A summer roster shake-up hasn't delivered on the court for the Bucks through 54 games. For better or worse, the same group will get at least 28 more games to show what they can do.
Despite suggestions of interest in Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio, former Bucks point Kendall Marshall, Suns stretch four Mirza Teletovic and even Dwight Howard, the final day of the trade deadline ultimately proved a quiet one in Milwaukee. Bigger moves involving Greg Monroe and Michael Carter-Williams had already seemed unlikely, but it was still a little surprising to see the Bucks not make any moves before the 2 pm CT deadline arrived on Thursday.
At least some of that could be attributed to the team's ongoing injury struggles. Jerryd Bayless was due for an MRI today after suffering a knee injury in practice on Wednesday, scuttling the likelihood of a deal for him. Meanwhile John Henson's continued absence with back soreness reportedly left the Bucks less inclined to move normal third stringer-slash-current starter Miles Plumlee. You'd hate to think the Bucks would stand pat because of concerns over the next couple weeks, but ultimately the Bucks didn't have to do anything, and the lack of interest in bigger name expiring contracts suggests the market for players like Greivis Vasquez and O.J. Mayo was also likely thin to non-existent.
As for the players they reportedly pursued, Rubio and Teletovic would seem like names to watch this summer. Rubio still has three years and $42 million remaining on his rookie extension, but is reportedly a long-term favorite of head coach Jason Kidd and might be vaguely attainable for the right price, provided Minnesota feels like Zach LaVine is the long-term answer at point guard (note: he probably isn't, but this is Minnesota we're talking about). The 30-year-old Teletovic isn't nearly as exciting, but he's a fan of Kidd going back to their days in Brooklyn and will be an unrestricted free agent this summer after apparently spurning the Bucks' interest last summer.
Lastly there's the 30-year-old Howard, who can opt out of the final year of his current deal with Houston this summer. Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Stein both reported that the Bucks discussed Howard with the Rockets, though I wouldn't read too much into that. Let's start with Stein's tweets:
ESPN sources say Milwaukee made offer for Dwight Howard but talks broke down in part because Howard wouldn't opt into final year of contract— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 18, 2016
ESPN sources say Bucks would only consider Dwight Howard trade if they knew they had him beyond this season; Howard wants to be free agent— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 18, 2016
Howard's intention of opting out has been one of the league's worst-kept secrets, so the idea of him committing to stay in Milwaukee is...well, let's just say no one in the Bucks' front office would have been holding their breath. I'm amazed it would even be longer than a 30-second conversation to be honest, but the Bucks might not mind the attention on a day when nothing else happened.
Long story short: the new Bucks are the old Bucks, and we won't have to wait much longer to see what they have in store for the remainder of the season. They start the final third with a back-to-back starting tomorrow at home against the Hornets, followed by a flight to Atlanta to take on the Hawks Saturday.