Originally posted on Fox Sports Wisconsin  |  Last updated 2/20/13
The closer the calendar gets to Thursday's NBA trade deadline, the more rumors get thrown against the wall, with only a fraction of them actually sticking. Everything heard this time of year must be taken with heavy skepticism, but those plugged in around the league can usually pinpoint the teams making the most phone calls. This year, three teams have been listed by many as appearing to be the most active, one of them being the Milwaukee Bucks. Mix in all of the tradable parts the Bucks have on their roster and the history of general manager John Hammond he's made deadline deals in three of his four years in Milwaukee and the odds the Bucks make some sort of late move are pretty good. The decisions Hammond makes before the 2 p.m. Central deadline Thursday could change the face and direction of the franchise. Because of their contract situations, guards Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis have found their names swirling in rumors for the past couple of weeks, and that chatter is only going to heat up in the coming hours. The Bucks are more likely to deal Ellis because his future is not controlled by the team. This offseason, he can opt out of the final year of his contract that would pay him 11 million and become an unrestricted free agent. Jennings will be a restricted free agent, which means the Bucks could match an offer sheet he signs with another team. A report surfaced last week saying Jennings wanted out of Milwaukee after an agent switch and had "irreconcilable differences" with the organization. Jennings quickly dispelled those rumors and said those words never came out of his mouth. "Brandon and I talk all the time," Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. "I talk to a lot of people around the league, a lot of people around Brandon and I don't get that feeling from him, I don't get that feeling from his people. "I saw that quote. It's just a source, whoever it is. That doesn't carry much weight with me. I just know my conversations with Brandon. He's here. He's a Milwaukee Buck." The Bucks have been linked to available Atlanta forward Josh Smith but would likely have to give up Ellis to get him. If such deal is on the table, Hammond is faced with an interesting decision because both Smith and Ellis can be unrestricted free agents after the season. Aside from the two big-name guards, Milwaukee has other tradable pieces other teams would be interested in. Guard Beno Udrih and center Samuel Dalembert have coveted expiring contracts and could be packaged or flipped separately. With so many options, it's impossible to predict how the Bucks' roster will look come Thursday night, but it's apparent that something needs to be done. As currently assembled, Milwaukee's roster has shown flashes of being a contender in the Eastern Conference but has not been able to sustain momentum. After Tuesday's overtime loss in Brooklyn, the Bucks are 1.5 games behind seventh-seeded Boston and five full games behind the fourth-seeded Nets. A No. 8 seed would set up a first-round matchup with the defending champion Miami Heat. "We need to find our spirit again," Boylan said after Tuesday's game. "This shouldn't be that we have to get down the way we've been getting down in order to kind of get our motors going. We have to turn it on right from the beginning. "We need everybody playing hard. Right now, that's not happening. Until we do that, we're going nowhere." When there's a struggle to find consistent effort and energy, tweaks to the roster are usually forthcoming. In 2010, Milwaukee was 24-28 at the trade deadline and sitting in ninth place in the East. Hammond shook things up by trading for John Salmons and the Bucks went 22-8 the rest of the way to finish 46-36 and in the sixth playoff spot. The difference between now and then lies in what Hammond had to give up to make that move. Hakim Warrick had little value, and the Bucks had given up on Joe Alexander panning out. Last year, Milwaukee took a chance on pairing Ellis with Jennings, knowing both could potentially leave the franchise in the near future. Though the duo hasn't been a failure, the pairing also hasn't worked to perfection. Now Hammond is faced with the decision whether now is the time to break things up or to continue to go ahead with Jennings and Ellis, hoping the team can get hot and improve its playoff seed before facing an uncertain offseason. The next two days will be not only interesting but critical to the franchise. The only thing for certain is Hammond, fresh off signing his own contract extension, will be the man tasked with deciding which way to take the Bucks. Follow Andrew Gruman on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Lawyer who reps concussion lawsuit wants to speak with Bettman

Former NFL LB Armstrong, wife reportedly killed by 16-year-old son

Tyler Eifert says he will never play in the Pro Bowl again

Australian athletes evacuate the Olympic village after fire

Russian weightlifting team banned from Rio

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Wade says Riley did not push him out of Miami

Nationals among multiple teams inquiring on Mark Melancon

McClain does not show up for Cowboys’ training camp

Andre Johnson agrees to two-year deal with Titans

Redskins GM injures hand punching wall in frustration

Report: Aldon Smith checks into rehab

Storyline from 'Ballers' plays out in Cowboys preseason camp

Texas A&M creates a very sexist version of their fight song for women

Brown, Marshall are apparently serious about their car bet

Lacy, Starks could split carries to start season

Cyborg Santos post-surgery skull photos are eerie

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Hockey team unveils Clinton, Trump bobbleheads

Bennett compares chemistry with Pats QBs to his love life

Crowell still making amends for controversial Instagram post

Report: LeBron urged Justin Bieber not to perform at RNC

Luck refutes Matt Hasselbeck’s assertion he never showers

Newspaper editor explains use of Jordan meme for MJ article

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dr. Phil calls out the Patriots for their cheating ways

Everything that's already gone wrong at the Rio Olympics

Amar'e Stoudemire's presence (and absence) changed the NBA

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker