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Podcast Mailbag: Discussing Bucks free agent options (Mike Conley, Dwight Howard, etc), Greg Monroe destinations, and the Bucks' 2017 playoff odds

In part two of our offseason podcast series, Eric Nehm and Frank Madden tackle listener questions including how the Milwaukee Bucks can address their defensive issues at the center position, potential point guard targets in free agency, the likelihood of the Bucks returning to the playoffs next season and an assessment of Jason Kidd and the Bucks' coaching staff. What will the future hold for Greg Monroe, John Henson and Miles Plumlee, and which names the Bucks might be linked with in the draft (Jakob Pöltl?) and free agency (Mike Conley? Joakim Noah? Dwight Howard???). Check out the conversation (recorded last Sunday) and some notes below, and let us know your thoughts in the comments.

4/22: Offseason Part 2 Download this episode (right click and save)

4/19: Offseason Part 1 Download this episode (right click and save)

  • There's a moment in the podcast where Eric refers to Greg Monroe as a "great signing," which is a really fascinating topic that I think we'll need to revisit later this summer. In this case it got buried in the broader conversation -- and could have meant that he was considered a great signing last summer -- but as I was re-listening I thought, "Hmm, I bet plenty of people will hear that and say 'The Monroe signing was terrible! Huge mistake!'"

    I can certainly understand where those people are coming from; it's tough to be thrilled with Monroe given Zaza Pachulia would have been far cheaper and a much better fit for the Bucks' defensive scheme. But it's also true that Moose himself has been the same efficient post scorer and rebounder in Milwaukee that we saw in Detroit, and it's not like Zaza was going to be the long-term solution either. For all his struggles on defense, Monroe is and was a very productive player, and hardly the sole cause of the Bucks' inability to match last season's win total. So I'd argue it was a gamble worth taking, and perhaps most importantly, he could still fetch the Bucks useful players or pick(s) via trade this summer, something that an expiring Pachulia would not have. Translation: stay tuned.
  • Including Plumlee's $7.6 million cap hold, the Bucks project to have around $19 million in cap space this summer, a figure that grows to over $26 million if Plumlee's RFA rights are renounced or if he otherwise signs elsewhere. They'll need that cash to fill out a roster which currently features eight guys with guaranteed dollars, two non-guaranteed minimum deals (Damien Inglis and Johnny O'Bryant) and the possibility of adding three 2016 draft picks (likely #10, 36, 38).
  • The big X-factor in the Bucks' cap sheet is what happens with Monroe, who could be dealt for a package that may or may not bring significant salary back to Milwaukee. Considering the huge amount of cap space and limited number of attractive free agent options on the market, Monroe could be a prime target for a team that isn't able to sign a marquee name early in July, in which case the Bucks might gain some additional cap flexibility from a team that uses cap space to absorb some or all of Monroe's $17 million salary.

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