NBA Roundtable

Trade: Oberto for Amir Johnson

In Trade Talk on June 24, 2009 at 7:49 am

Detroit receives: Fabricio Oberto

Milwaukee receives: Amir Johnson

The Report

Sean Deveney of Sporting News writes

A source tells Sporting News that the Bucks, after trading Richard Jefferson for a trio of Spurs-Fabricio Oberto, Bruce Bowen and Kurt Thomas-have traded Oberto to Detroit for young power forward Amir Johnson. A Bucks source has confirmed the deal.

Deveney continues

Milwaukee entered the offseason seeking to improve their depth at the power forward spot with the impending free agency of Charlie Villanueva. After the deal for Jefferson, the team was left with, basically, Kurt Thomas and Luc Mbah a Moute at the position, but moving Oberto for the 22-year-old Johnson gives the Bucks added depth, youth and athleticism.

The Bucks still have the No. 10 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft. The acquisition of Johnson pretty much eliminates the possibility that they’ll take a power forward, meaning Milwaukee could be looking for guard depth to gird themselves against the free agency of Ramon Sessions.

Yahoo! Sports reports the Pistons will buy out the final year of Oberto’s contract and allow him to become a free agent.

The Virtue Of The Trade

Detroit Pistons

The Pistons cut their salary commitments down from the $3.67 million Amir Johnson was due, down to $1.9 million for Fabricio Oberto. This is because only 50% of Oberto’s $3.8 million is guaranteed, and the Pistons plan on waiving him in order to free up that cash.

That money will be added to the Pistons cap space. Under a $57 million cap, the Pistons cap room has grown from $15.5 million to $17 million.

Milwaukee Bucks

Excellent get for the Bucks. Amir Johnson is very young and very athletic, he’s already a talented player and has considerable upside. He’s a good rebounder, a good team defender who needs to improve his one-on-one defense, and is a very efficient garbage man offensively. Johnson is going to be a great fit for the Bucks alongside Andrew Bogut next season.

I’m very happy for Amir too, because I think Scott Skiles is a great fit for him. Skiles is an expert defensive teacher and regularly helps his players improve on that end of the floor. The future of Amir Johnson’s career will come down to how good a defender he can become, it will either make or break him. Turn him into a 35 minutes $10mil per annum player, or a $4 million 15 minute a night player.

Final Thoughts

Why couldn’t Detroit trade Amir Johnson to a team below the salary cap?

They clearly couldn’t do it, or else they would have.

Why weren’t they able to get that done?

It’s mind-boggling to me that someone like Memphis, a team with a gargantuan gap at power forward wouldn’t come in and a cheap talented young big man like Amir Johnson.

Heck, the Pistons could have thrown in the $1.7 million they saved from this trade, and made it doubly brilliant for Memphis, because Detroit’s extra cap savings would have made it worthwhile for them.

It’s depressing news to hear that Amir Johnson is valued so lowly throughout the association.

The extra cap space

To give up Amir Johnson for only $1.77 million of extra cap space seems a bit strange.

I think it indicates that Joe Dumars has a plan in place and only needed a small bit more wiggle room to get things done.

I’d like to see Joe Dumars go out and sign Marcin Gortat and Carlos Boozer to solidify his interior. That would be nice combination, and it would help turn the Pistons back into a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference.

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