MILWAUKEE (AP) – The Milwaukee Bucks are suddenly a desired destination in the NBA.

Forty-eight hours after coveted free agent Michael Redd chose to stay in Brew Town, Los Angeles Clippers free agent Bobby Simmons decided to join them.

His agent, Mark Bartelstein, told The Associated Press on Saturday that the agreement is for about $47 million over five years, pending final wording in the new collective bargaining agreement.

The Bucks would say only that they intend to sign Simmons once the league’s moratorium period on player movement ends this month.

The former Los Angeles Clippers swingman was honored as the NBA’s most improved player last season after averaging 16.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists in his fourth season, his first as a starter.

The Bucks originally pursued Simmons as a fallback in case Redd decided to go to the Cavaliers. On Thursday, Redd agreed to stay in Milwaukee with a six-year deal worth at least $90 million.

“This originally started out as talks in case Michael left, but as we talked more and more, it started to make sense for Bobby even if Michael stayed,” Bartelstein said. “So, we just kept talking and they had enough cap room. It worked out well for both.”

Simmons grew up in Chicago and starred at DePaul before Seattle selected him in the second round of the 2001 draft and shipped him to Washington that same night.

He averaged just 33 games in his two seasons with the Wizards but played in 131 games during his two seasons with the Clippers and started 75 times last season.

Bartelstein said the Clippers made a competitive offer to keep Simmons and several teams showed interest, “but the ones with enough cap room where the only ones who could chase him. That’s what it came down to.”

Bucks general manager Larry Harris cleared cap room at the trading deadline last season by shipping Keith Van Horn’s $16 million annual contract to Dallas and trading guard Mike James to Houston.

Combined with a rash of injuries, those deals hurt the Bucks’ fortunes on the court as they slipped to 30-52. Coach Terry Porter was fired June 22 and replaced by Terry Stotts on Friday.

“Bobby is excited to play for Milwaukee. He thinks they have a good, young nucleus,” Bartelstein said. “He’s from Chicago and knows all about the Bucks. He’s friends with Mo Williams. He doesn’t know Terry but he hears good things about him.”

AP-ES-07-09-05 1346EDT


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