Say what you will about Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst: he identified his options early, moved on them quickly, and as a result the Bucks were happily left on the outside looking in for the NBA Trade Deadline.
Trade deadline has come and gone with no moves from the Bucks. Players expressed to me at practice today that they liked the structure and chemistry of the team they have now. GM Jon Horst was on hand smiling, talking with multiple guys but I never saw him on his phone.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) February 8, 2018
Recall that Horst, the newest (and youngest) GM in the league was a longtime disciple of former GM (and current Magic GM) John Hammond, already made enough midseason moves to fill any team’s deadline frenzy expectations. In November, he struck early when Eric Bledsoe became available, and acquired him for a moderate package of Greg Monroe and a pair of protected picks. A few days ago, he shored up the team’s depth at center by swapping Rashad Vaughn and a protected second rounder for Tyler Zeller, who just now gets to practice with the team.
And don’t forget, there was that whole Jason Kidd thing.
The Bucks were involved in trade talks over the course of the past week, but no more or less than any other team might be involved. To whatever end the current roster will have, Jon Horst and company didn’t see enough benefit in shaking up the roster to add talent or move on from any less-than-advantageous contracts. Since the Bucks are 30-23 and have won 7 of their last 8, standing pat wasn’t necessarily a bad gamble to take.
This isn’t to say that there are no deals to make; it is widely reported that the buyout market (players released from their former teams for less money than their contract value, thus freed up to join playoff-bound franchises midseason) will be more active this year than most, and who’s to say that the Bucks can’t find a contributor they like?
Certainly could get involved in that market. There should be plenty of good players out there. We’ll have to see what the interest level is — from the Bucks as well as free agents. https://t.co/G7FvivztSI— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) February 8, 2018
Of course, trades (and buyouts) can have ripple effects on a franchise, and sometimes they take a while to work out the kinks...a dynamic that upcoming Bucks opponents all have in common!
The Bucks next 8 opponents have made Deals today.— Jim Paschke (@Paschketball) February 8, 2018
Without much more to say on Milwaukee, let’s take a quick jog around the NBA, especially since other members of the Central Division were busy.
Cleveland reshapes its roster
LOL— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) February 8, 2018
-2018 own 1st
-Larry Nance Jr
-Heavily-protected future 2nd
Cavaliers GM Koby Altman was busy today, in his quest to keep LeBron James beyond this summer. Cast out of The Land are Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Jae Crowder, Iman Shumpert, and Channing Frye, and in return the Cavs gained Jordan Clarkson, Larry Nance Jr, George Hill, and Rodney Hood. SBNation’s Fear The Sword has insight and analysis on the long list of transactions, but it’s fair to say that LeBron’s departure is no longer a guarantee...for now.
Detroit makes some under-the-radar deals
Last week, the Pistons rocked the league by striking a deal for Blake Griffin, but made a significant impact on deadline day by adding James Ennis (for Brice Johnson and a second round pick) and Jameer Nelson (for Willie Reed and a future second-round pick swap). Ennis and Nelson aren’t headline players by any stretch, but their addition balances out a Detroit roster that sorely needed it as they prepare for a playoff run of their own. SBNation’s Detroit Bad Boys already has a breakdown of their deadline results, and it would be wise to consider the Pistons with caution going forward.
Chicago loads up on future assets
Like their Motor City counterparts, the Bulls already had gotten in on the trading action early, moving on from Nikola Mirotic in exchange for Omer Asik , Nelson, Tony Allen, and both a future first swap and a standalone first round pick. They also flipped the aforementioned Jameer Nelson to Detroit, as well as acquired Noah Vonleh and cash considerations for draft rights to a player they were never going to bring to the league anyway. SBNation’s Blog a Bull goes into more detail on who these prospects are, but as it’s clear that Cleveland and Detroit are aiming for success now, it’s just as clear that Chicago is punting on the present and preparing for a brighter future.
Elsewhere in the Eastern Conference, the Miami Heat reacquired Dwyane Wade for basically free after his journeys through Chicago and Cleveland, the Knicks responded to losing Kristaps Porzingis by rolling the dice on Emmanuel Mudiay, and old friend “Trader” John Hammond moved the Magic on from Elfrid Payton for a second round pick from Phoenix. SBNation has a full list of every transaction on the year, including Milwaukee’s wayward son Rashad Vaughn and his sudden move from Brooklyn to New Orleans.
Which moves did you like? Which did you hate? And for the Bucks, are you happy that they stood their ground, or was there something that you wanted to see done? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll do this all over again in the summer because the NBA is the best league, and we can’t get enough of the madness.