The Milwaukee Bucks pulled off the 2nd biggest trade heist of 2008 (after Pau Gasol).
Talk about your lop-sided trades. According to ESPN, the Milwaukee Bucks have shipped Yi Jianlin and Bobby Simmons to the New Jersey Nets in exchange for Richard Jefferson.
Let me put it another way - the Bucks traded a soft PF (Yi) and an incredibly overpaid journeyman SF (Bobby) for a solid locker-room leader and All-Star (Richard).
You’re probably asking yourself how this type of deal happens. Simple. Kiki Vandeweghe. The same Kiki Vandeweghe that bid against himself when trading for Kenyon Martin. The same Kiki Vandeweghe that drafted Nikoloz Tskitishvili. The same Kiki Vandeweghe that traded the rights to Jameer Nelson for Julius Hodge.
Don’t get me wrong - I think Yi Jianlian has an upside. However, contrary to popular belief, I doubt he’ll ever turn into Dirk Nowitzki. I see him bearing more resemblance to Troy Murphy - a solid player, but no all-star. My problem is that New Jersey clearly could have gotten more for Jefferson. How about Barbosa and Diaw, for instance? The Nets lack a PF (Boone is too young to start, Kristic is too slow to play PF), and Diaw could have filled that need quite well. Pairing Barbosa and Devin Harris together would have given New Jersey the fastest back court in the league and fueled a tremendous transition game. V.C. could have played SF and been the go-to guy in the half court.
Lamar Odom might have been a good trade option too - assuming NJ could have picked up a complementary piece like Sasha Vujacic or Ronny Turiaf as part of the deal.
Then there’s Detroit - a team desperate to add an athletic SF and scorer. Tell me RJ couldn’t have been had in exchange for Rasheed Wallace (the PF New Jersey needs) or some combo of Tayshaun Prince and a young talented big (like Maxiell or Amir Johnson)?
Josh Howard might have been available too, but perhaps that’s wishful thinking.
I realize that the Nets did this deal to clear salary cap room for 2010 so they could take a run at Lebron. However, considering the Knicks will also have cap room at that time, and that the Cavs can offer LBJ the best deal of any team in the league, it seems foolish to trade one of today’s better small forwards for a chance at signing Lebron two years from now. What if (God forbid) LBJ gets hurt? NJ gives up Richard Jefferson for a pipe dream.
I guess my problem is that I don’t understand why this deal is being executed now. Seems to me that this deal would have been available all summer long. There aren’t any draft picks involved, and Milwaukee seems desperate to unload one of their many soft forwards (Simmons, Yi, Charlie V). At least that’s my opinion…perhaps there’s more to the story.