Sonny Weems Traded to the Milwaukee Bucks

The Denver Post has confirmed the Denver Nuggets have agreed to send Sonny Weems and the recently acquired Walter Sharpe to the Milwaukee Bucks for Malik Allen. My initial reaction is…why? Allen clearly does not have the upside of Weems, or even Sharpe for that matter. The only real skill Allen has is his ability to hit the open jumper.

Financially this deal will save the Nuggets $172,840 in salary and an equal amount in luxury tax. $345,680 is nothing to sneeze at, trust me I wish I had that much in my bank account right now, but it also is not an amount of money that you would give up a talented player like Sonny Weems for.

Weems has shown that he still has a long ways to go before he fulfills his potential. During the Nuggets fifth summer league game George Karl listed off a bevy of concerns about Weems’ game, plays out of control, does not know a good shot from a bad one, does not commit to defense, but then he also said that Weems and Arron Afflalo would be fighting for the minutes that Dahntay Jones played last season in camp. As a side note, Afflalo is clearly the backup to J.R. Smith now although he always had a big advantage over Weems thanks to his ability to play defense.

Weems did not shoot the ball well in Las Vegas, but he rebounded like a big man and showed some growth on defense even from just a couple of months ago when he played in the D-League finals with the team formerly known as the Colorado 14ers.

Many of us have watched Weems and seen a comparison between him and J.R. Smith. Weems does not have Smith’s range, but he is an explosive athlete, capable of playing good defense and contributing to a good team. So I keep asking myself why.

As I said in my post discussing the original rumor, I do not see Allen getting very many minutes with Denver.  Even if Weems and Sharpe did not appear to be contributors for next season, neither does Allen.

One thing we know is that the Nuggets front office has been highly competent over the previous couple of seasons.  I think we can conclude that this trade is not as much about the personnel as it is building towards something else. What that is I have no idea.

The Nuggets now have 11 players under contract with Linas Kleiza and Anthony Carter still floating around out there. Assuming they resigned Carter and still have their eye on one more player that would put them at the league minimum of 13 players on the roster. Perhaps the Nuggets wanted to be at 13 players instead of 14. However, that makes little sense because as noted above if players 13 and 14 are Weems and Sharpe, they only cost $345,680 more in salary and tax payments than having Allen as your thirteenth man on the roster.

The only rational explanation I can come up with is the Nuggets are working on something that will bring in more than one player. What that is I have no idea, but this trade is certainly a move with the intention of setting up something else. It has to be, because if it isn’t it makes no sense to me at all.

From the Bucks point of view, I think they did this deal to acquire Weems, not to dump salary as the original rumor postulated.  The inclusion of Sharpe in the transaction prevents the Bucks from saving much money by waiving Weems.

In conclusion, for those of you who love reading the Collective Bargaining Agreement you will wonder how Sharpe can be traded with Weems so soon after the Nuggets acquired him. The rule is a player cannot be traded with another player for two months after he is initially acquired via trade or signed off of waivers. The Nuggets and Bucks can get around this by using trade exceptions. Milwaukee apparently has a trade exception of $1.853 million and we all know about the Nuggets trade exceptions. Denver c an easily fit Allen in what remains of the Atkins exception and in return will receive two trade exceptions back from Milwaukee for $736,420, which will both be practically useless.

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  • runningdonut

    Wow. Wasn’t the $350k saved in this trade about equal to the cash received from Detroit in the Afflalo deal? This reeks of another Juwan Howard / Steven Hunter mistake

    Why did we hate Weems so much? His contract was extremely low risk. Him and Sharpe weren’t on course to contribute next year but… Malik Allen? This guy is not going to run the floor or help Nene defend big guys. In fact, if K-Mart astays healthy and Birdman improves his offensive game, he should not have to see the floor ever. Wasn’t that the plan for those 2? Why forfeit an asset like Weems for this kind of insurance. It’s not like we are overloaded with roster space.

    I would guess we are bringing Coby Karl or another minimum salary SG in now, but we could have done that and kept Sonny anyways. Denver still needs an impact big man if they hope to improve next year. Here’s to hoping this is part of something bigger.

  • runningdonut

    A few years ago Denver traded a non-contributing veteran for a cheap raw talent with a crazy streak. It turned out pretty well

    Why they would put themselves on the other end of that deal now is baffling.

  • Frontrange

    I think it is likely Denver is aiming for 13 players and this helps them get there and shed a little cash. Clearly the only way to get Affalo was to take Sharpe and the cost of getting rid of Sharpe was Weems. I liked his upside, but honestly, upside players like him are sort of dime a dozen (Isn’t Von Wafer still unsigned, how about Bonzi Wells . .not really, but you get my point). It is not like Weems was gauranteed to be more than a D-leaguer. I wish him the best, but I don’t think this is in the same mold as a legit NBA player (Smith) who clashed with his coaches.

    Hopefully, every dollar saved here and there (Weems, Blair, Affalo = ~2.7M) can go back into investing in a starting caliber level player . . .

  • sleepydog

    I was never really sold on Weems, whenever he got into a game he just seemed to be lost, or decide to throw up jumpers hoping they go in and make him look good. That said, I’ve never payed close attention to him, but Allen never really impressed me.

    I think we’ll probably try and bring in Coby Karl to fill Weems’ spot, and honestly I’m ok with that. From what I hear he’s done almost as well as Weems in the summer league, and this way we get another big man to at least compete for some time. Not having enough big men was a big complaint from all the fans last year, and now we’ve (kind of) addressed it just for giving up a D-leaguer with “potential.”

  • runningdonut

    Ruminated on this trade for a bit, got drunk and the ruminated some more. Still does not make sense to me. There’s got to be something else in the works, I hope

  • eric.yates

    I’m at a loss why people are so high on Weems too. If we can agree that he wasn’t going to contribute this year, then why not get rid of him and Sharpe’s contract? Upside, like Frontrange said is only a word. you have to put in the work and there was too much about his game that Karl hated.

    I still feel like there’s something that has to be brewing with Steven Hunter now. If Allen is the fourth big man, why keep a fifth for $3.8M. There has to be someone who wants that cap space for 2010.

  • C.G.

    I am fine with the deal. We can’t expect Martin and Nene to maintain the level of health they did last season. We needed another big who could bring different skills to the table than Birdman and Petro. I don’t expect Allen to play much when everyone is healthy maybe 5-10 mpg if that but our frontline was really thin if Nene or Martin were to miss significant time this year.