It's been a quiet couple of weeks on the trade rumor front for the Milwaukee Bucks. What few mentions we've seen of secretive dealings have generally been...well, pretty obvious. They're willing to listen to offers on marginalized vets. Shocking.
But a rumor involving Brandon Knight? That's another story. According to Ken Berger of CBS Sports, Knight has drawn some interest from other teams:
Teams are testing Milwaukee's resolve to enter restricted free agency with Brandon Knight, league source say. The Bucks have thus far been steadfast in their desire to keep Knight, whose team-high 17.8 points and 5.4 assists per game have been key to positioning them solidly in the sixth playoff spot in the East.
I say "drawn some interest" because that's the most generic trade deadline phrase available, and I don't totally understand what "testing Milwaukee's resolve" means in this context. I have reached out to Ken Berger on Twitter for clarification.
It makes sense that a team with interest in Knight beyond this season would be trying to land him in a trade, because his restricted free agency rights come with him. That gives whichever team holds his rights at the end of the year a big advantage in re-signing him, so long as they're prepared to pay what could be a pretty high price at this point.
Likewise, it's safe to assume the asking price on Milwaukee's end would be very steep. He may be looking at a big new contract, but Knight is playing the best basketball of his career and has demonstrated a clear upward trajectory in the last two seasons. He's also a critical part of Milwaukee's roster right now, and the Bucks seem like they'd be happiest just going with the flow for the time being--no big moves to upgrade the team or sell off assets. But you never know, especially with new ownership possibly looking to make a splash. Snagging a rich bounty for Knight by Thursday would give the Bucks a pretty slick "they made us an offer we couldn't refuse" excuse to avoid dealing with the money question this summer.
Another name that's been attached to the Bucks in spotty rumors is Utah Jazz center Enes Kanter. Kanter reportedly made a trade request to Jazz management after growing frustrated with his lack of playing time in Utah. Like Knight, Kanter will be a restricted free agent this summer, and he too presents a difficult valuation decision. Kanter's numbers are solid--he's averaging over 18 points and 10 rebounds per 36 minutes this season with a 17.5 PER--but he just doesn't really stand out. His skills are also somewhat redundant with John Henson's, and Henson might have greater defensive upside. According to a report from USA Today Sports, Milwaukee's interest in Kanter might have something to do with their new coach:
The Milwaukee Bucks are known to be among the teams that have interest, in part because coach Jason Kidd has had a front-row seat to some of Kanter's best games in the past two seasons. He averaged 19.5 points and nine rebounds in two games against Kidd's Brooklyn Nets last season, then finished with 23 points and 16 rebounds in Utah's lone game against the Bucks this season. Kidd, it's safe to say, took notice and would love to add him to his group that has been such a pleasant surprise this season (30-23).
That's a story that should go over well, given Kidd's recent history...
The Jazz are supposedly demanding a significant package to part with Kanter, but they don't have a ton of leverage. Kanter isn't a big part of their rotation anymore, and they've got enough future salary tied up in the rest of the roster that they aren't a big threat to match a substantial offer sheet in the coming offseason.