During media day in the preseason, the Milwaukee Bucks set expectations for the 2017-2018 season to win 50 games and win a first round playoff series. So far, it would be tough to say they are on pace of achieving that with a middling record of 23-20 record and ranking a mediocre 7th in the Eastern Conference. With a Top-5 player in Giannis Antetokounmpo and complementary pieces like Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton, Milwaukee’s roster makes for an interesting trade deadline team.
As mentioned earlier, Milwaukee’s goals and record mean the team would likely need to be buyers to win a seven game series against the upper half of the eastern conference. The only “untradeable” asset on this team is Giannis. Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon are probably the team’s top assets at the moment, although Jabari Parker might get floated around trade rumors with his impending restricted free agency approaching.
What might Milwaukee need should they look to dip their toes into the trade waters? Well, they could use backup 4 to give Giannis a breather, especially since he is currently leading the league in minutes per game. They haven’t found a serviceable backup in that spot since Mirza Teletovic went down, although Parker’s return should provide some relief. The Bucks could also use a bigger center to take on behemoths that give John Henson and Thon Maker issues. There has been plenty of chum in the waters surrounding the Bucks making googly eyes at Deandre Jordan, but such a move would likely require some frustratingly costly assets.
For a dream trade, I would like to somehow trade the coach but since we’re focusing on players here, I would say Milwaukee somehow getting DeMarcus Cousins would be a fantastic dream addition. Trading Jabari Parker, Thon Maker and a future draft pick could get Milwaukee a center that can rim protect, rebound and stretch the floor while taking the Jabari contract talks out of their hands and turning that into an opportunity to give Boogie the max with some cap gymnastics involved. Yes, Boogie would most likely hate Jason Kidd by the end, as seems to be the case with him and just about any coach, but it could propel Milwaukee to the level they’re hoping to reach.
Milwaukee has a chance to take the next step in the Eastern Conference but are behind the Celtics, Cavaliers, and Raptors. Add on the fact that teams like the Washington Wizards, Miami Heat, and Indiana Pacers are also ahead of them with both Detroit and Philly not too far behind. For this to be a more successful season, the Bucks should be buyers, but must be careful not to trade too much for rental pieces.