The trade winds are blowing!
The Milwaukee Bucks are "in deep talks" that would send Michael Carter-Williams to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for 24-year-old swingman Tony Snell. ESPN's Marc Stein was the first to break the news of the deal.
The former 2013 first round picks have each struggled to live up to their relative expectations heading over their first three seasons, and each is facing (possibly much better) competition at their positions and, well...here we are.
MCW came to the Bucks in a 2014 deadline deal with Miles Plumlee and Tyler Ennis in exchange for Brandon Knight and has averaged 12.4 points, 5.3 assists, and 4.7 rebounds in Milwaukee since. There have been stretches of strong play, but MCW's struggles with injuries and consistency -- especially on the offensive end -- ultimately have made his 20-month stint in Milwaukee a disappointing one. With the additions of Matthew Dellavedova, Malcolm Brogdon, Jason Terry and the Point Giannis plan in place this summer, MCW's role and stay has seemed more questionable than ever. Now, well, we might have an answer to all that.
As for what Tony Snell would bring to Milwaukee? Well, he's a career 35.1% three point shooter and has good size and length for a wing -- notably, he ranked six among all small forwards with a +1.86 defensive RPM last season -- but his skills have yet to extend beyond that. After an improved second season that saw him hit 37.1% of his threes and post an encouraging 55.0% true shooting mark, Snell's two point percentage crashed from 49.4% to 38.0% last season and his TS% similarly dipped to a woeful 47.8%. Like MCW, Snell has been a perpetual lightning rod for fan criticism, so there's a clear "change of scenery" angle to the move for both guys. Overall, MCW has clearly been the more productive player over the past three seasons, but Snell could help fill the hole left by Khris Middleton's injury. The Bucks' interest in finding wing depth has been no secret, and MCW's diminished role makes this type of deal all the more likely. Also worth noting from ESPN's report:
But the Bucks, sources say, are intrigued by Snell's potential -- both as a fill-in for Middleton and as a potential backup -- after he shot 35 percent from long distance last season. Should the deal be consummated, Milwaukee is expected to open contract extension talks with Snell, sources told ESPN's Brian Windhorst.
Snell will be paid $2.3 million this season in the final year of his rookie contract, and like MCW he's eligible for an extension through the end of this month. That was never going to happen in Chicago, but it's a gamble that could pay off for the Bucks if Snell signs while his value is low and then responds with a bounce back season. Then again, Snell could have another poor season and be little more than deadweight salary, too. If no deal is struck, he'd become a restricted free agent with a cap hold of just under $6 million -- about $1.5 million less than what MCW would have been.
Once Snell gets healthy, he would figure to have every opportunity to earn minutes in Milwaukee's mostly-barren wing rotation, while MCW would battle for backup point guard minutes (behind Rajon Rondo) with Jerian Grant, Isaiah Canaan, and Spencer Dinwiddie. These are things I am typing. None of it feels real. Preseason basketball: catch the fever!