MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks are sure happy to see veteran center Samuel Dalembert in town.
The Bucks traded Jon Leuer, Jon Brockman and Shaun Livingston to the Rockets to get Dalembert, and the two teams also traded draft picks, which Milwaukee used to get North Carolina forward John Henson.
General manager John Hammond said interior defense was a big problem for the Bucks, who went 31-35 last season and struggled after center Andrew Bogut was lost for the season with an ankle injury. Bogut was eventually traded to Golden State for guard Monta Ellis.
"We needed help at that center position," Hammond said Monday as Dalembert was formally introduced by the team. "Someone that can protect the basket, get that 'need' rebound down the stretch to help us close the game out. I think (Dalembert) can do that for us."
Without Bogut, the Bucks were forced to move power forward Drew Gooden into the starting center role. Gooden was often overmatched against bigger, stronger and more physical centers, but now the Bucks have added the 6-11 Dalembert to a group of big men that includes Larry Sanders and Epke Udoh.
"It's hard to comment on a rotation and things like that in July but Sam was brought here to be the starting center for the Milwaukee Bucks," coach Scott Skiles said. "That's what he's here for. Drew is a quality NBA player and hopefully, if we can get him back into a role he's more comfortable with, hopefully it can help him individually and then help the roles of everybody else along the way."