Once the NBA trade deadline strikes 3 p.m. eastern time, the biggest winner may be the Milwaukee Bucks.
Milwaukee is reportedly in hot pursuit of both Atlanta Hawks swingman Josh Smith and Orlando Magic guard J.J. Redick, according to several reports.
The Bucks “keep upping the ante” for Redick, according to Ken Berger of CBSSports.com, but he also states that move hinges on if Milwaukee can ship out guard Monta Ellis for Smith. Orlando was reportedly seeking a young prospect and a draft pick for the dead-eye shooter Redick.
Yahoo! Sports reporter Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted the Magic received several offers involving draft picks for Redick, but they were from playoff teams that would have ranged in the "20s" on the draft board.
Smith could also be on his way to Milwaukee, in a deal that would net Atlanta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh and other players, according to Yahoo! Sports. Point guard Devin Harris would also go to the Bucks. Several reports yesterday said Smith was open to playing in Milwaukee long-term.
Smith and Redick, along with point guard Brandon Jennings, could make serious noise come the playoffs, as the No. 8 seed Bucks scramble for position in the Eastern Conference.
Redick instantly improves Milwaukee’s three-point shooting, as the Bucks are 21st in the league. The high-flying Smith is one of the best defenders in the game, capable of guarding either forward position and his 2.1 blocks per game this season further pads a Milwaukee club that is first in the league in swats.
Adding both players may also prove to Jennings that Milwaukee is trying to build a contender now. The 23-year-old is a restricted free agent this summer, and is expected to garner a maximum deal. The Bucks must also consider Smith's reported demands for a max-level contract. Milwaukee will have about $30 million in cap space next season.
Ellis has an $11 million player option for next year, though Atlanta, already flux with cap space for this summer’s free agency period, may view his deal as an expiring contract. Several reports throughout the season suggested Ellis may opt-out of his deal and test the market for a more lucrative long-term deal.