28 Jun 2003 09:41:21
Trade saves bucks


The almighty greenback continues to be a deciding factor in the
Milwaukee Bucks' player personnel moves.

Peeler's contract is not guaranteed after this season so the Bucks
will cut him and save the $3.7 million and $4.1 million that he was to
be paid for the next two seasons.

Are the Bucks a better team after the trade? That can be debated, but
their player payroll will be lighter in a few days after Peeler is

Bucks general manager Ernie Grunfeld contended that the money saved
would give the Bucks a better chance to re-sign free agent Gary

"This trade was made to clean up our backcourt situation somewhat,"
Grunfeld said less than 24 hours after the Bucks drafted Texas point
guard T.J. Ford in the first round. "Also to add a very versatile
front-court player in Joe Smith. He's a young player. This makes us a
younger basketball team. And it also gives us more flexibility from a
financial standpoint, which will allow us to make a better run at Gary

"Peeler probably is not going to be in our plans for too long. That
helps us from the standpoint of making a run at Gary and if something
doesn't happen there, it will give us the flexibility so we can
improve our team."

"If we don't (re-sign Payton), we have the ability to go out in the
free-agent market ourselves a little bit and still stay under the
luxury tax," he said.