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Presto Change-o...a new look Bucks

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Don't be surprised if you see Milwaukee Bucks General Manager John Hammond on 'America's Got Talent' sometime soon.

Hammond is a bit of a magician.

He is two parts Houdini and one part David Copperfield.

Hammond showed off a bit of his sleight-of-hand prowess prior to the NBA Draft held on Thursday night.

There was some misdirection, some good, old horse trading and...Poof!...the mistakes of 2010 just disappeared.

The mistakes were taking on the too-hefty contract of Corey Maggette and signing John Salmons to a new, too-hefty deal after the team made the playoffs in 2009.

Maggette didn't ever pay the dividend that was promised and Salmons got hurt from the jump in training camp and never got back to contributing like he did when first acquired from Chicago.

Rather than stand pat and cross his fingers, Hammond decided to cut his losses (and that huge salary cap hit) by leveraging his No. 10 selection and the above-mentioned players in a three-team deal with the Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats.

Because the trade was not announced until the second round, Bucks Nation got prematurely excited at the prospects of Jimmer Fredette of BYU was taken and he donned a Bucks cap and posed for a picture with Commisioner David Stern.

But he will only be a footnote in franchise history as Tobias Harris, the freshman from Bruce Pearl's Tennessee Volunteers will be lacing 'em up after being taken at No. 19.

Then, Hammond thought global but picked local at No. 40 when Wisconsin work-horse Jon Leuer became a Buck as well.

This was really a case of addition by subtraction with the added bonus of reducing the team's salary footprint in one fell swoop.

Hammond had to take on a volatile personality in Guard Stephen Jackson, but added Shaun Livingston and the steal (in my opinion) Beno Udrih to complete the transaction.

Their collective contracts will smart quite a bit less and for a shorter period of time so it truly is a win-win-win for the Bucks.

Udrih will become, in effect, the return of a Luke Ridnour to ease the burden on starting point guard Brandon Jennings. He is a perfect complement to Jennings as Jackson will be to Carlos Delfino, who finally got untracked at the end of last season after suffering a concussion.

The moves by Hammond, magical though they may be, will not spell instant success, however.

A return to the playoffs remains the ultimate goal.

Then the Bucks can build on that success and work their way into contention.

Do not look for them to challenge Miami or Chicago in the Eastern Conference. Or pull off a Maverick-like miracle.

Patience is the virtue in play here, especially because the 'L' word -- Lockout -- is staring the NBA in the face on July 1st.

Kudos to Marquette's Jimmy Butler, who taken by the hated Bulls with the 30th Pick in the first round. It was the second straight year an MU player was tabbed in the final slot (Lazar Wayward).

As with all player drafts in all sports, time will tell just how affective the young men taken will be.

There were no real impact players in this year's class, but there are a lot of contributors.

While the 'Wow Factor' may have been non-existent, my guess if you will see many of these names on rosters for years to come.

You may follow me at www.Facebook.com/cpeppas1, www.Twitter.com/cpchrispeppas or read all about it at http://peptalkbycp.blogspot.com.

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