Rebuffed in their pursuit of Ray Allen and Michael Redd, the Cavs have wasted little time in resorting to Plan B in the hopes of assembling a backing ensemble worth of LeBron James. After coming to terms with G Larry Hughes to a 5 year pact yesterday, Cleveland is said to be targeting PF Udonis Haslem, along with Lithuanian point guard Sarunas Jasikevicius.

Hughes’ departure leaves the Wizards in dire need of a shooting guard, a hole they will try to fill using Kwame Brown as bait. The Knicks are but one of several teams that covet the enigmatic Brown, and according to the New York Times’ Howard Beck, the price for DC’s former no. 1 pick would be the newly acquired Quentin Richardson.

Milwaukee announced the hiring of Terry Stotts (above, left) as their new head coach yesterday, replacing the recently canned Terry Porter. Unimpressed by Stotts’ guitar heroics as a member of the Plasmatics, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Mike Hunt suggests this was a poor move.

If the Bucks were intent on going through all the trouble and humiliation of blowing up Terry Porter six weeks after publicly assuring him he was their guy, the burden was on the franchise to bring in someone appreciably better and far more experienced than Porter.

Although Stotts has a long history in the league, mostly as George Karl’s right-hand man, he has yet to prove himself as a head coach. And that’s what the Bucks so desperately needed, an established leader in whom the fans would have the utmost confidence to mold the young talent that just might carry the team back into contention.

Stotts is a great human being, one of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet in a ruthless, cutthroat business like NBA coaching. But at this point in their shaky history, the Bucks don’t need nice. They need someone who can unquestionably command respect from the players, something at which Porter, just three years removed from his playing career, apparently failed.

Will these players respect Stotts? Who knows? Which is why this hire has all the appearances of such a cut-rate gamble on the part of the senator at a time when a big splash was needed. While with an assistant with the Bucks, Stotts played the good cop to Karl’s bad cop, and the players liked him enough that they played hard for Stotts on those occasions when Karl was away.

But in Atlanta, the Hawks had that glazed-over look not long into Stotts’ tenure. Was that because those losers would’ve dogged it on anyone, or was it because Stotts comes off as a career assistant instead of having the forceful personality to be an effective NBA head coach.

Either way, Stotts’ Bucks will be an improved team in ’05-’06 with the addition of unrestricted free agent F/G Bobby Simmons (above). The former Clipper averaged 16.4 points and 5.9 rebounds per game last season, and has supposedly agreed to a 5 year, $47 million deal with Milwaukee.