Remembering RJ: June 26, 2008 - June 23, 2009

Thanks for the memories RJ, I barely knew you.

While one TBDS writer is making a mockery of the NBA Draft and the other is wishing big wishes for a former Saluki (in an excellent written blog may I add), I am left in a state of shock and confusion.

It didn't have to end this way for Richard Jefferson and the Milwaukee Bucks. But on June 23, the Bucks once again prove they are scared to win now. A team always set on looking to the future completely ignored they had the future on their team already.

Jefferson played all 82 games for the Bucks, connected on a career-high 39 percent of his 3-point attempts and averaged close to 20 points per game. He took leadership in the locker room and demanded accountability from his teammates. And while the club did not make the postseason, it was a refreshing change of pace from the 2007-08 Milwaukee Bucks.

I had faith in John Hammond to take the reigns of this team and make the necessary moves to put a competitive squad on the floor. On Tuesday, my faith was shaken when he shipped out RJ to San Antonio for Bruce Bowen, Kurt Thomas and Fabricio Oberto.

While I realize Jefferson had a rich contract, he was worth every penny. He played great defense, great offense and was a great team player. Oh yeah, by the way ... he is 28. Last time I checked, 28 was a great age for an NBA player. How the Bucks did not realize Jefferson could be the star player they have been looking for is beyond me.

Instead, they picked up three expiring contracts in hopes of signing a star in the 2010 offseason just like every other team wants to do. But Jefferson is a star, and he was a Buck.

As a Milwaukee Buck fan, there is usually little to cheer about and not much of an arsenal when it comes to debating fans of other teams, but being able to say Richard Jefferson was a Buck was a point of pride last season. I am sad to see him go as I was looking very much forward to being a big fan of his for years to come.

But my life as a Bucks fan must go on and that means it's time to take a look at what the team has.

Bowen, 38, is a defensive specialist and good three-point shooter. It will be nice to see the team have a little more energy on the defensive end. Kurt Thomas will also be a nice addition defensively as well. But the problem is they are all going to be 35 or older next season and Thomas and Oberto average about 5 points per game.

With the likely departure of Ramon Sessions and Charlie Villanueva this offseason, that leaves Michael Redd and Andrew Bogut as the team's lone source of offense. The Bucks are going to need to lean a lot more on Charlie Bell and hope Mbah a Moute adds a jumpshot to his game while Alexander comes back with a chip on his shoulder.

While I am examining the severe lack of offense, now would be a good time to say the Portland Trailblazers offered some sort of package involving Travis Outlaw, Rudy Fernandez or a first round pick for Jefferson at the trade deadline. While that also would have been heartbreaking, it would have been better than what the Bucks settled for.

Normally I don't like to dedicate a full blog to the team I cheer for, but in this case, it was the biggest news in the NBA today and a sad day in this basketball fan's life. The one nice thing about this is that Bowen, Thomas and Oberto are all "Skiles-made" players. They are tough, defensive minded veterans. But tough defensive-minded veterans are supposed to be the supporting cast for young, athletic game changers. And the Bucks just lost one.

I was hoping to write about the major trades that could and should happen on draft night. And now more than ever, the Bucks need to have a great draft night. So while I spend the rest of the night being sad for the Bucks, I will be back tomorrow, proud to be a Milwaukee fan and ready to give some last minute advice to general managers for draft night.

I just hope John Hammond is reading.