NBA

Bucks deal 2 players to Bulls for G Salmons

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MILWAUKEE (AP)

Milwaukee Bucks general manager John Hammond wanted to add another scoring threat to take some of the pressure off of rookie Brandon Jennings, even if it meant helping a division rival clear salary cap space to go shopping in free agency this summer.

Hammond sent forwards Hakim Warrick and Joe Alexander - and, more important, their expiring contracts - to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for guard John Salmons on Thursday, adding a veteran player who showed he can be counted on to score in a playoff series against Boston last year.

That's something the Bucks could use right now.

``We have had issues at times, especially starting games - how can we find ways to score points if by chance Andrew (Bogut) isn't scoring early or Brandon's not having the chance to hit some early shots,'' Hammond said. ``We've had difficulty. And once again, I think John's the kind of player that's proven he can score.''

The Bucks also obtained the Bulls' second-round picks in 2011 and 2012, along with the option to switch first-round picks in the 2010 draft - provided that Chicago's pick isn't in the top 10.

Hammond then made another move before Thursday's deadline, sending rookie guard Jodie Meeks and center Francisco Elson to Philadelphia for Royal Ivey, center Primoz Brezec and a second-round pick in the 2010 draft.

It will be Ivey's second stint in Milwaukee, having played in a career-high 75 games - including 20 starts - and averaging 5.6 points per game in the 2007-08 season.

Hammond said the 76ers expressed an interest in Meeks almost immediately after Milwaukee took him in the second round of last year's draft.

``I can tell you that when we drafted Jodie, the Sixers were a team that called us maybe 10 minutes after that pick,'' Hammond said. ``So they've liked him, they've coveted him. So he's in a place where he, I think, has a chance to be successful.''

But the Bucks' main target was Salmons, who averaged just over 12 points in 51 games for the Bulls this season. He is scheduled to make $5.8 million next season if he doesn't opt out of his contract.

``We would love to have him here for two more years, and think that he could be really a very good asset to our team,'' Hammond said. ``We need some more scoring, and he's a proven scorer in this league.''

Salmons averaged 18.3 points per game in stints with Sacramento and Chicago last season, and made his mark in the Bulls' playoff series against Boston - including a 35-point performance in Game 6.

``He's a good pro guard,'' Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. ``He's been a solid player for quite a while, and we feel like we still need to solidify one of our perimeter spots, especially with Michael (Redd) out. So it made sense.''

Given Redd's uncertain future after yet another serious knee injury, is Salmons an insurance policy?

``No question whatsoever,'' Hammond said.

Hammond said he was hesitant to trade with a division rival, but figured the Bulls could have unloaded Salmons' salary elsewhere. And he couldn't pass on the opportunity to acquire another scorer.

``I think that you could safely say that if they didn't move John to us, they might have had a chance to move him somewhere else,'' Hammond said. ``So yeah, you do hesitate, and that does bother you, but at the end of the day you have to do what's best for you and your organization.''

In the process, the Bucks cut ties with Alexander, their No. 8 overall pick in 2008.

Despite his disappointing and injury-plagued career to date, Hammond praised Alexander for his professional attitude.

``It is now over, and we move forward, and hopefully at the end of the day it's going to be the right decision for us,'' Hammond said. ``And I think it's going to be the right decision for Joe. We want nothing but good things for him, he deserves it.''

Tagged: Celtics, Bulls, Bucks, 76ers, John Salmons, Michael Redd, Royal Ivey, Joe Alexander, Brandon Jennings, Jodie Meeks

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