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News » Bucks are forward thinking Johnson makes quick exit to bring in Delfino 2009-08-19

Bucks are forward thinking Johnson makes quick exit to bring in Delfino 2009-08-19

Bucks are forward thinking  Johnson makes quick exit to bring in Delfino  2009-08-19

So long, Amir Johnson.

The power forward's days in Milwaukee were numbered - at 55, to be precise.

In a sign-and-trade deal worked out between the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto Raptors, Johnson and guard Sonny Weems will head to Toronto, while Milwaukee will receive small forward Carlos Delfino and guard Roko Ukic, a team source confirmed Monday.

The 6-foot-6-inch Delfino is the key man in the trade for the Bucks , a player who can provide depth at small forward, still a major concern after the departure of veteran Richard Jefferson in a June 23 trade. That was the same deal that netted Johnson from the Detroit Pistons.

But the 6-9 Johnson became more expendable in the Bucks' thinking after they signed free agent Hakim Warrick to a one-year, $3 million deal earlier this month. Warrick will have a chance to gain a starting spot at power forward.

The Bucks also are encouraged by the development of young power forward Ersan Ilyasova, who signed a three-year deal earlier this summer, and they have veteran Kurt Thomas to provide depth at power forward and center.

Delfino's contract is expected to be a three-year deal, according to sources. Johnson is scheduled to make $3.66 million next season in the final year of a three-year contract he signed with Detroit in the summer of 2007.

Delfino, who will turn 27 later this month, is quite familiar to Bucks general manager John Hammond, who was in the Detroit front office when the Pistons drafted him in the first round (25th overall) in 2003.

Delfino played three seasons in Detroit before being traded to the Raptors for a pair of second-round draft picks in the summer of 2007.

In one season with Toronto, Delfino averaged 9.0 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists while playing in all 82 games during the 2007-'08 season. He also averaged 8.6 points as Toronto lost a five-game playoff series to Orlando.

Toronto retained his NBA rights, but he played last season for BC Khimki in Russia. The global financial crisis put Khimki and several other Russian teams in serious difficulty, and Delfino had his European contract bought out, sources indicated.

The Raptors were seeking to deal Delfino after obtaining forward Hedo Turkoglu via a sign-and-trade during the current off-season, drafting small forward DeMar DeRozan and adding wing players Marco Belinelli and Antoine Wright.

Delfino has played for various Argentine youth national teams and also was a member of Argentina's gold-medal winning team at the 2004 Athens Olympics.

When the Bucks open training camp in late September, they will have second-year players Joe Alexander and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute in the mix at the small forward spot, along with Delfino.

Michael Redd, Charlie Bell and rookie Jodie Meeks are the primary players at the shooting guard position.

Ukic, a 24-year-old from Croatia, averaged 4.2 points and 2.1 assists for Toronto in his rookie year last season. Ukic averaged 12.4 minutes while appearing in 72 games as a backup to Raptors point guard Jose Calderon.

Copyright 2009, Journal Sentinel Inc. All rights reserved. (Note: This notice does not apply to those news items already copyrighted and received through wire services or other media.)

Author: Fox Sports
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Added: August 19, 2009


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