MILWAUKEE (AP) — On an NBA trade deadline that lacked star-power, the Bucks believe they made a deal that will help them lock down a playoff spot and move up the Eastern Conference ladder.
Milwaukee acquired shooting guard J.J. Redick from the Orlando Magic along with point guard Ishmael Smith and center Gustavo Ayon in exchange for backup point guard Beno Udrih and youngsters Tobias Harris and Doron Lamb.
The move, general manager John Hammond said Friday, is a "win-now" proposition for a team currently in the eighth and final playoff spot in the East..
"This comes down to us trying to win; us trying to remain competitive," Hammond said. "We're hoping to get an uptick from this. We haven't been playing quite as well lately and we're hoping we can at least solidify this eight-spot. We'd like to move up, try to get the seven, the six ... whatever we can do. This, for us, trying to get a piece like J.J. is about us trying to win games."
Milwaukee has had an up-and-down season and parted ways with coach Scott Skiles on Jan. 9. The Bucks started 8-3 under Skiles' replacement, Jim Boylan, but have gone 2-8 since, and take a 26-27 record into their game Saturday night against Atlanta.
Still, Milwaukee has a 3 1/2-game lead over Philadelphia for the final playoff spot, and by adding Redick, who is having the best season of his seven-year career, to a backcourt that includes Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, Hammond thinks the team could hit its stride.
In 50 games with Orlando this season, Redick is averaging a career-high 15.2 points, 4.4 assists and 2.4 rebound in 31.5 minutes. A 45 percent shooter (262-582), Redick has also hit 117 of 300 3-point attempts.
Playing with Jennings and Ellis, who have combined for 40 percent of Milwaukee's total shots and 38 percent of the team's points won't be a problem for Redick, who thinks his game will be a complement in the Milwaukee backcourt.
"I don't need the ball in my hands a lot," Redick said. "I don't need a lot of touches; a lot of dribbles. That's not my game."
Hammond also sees more in Redick than just a shooter.
"People think that because he shoots so well that he's just kind of a stand still shooter and has no other abilities beside that," Hammond said. "He's a quality ball handler, a good passer and he's made himself into a very good defender and a really tough, competitive guy."
Redick is making $6.3 million this year and will become an unrestricted free agent in the summer. Ellis can also become a free agent should he not exercise an $11 million player option and Jennings' rookie contract expires at the end of the season, making him a restricted free agent.
The Bucks have enough room under the cap to purse all three, Hammond said.
"He'll have a chance to get to know us, we'll have a chance to get to know him and that does play into it," Hammond said. "We have other players that could be, will be free agents this upcoming summer. The great thing is we're in a position where we can address issues like that. We have no financial restrictions as we move forward in that regard. We're going to be under the cap, we could be significantly under the cap."
Milwaukee was mentioned in several trade scenarios, including possible deals including Ellis or Jennings.
"Everybody's name was being thrown out there," Jennings said. "I really thought we were going to get Josh Smith. Just the fact the trade talks said he wanted to play in Milwaukee and things like that. It didn't happen, so we have to see Josh Smith tomorrow."
Hammond dismissed the speculation.
"There was never a true offer on the table from Atlanta," he said. "They never said this is exactly what it will take to get a deal done, but we just continued to negotiate, talk and exchange ideas until the very last moment. It was a possibility."
Parting with Harris and Lamb — Milwaukee's first and second round choices over the last two years — was not an easy decision. The team was high on Harris, the 19th overall pick in 2011 after just one season at Tennessee, but his minutes dwindled after Boylan took over. Lamb was the Bucks' second-rounder out of Kentucky last summer and has seen limited action while making two stints in the D-League.
"Both are really good guys and both are guys that I think have a chance to be in this league for a long time," Hammond said. "You do look up and you don't know what it's going to look like in a few years. But his is kind of more about trying to win now."