The Bobcats sent top scorer Stephen Jackson to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-way trade involving the Sacramento Kings that gave Charlotte two picks in the top nine of the NBA Draft on Thursday.
Charlotte got the No. 7 overall pick from Sacramento — forward Bismack Biyombo from the Congo — and forward Corey Maggette from Milwaukee. The Bobcats also drafted UConn guard Kemba Walker ninth.
Milwaukee picked guard Jimmer Fredette with the 10th pick and sent his rights to Sacramento along with guard John Salmons.
The Bobcats sent 19th pick Tobias Harris to the Bucks, who also received Charlotte guard Shaun Livingston and Sacramento guard Beno Udrih.
In the deal struck just hours before the draft, the Bobcats shed more payroll and got younger, a familiar theme of late for owner Michael Jordan.
Last year, the Bobcats allowed guard Raymond Felton to leave in free agency and traded Tyson Chandler to Dallas to clear salary-cap space. In February, the Bobcats traded the franchise’s only All-Star, Gerald Wallace, to Portland for two first-round picks.
The 33-year-old Jackson, who averaged 18.5 points last season, is the latest to go following a disappointing 34-48 season that saw coach Larry Brown fired and replaced by Paul Silas.
The sometimes volatile Jackson, who is owed nearly $20 million over the next two seasons, has a similar deal with Maggette, who is to receive just over $21 million over the next two years. Livingston, who has worked his way back from a serious knee injury, is owed $3.5 million next season.
The moves give the Bobcats two high picks in what is considered a weak draft while also shedding future payroll. The Bobcats are hoping to make a splash in free agency in the summer of 2012.
The Bucks were the worst-shooting, lowest-scoring team in the NBA last season, averaging just 91.9 points per game. Salmons, who came in a trade deadline deal two seasons ago, sparked Milwaukee to its first playoff berth in four seasons and a 22-8 record down the stretch.
But after he signed a $40 million, five-year deal in the offseason, he slumped to 14 points per game and failed to provide the dynamic scoring the Bucks had hoped for.
Maggette was a bad fit from the start after needing ankle surgery that slowed him early in training camp. When he returned, he failed to break in as the sixth man in the rotation and was left with little playing time, no real role and a bloated contract.
The money-losing Kings were able to unload Udrih, who averaged 13.7 points a game last season, but is owed nearly $22 million over the next three seasons.
Harris worked out for the Bucks earlier in June and turns 19 next month. He’ll be given time to develop behind Jackson for a team that’s in need of talented scorers.
Harris played just one season at Tennessee, where he averaged 15.3 points. He was a finalist for the 2010 Naismith High School Player of the Year Award and competed in McDonald’s All-America game.
”Tobias Harris welcome to Milwaukee …. congrats,” Bucks point guard Brandon Jennings posted on Twitter.
Milwaukee also held the 40th pick in the draft.
The Bucks could use an eye-popping scorer like Fredette, who averaged 28.9 points his senior season at BYU and won nearly every collegiate national player of the year honor, after being the worst-shooting, lowest-scoring team in the NBA last year.
Instead, they’ll receive the three veterans in a trade — similar to what happened 13 years ago in the 1998 draft.
That year, Milwaukee selected Dirk Nowitzki ninth overall, but had already agreed to trade his rights and those of the 19th pick, Pat Garrity, for Robert ”Tractor” Traylor, who was the sixth selection of the draft.
Nowitzki went on to be a star and eventual NBA champion this year with the Mavericks. Traylor lasted just parts of two seasons in Milwaukee before being traded and started just 73 games over seven seasons before his NBA career ended.
Even Garrity made a bigger impact on the league than Traylor did.