The Milwaukee Bucks are still into Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith and appear determined to trade for him. The Bucks reportedly want to offer shooting guard Monta Ellis straight up for Smith before the Feb. 21 NBA deadline ends.
Ellis has allegedly stated that he does not want to return to Milwaukee next season and would prefer to forgo his $11 million extension in favor of trying his luck in free agency for the first time in his career. This could be a sketchy move in the sense that Ellis will most likely not get more than $11 million per season in a multi-year deal with a new team. However, with this in mind the Bucks have to do whatever they can to trade the 27-year-old in order to get some value in return for him.
Milwaukee is in desperate need of a small forward and Smith is the best player on the market at that position. The Bucks feel that if they can get someone solid to play at the three spot they should be able to rise up the Eastern Conference standings. The Hawks, on the other hand, realize they will probably not re-sign Smith at the end of this season and the soon-to-be free agent will test out the market. Atlanta also believes they have the financial capability to re-sign Ellis if they trade for him.
There are still two other teams interested in Smith, the Brooklyn Nets and Phoenix Suns, but Ellis appears to be the best offer the Hawks will get. He would bring scoring to a position that Atlanta has not got a lot of production out of this year. Not to mention, he could work nicely with point guard Jeff Teague, who is similar to Brandon Jennings, but a way better shooter. The Hawks could also utilize Ellis better than the Bucks have by giving him the ball in different spots on the court.
I understand that fans in Milwaukee may be wondering why the organization would trade for a player that will most likely leave the team once the season concludes. The point of the trade is to play for this season. The Bucks have to believe that with Smith they can contend in the East and make a magical run through the postseason. Considering Ellis is probably going to skip town at the end of the season means the team has nothing to lose.
If Milwaukee were able to pull this deal off then they would have the option to either start Mike Dunleavy at shooting guard, which is a very smart choice, or trade Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and a first-round draft pick to the Orlando Magic for J.J. Redick.