NBA Trade Rumors: Milwaukee Bucks Playing Hardball; Make John Henson, Larry Sanders, Brandon Jennings ‘Nearly Untouchable’


Feb 20, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings (3) celebrates a basket during the third quarter against the Brooklyn Nets at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY SportsMarc Stein of ESPN reported that the Milwaukee Bucks will not make point guard Brandon Jennings (who will be a restricted free agent at season’s end), rookie John Henson and the NBA’s league leading shot blocker Larry Sanders available in any trades.

This comes on the heels of the news today that they had lowballed Magic GM Rob Hennigan by offering Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and a first-round pick for Magic 2-guard J.J. Redick. The Bucks have been rumored to be in the runnings for Redick all season, and if they’re unwilling to part with the valuable chips that they do have it’s unclear how John Hammond thinks Hennigan is just going to decide to help him out for the fun of it.

The Bucks have some nice pieces to move for Redick, or for any other players that Hammond may set his sites on. But they’re not going to acquire anything good without giving something equal up, and making Henson and Sanders unavailable means the Bucks basically are only willing to give up trash to acquire players of value. Sorry, John Hammond, but that just can’t happen.

Henson is a promising power forward to be sure, and he absolutely abused Chris Bosh earlier this season. But that is the caliber of player that needs to be available to acquire a player like Redick, who is coveted by a number of other NBA teams.

Henson drew rave reviews coming out of UNC, and at one point it was thought he could be selected in the high half of the lottery. He’s a capable shot blocker and has great timing and instincts, which should render him a successful power forward for years to come. He gave Chris Bosh absolute fits this season, as Henson grabbed 17 rebounds and scored 18 points. The Bucks lost, but the showing proved Henson could play with the best of them. Bosh had a big offensive game, too, but Henson stayed toe-to-toe with the All-Star.

Henson has scored in double figures nine times this season, and is posting extremely impressive per-minute production. Per-36, Henson is averaging 17 points and 12 rebounds, while also blocking 1.6 shots per-36.

Feb 20, 2013; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) has his shot blocked by Milwaukee Bucks center Larry Sanders (8) during the first quarter at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY SportsSanders should not be made available for any teams, because he’s one of the best defensive players in the NBA. He’s posting a PER of 18.70 and the VCU two-year starter has blossomed with an incased role this season. He’s sure to command over $10 million per season as a free agent this summer, in light of the fact that DeAndre Jordan was able to get such a contract with a similar skill set.

Rob Hennigan has teams to choose from as trade partners, and Stein’s report that Milwaukee is making Henson off-limits should be a clear enough indication that Hennigan should seek to take his talents elsewhere. The Bucks won’t pay for Redick.

I’d speculated about the type of deal it would take to acquire Redick, and the minimum requirements would be a deal including Mike Dunleavy’s $3.7 million expiring deal, Henson and a first-round draft pick. With Henson being declared nearly untouchable by Hammond, this can’t happen.

Jennings, meanwhile, refuted the report mentioned here on Presto last week that had indicated he would be seeking to leave Milwaukee due to “irreconcilable differences.” Jennings told ESPN via text message that too much was being made out of him changing his agent, and that the rumored discontent was simply untrue.

However, Jennings is going to be a restricted free agent and the Bucks are going to have to pay to keep him. Monta Ellis is expiring, too, which means the Bucks will have to split apart a backcourt that they were very excited to have built when they dealt Andrew Bogut for Monta last season.

It’s just curious that the Bucks’ three most coveted players are now notoriously unavailable per Stein’s report. Don’t expect to see any talent going to Wisconsin in the next 15 hours leading up to the 3 PM trade deadline tomorrow (Feb. 21).