GM Hammond Has 'Guarded' Optimism John Salmons Will Re-Sign With Bucks
In an interview with FanHouse early Thursday morning, after the free agency period had begun, Hammond said he spoke to both Salmons and his agent, Joel Bell, by phone, shortly after midnight EDT. He plans to negotiate with Bell during the day Thursday.
"We've told him that we want him back,'' Hammond said of Salmons, who opted out of a contract that would have paid him $5.81 million next season.
But is the feeling mutual?
"I think so,'' Hammond said. "We talked at the end of the season about how much we appreciated the season that he had and helping us get back to the playoffs. And he appreciated that.''
Salmons was acquired last February from Chicago. After Salmons suited up, the Bucks went 22-8 and the move was a key reason Hammond was named NBA Executive of the Year. Milwaukee, despite being without injured starting center Andrew Bogut, took Atlanta to Game 7 in the first round of the playoffs before falling.
After averaging 12.7 points at the time of the trade, Salmons averaged 19.9 in 30 Milwaukee games to finish the season at 15.4.
The Bucks last week acquired a perimeter scorer in small forward Corey Maggette from Golden State. But Hammond stressed that move in no way has affected how badly the Bucks want Salmons back.
"Absolutely not,'' Hammond said. "We want to improve this team and adding a player the magnitude of (Maggette) gives us that ability.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson