Bucks' offseason will be busy


by Andrew Coughlin

There is little doubt that Milwaukee Bucks GM John Hammond will have a very interesting and very busy off-season.

Apart from finding a new head coach to lead a very young team, he will have to piece together a back-court that has the possibility of being entirely new or to sign two of their three free agent guards.

 Acquired at this years trade deadline, J.J. Redick is an unrestricted free agent.  Brandon Jennings is a restricted free agent, meaning the Bucks can match any offer he receives from another team.  Jennings had a tumultuous season, struggling to adjust to the acquisition of Redick despite having an outstanding first half of the year. 

Monta Ellis has a player option for $11 million that is pivotal in what the Bucks off-season moves will look like. 

If he leaves the option on the table, the Bucks could have over $20 million in cap space to make moves on deep free agent class.  If he exercises the option, the Bucks would probably attempt to sign one of the other two free agent guards.

My guess is: Milwaukee will go after Ellis, even if he declines the option and then sign Redick and fellow unrestricted free agent Mike Dunleavy, leaving Jennings the odd man out.  Jennings looks like he wants out of Milwaukee and it might be time for both parties to go their separate ways.  The three guard experiment didn't work and Ellis and Redick just makes more sense here.

Milwaukee's front-court not only looks set for the future, it looks promising.  Ersan Ilyasova is locked up.  Larry Sanders came out of nowhere after having two very questionable first years and John Henson, once he fills out and adjusts to NBA big man speed, looks like he can ball.

The Bucks haven't had a pair of young, athletic bigs this promising since....actually....I can't remember them having a young, athletic front-court tandem like this in recent memory.

The progress of Sanders, especially the defensive side of his game, changes everything for Milwaukee this off-season and moving forward.  What would have been a glaring weakness is now a possible strength.  With Sanders manning the middle and Henson showing glimpses of what could be, Hammond will not have to concern himself with the Bucks interior defense in the long term.  He can now concentrate on shoring up his back-court and finding a new coach to harness this young, yet talented team.

Hiring a new head coach will probably be Hammond's first order of business.  Here's a list of a few possible candidates for the Bucks' coaching vacancy:

Mike Budenholzer - Assistant coach - San Antonio Spurs

Alvin Gentry - Former head coach - Phoenix Suns

Nate McMillan - Former head coach - Portland Trail Blazers

Eric Musselman - Associate head coach - Arizona St. University

Kelvin Sampson - Assistant coach - Houston Rockets

Brian Shaw - Associate head coach - Indiana Pacers

Stan Van Gundy - Former head coach - Orlando Magic


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