MILWAUKEE - A visit to the Bucks' locker room is like a reunion of former 76ers.
Ageless Jerry Stackhouse, whom the Sixers drafted third overall in 1995, signed with the team on Jan. 18 and has supplied some valuable play, along with much-needed leadership to a young group. Stackhouse lead the Bucks with 15 points in last night's 101-86 loss to the Sixers.
John Salmons, taken by the Sixers with the 26th pick in 2002, came over from Chicago during the trading deadline this season and has shined for coach Scott Skiles.
The Sixers shipped two more players to Milwaukee at the deadline on Feb. 18, when the Bucks got Royal Ivey, Primoz Brezec and a second-round pick in exchange for Jodie Meeks and Francisco Elson.
Primoz saw practically no action during his time in Philly, but he contributed four points in 7 minutes last night. Ivey saw limited play with the Sixers, but was well respected by his coaches and teammates for his work ethic and his ability to handle whatever was dealt to him.
"It's a good thing," Ivey said before last night's game against his former team at the Bradley Center, where the Bucks had won eight straight. "I think it's a plus on my end, coming to an organization where I feel like I can fit in down the line."
Though the news of his being moved hardly was a huge surprise for Ivey, it was welcomed.
"When I heard the news, I was kind of elated, because I really didn't get the chance to play much this year in Philly," he said. "That's how it goes sometimes. I was told they were moving me and I've got a new home now, and I've got to make the best of this opportunity now. It's a fresh start."
And a chance at playing in the postseason, something he knew he wouldn't be doing as a Sixer. Ivey again has seen limited minutes with the Bucks since joining them, averaging 5.9 minutes in the 11 games he has played in. The Bucks are the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. He scored four points in 12 minutes last night.
This is the third team for Ivey in his five-plus NBA seasons. He knows he's been bounced around, and might be some more. But he also has a recipe for staying in the world's best basketball league.
"Nothing really changes wherever I go. If I'm not here next year and on another team, I bring the same attitude and intensity to that team," he said. "It never changes. I know my role, and I know what I need to bring to the team. That's how you stay in the league. You have to be professional. I'm just happy that somebody felt like they had to get a guy like me. I just come in here and do what I do.
"It's the NBA, man. You have your handful of superstars, then you have some stars, and everybody else kind of falls into role play. You've got to find your niche, and you have to accept that role. It's the 450 best players in the world, but not everybody in this league is a scorer. You have to do what you do well and bring that to the team and believe in that role."
Salmons has been a terrific addition to the Bucks, averaging 19.6 points a game, and has been instrumental in why the Bucks have won 15 of 18 since acquiring him.
"He's been able to come up big for us late in games and he's a guy that's adapted so well that it's hard to get him off the floor for a while," Skiles said. "The games are so big right now that if we need him out there, we'll have him out there."
In the four games before last night's four-point outing, Salmons was averaging 26.3 a game. *
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