricted free agents Charlie Villanueva and Ramon Sessions.

But the deal, which brought the Bucks some financial flexibility, is casting a different light on that free-agent situation. And, with Jefferson gone, the Bucks are now thin at small forward.

It's still highly unlikely the Bucks will make a $4.6 million qualifying offer to Villanueva, since that would lock them back up in fiscal handcuffs. Instead, with the potential for a few more dollars in their pocket from the trade, the Bucks are more likely to turn their attention to Ersan Ilyasova, who has been playing in Europe, and try to lure him back to Milwaukee. Ilyasova stands to make considerably more money if he stays in Europe, but the Bucks are hoping Ilyasova would find the potential for considerable playing time appealing enough to return.

With Thomas and Johnson joining Andrew Bogut and Ilyasova, the Bucks would be in pretty good shape at center and power forward. It's unclear if Bowen will be on the team next season since only half of his $4 million contract is guaranteed and the Bucks could pick up $2 million by waiving him.

Tuesday's trade also makes it much more feasible for the Bucks to present Sessions with a $1 million qualifying offer and maintain his rights.

And so, while the Bucks would love to see Jonny Flynn of Syracuse or Brandon Jennings, who played last season in Italy, available at No. 10, they are not committed to drafting a point guard.

"Not necessarily," said Skiles, who has been preparing for his second draft at the helm of the team. "We've just got to see how it unfolds. There's a lot of uncertainty, a lot of uncertainty once you get past the first pick about what's going to happen.

"The fifth pick has already been traded. We just have to wait and see how it starts to unfold. We know what our strategy is, but it also depends on what the teams in front of us do."

Other than Oklahoma forward Blake Griffin being the clear-cut choice of the Los Angeles Clippers at No. 1, nothing has been set in stone where picks two through nine are concerned. The Washington Wizards muddied the waters further by trading the fifth pick to Minnesota, which leaves the Timberwolves plenty of options since they also own the sixth, 18th and 28th selections. Suffice to say, teams are watching the Timberwolves with interest.

The Bucks , meanwhile, are remaining steadfast in their assertion that they will draft the best player who falls to them regardless of position.

Depending on which of the countless draft scenarios you subscribe to, that could be Southern California swingman DeMar DeRozan, who could be dropping out of the top 10. Wake Forest forward James Johnson seems to be quietly working his way up into the top 10 as Toronto, which holds the ninth pick, brought Johnson back for a second workout Tuesday. The Bucks did not work him out.

Or, depending on circumstances, maybe even sharp-shooting guard Stephen Curry of Davidson could fall to 10. If enough of the point guards went early, the Bucks would not object to seeing Arizona power forward Jordan Hill available at No. 10, although the Basketball gods would have to be smiling on the Bucks for that to happen. UCLA point guard Jrue Holiday has evolved into one of the draft's wild cards.

The Bucks aren't ruling out the possibility of making another trade - a deal with Dallas involving Luke Ridnour and Jerry Stackhouse is on the grapevine - but they are content to stand pat.

"If we could move up, there's always a cost associated with it," said director of scouting Billy McKinney. "Somebody wanting some of the pieces you have to move up. Right now, we're looking at realistically that we could be at 10. We'll continue to explore options of moving up. People are trying to move up from behind us as well. We'll explore all options to try and make us better. But the likelihood of us staying at 10 I think is pretty good."

The Bucks are keeping an open mind as the draft approaches.

"All you can do is be prepared for every different scenario and we feel like we are," said McKinney.

NBA draft

When: 6:30 tonight

TV: ESPN

Bucks : First pick about 7:20 p.m.

JSOnline.com

Follow draft night with round-by-round updates and interviews from the Bucks' brass on jsonline.com/Bucks

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)


Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: June 26, 2009

 

 
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