Forward won most improved honors with Clippers

Former Clippers swingman Bobby Simmons agreed to a five year, $47 million deal with the Bucks on Friday, his agent Mark Bartelstein said.

"Bobby intends to sign with the Bucks when the moratorium ends," Bartelstein said. "He was very appreciative of the opportunity that the Clippers gave him but felt like this was the best opportunity for him."

The move is the clearest signal yet that the Bucks are serious about competiting for a championship this year. In the past week, they signed the No. 1 pick in the draft, Andrew Bogut, agreed to a six-year, $90 million deal with Michael Redd and began the on the court rehab for point guard T.J. Ford.

"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.''

The Bucks have two more significant free agents, Dan Gadzuric and Zaza Pachulia, that they are also trying to re-sign.

Simmons will join Desmond Mason, Jiri Welsch and Redd to form a potent combination at the shooting guard and small forward positions. Mo Williams and hopefully Ford will take care of the point. The team's only weakness now is at the four where Joe Smith is the only big guy.

The loss of Simmons, coming on the heels of the rejection by free agent Ray Allen, is another blow to the Clippers. Simmons had a breakout year for them and was a key to their success this season. However, head coach Mike Dunleavy was uncomfortable paying Simmons, who has played well for just one season, that type of money.

The Clippers could also lose free agent Marko Jaric this summer, weakening their hopes of making the playoffs next season.

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 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.

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

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.