Friday, June 27, 2008

Nets trade RJ

No picks ahead of Thursday's draft were involved the deal.

The biggest prize in the trade is the high-flying Jefferson, who averaged a career-high 22.6 points last season.

"Richard Jefferson is a hard-working, proven, dynamic performer at the forward position," Bucks general manager John Hammond. "He's an aggressive player with terrific credentials over his career.

"He's been a winner, having gone to the playoffs in six of his seven seasons, and we're excited to bring him to Milwaukee."

For the Nets, the biggest benefit of the deal is salary-cap relief.

Having traded disgruntled point guard Jason Kidd in February, moving Jefferson's maxed-out contract that has three years and $42 million remaining would create an estimated $10 million in long-term savings for the Nets.

Simmons' contract expires after the 2008-09 season, and Yi has only about $7 million left on his contract for the next two years.

Simmons, 28, spent two awful seasons in Milwaukee after fleecing the Bucks for a five-year, $47 million contract. The small forward struggled with various injuries last season, averaging 7.6 points in 70 games.

The move to New Jersey allows the 6-11 Yi to play in a bigger media market, something he wanted to do before being drafted by the Bucks sixth overall last season. The 20-year-old Chinese big man, who has been compared to Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, averaged 8.6 points and 5.2 rebounds last season.

"We feel that Yi can be a very special player," Nets president Rod Thorn said. "He is a 20-year-old seven footer who shoots the ball extremely well, and he is an excellent addition to our frontcourt."

Jefferson, 28, gives new coach Scott Skiles a veteran presence and a slasher to go along with sharpshooter Michael Redd, who also has been on the trading block.

Selected 13th overall in 2001, the 6-7 Jefferson helped the Nets reach a pair of NBA Finals. He has career averages of 17.4 points, 5.4 assists and 3.0 assists in 489 games.

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