Rockets and 76ers have a Lin deal in place (maybe), Vasquez gets new contract with Toronto

Chris Graythen

Two supposed trade/free agency targets for the Milwaukee Bucks are reportedly off the market.

You snooze you loose, and while the Bucks certainly haven't done anything to lose free agency yet, they haven't done a whole lot to win it either. It's been loose associations at most for Milwaukee, and now two of their rumored targets are reportedly off the market.

Source: Sixers and Rockets Agree In Principle To Jeremy Lin Deal - Liberty Ballers
Milwaukee was rumored to be in the mix for a Lin deal along with Philadelphia, and now it appears that the 76ers have earned the right to acquire Lin--along with a few sweeteners for their trouble. These teams shared the same motivation: help Houston offload Lin's contract and the $8+ million cap hit that comes with it in exchange for future draft picks or other assets. Houston's free agency overtures are well-documented at this point, and dumping Lin's contract was viewed as a matter of when and where, not if. However, as Liberty Ballers reports, the deal is conditional on Houston landing a max-contract player (likely Chris Bosh). Barring such a development, it's unclear if the Rockets will still look to move the 25 year old point guard, who will make just under $15 million next season thanks to his goofy contract.

Update: Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com reports that the rumored deal between Houston and Philadelphia may not be a sure thing. Lynam's source suggests that Philly's asking price for taking on Lin's deal may be too high, and Houston has other options available. So perhaps the Bucks aren't out of the running just yet?

Greivis Vasquez, Raptors agree to 2-year contract - SBNation.com
Vasquez was another reported target for the Bucks, but it appears he will be staying in Toronto under a new deal worth $13 million over the next two seasons. It's a bit of steep price for a nominal backup point guard, but stability has been Toronto's modus operandi this offseason, and Vasquez is a known commodity who fits into the Raptors' roster quite well. Given Kyle Lowry's occasional health concerns, even a moderately-overpaid-yet-solid backup is a sound investment for Toronto, and Vasquez has shown the ability to put up big numbers when afforded the chance. The short-term contract also keeps Toronto's balance sheet clean for the summer of 2016, when they could have more than $40 million in cap space. If nothing else, the contract makes a lot more sense for the Raptors than a similar figure would have for the Bucks.

There's one target left for the Bucks after Lin and Vasquez's respective deals (assuming the Lin trade is ultimately consummated): Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe, a highly-coveted restricted free agent. Point guards have popped up in Bucks-centric rumors since the season ended, and while they elected not to select one in the 2014 NBA Draft, the continued connections being made between Milwaukee and these free agent point guards would seem to underscore that idea.

Of course, the Bucks are just one of many teams sure to be interested in Bledsoe, who will surely command a high price and is still subject to Phoenix's matching rights. The Suns are another team with a boatload of cap space and a lot of flexibility thanks to limited cap holds and just a single player currently scheduled to make more than $4 million next season. As long as Bledsoe doesn't force their hand by signing an offer sheet elsewhere, the Suns can use their cap space to snag a high-level free agent or two before addressing their own FAs.

So what kind of contract might Bledsoe command? Gordon Hayward's maximum offer sheet from the Charlotte Hornets doesn't exactly bode well for any team looking to get a bargain. In fact, Milwaukee might be priced out as things currently stand. If Bledsoe wants a maximum contract starting at $14.7 million, Milwaukee would need to free up about $3.5 million in order to offer it. Waiving Chris Wright nets about a mil, and salary-dumping a small contract like Carlos Delfino would take care of the rest.

Is it worth it? That depends heavily on one's feelings about Bledsoe, who looked great playing next to Goran Dragic on a young and exciting Suns team. If opening up the cap space to throw a maximum offer at a restricted free agent costs the Bucks anything in terms of future assets, the pressure will really be on to quickly build things up around whoever comes in. Conversely, floating a lower offer out there might not be enough to entice Bledsoe into leaving a pretty cushy situation (especially if the Suns add an elite piece to the roster) and it gives Phoenix even less pause about matching the offer. Bledsoe is a really promising young player, but it's fair to question whether making a run at someone in his situation is the best move for a franchise just starting to rebuild. It would definitely qualify as a splash, and while we could nit-pick about the financials and opportunity cost, the excitement of bringing a player of his caliber would only add the growing optimism surrounding the Milwaukee Bucks.

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