Trade to Make Sure we Can Re-Sign Everyone

This Bucks team is so, so good. I've been wondering if we can keep it together (thanks for the Delly trade, Horst!) and I think we can. However, if the Atlanta game taught us anything, it's that we are one of the deepest teams in the league, and can afford the loss of a few backups. As much as I love the whole roster, packaging depth pieces to either shed salary or bring in another starter/ high upside player seems like a worthy gamble. To that end, I came up with the following deal with Houston to shed some salary and ensure our core is able to stay together (including Lopez! I think, someone can check the math).

Bucks / Rockets Trade

Bucks get: James Ennis III, Brandon Knight (exprining)

Rockets get: Tony Snell, Ersan Illyasova

The Rockets get two solid role players, including a stretch 4 to fill the old Ryan Anderson role at a far more reasonable deal, and a wing, which they've publicly announced their desperation for. They give up another wing who's slightly worse, but younger, and a non-contributor in Brandon Knight.

The Bucks' motivation comes down to salary. With the emergence of Sterling Brown & DJ Wilson, there's no longer a need to pay Snell & Illyasova for reliable bench production, as there was at the beginning of the season. Their absence will barely be missed, but should make a significant contribution to Houston's bench. By taking on Knight's expiring deal, the Bucks will clear just over $15m of cap space next year. Thon can be shifted over to the 3rd PF spot if Wilson needs rest, which will allow more time at C for Jason Smith (and Christian Wood! Not gonna lie, finding Wood playing time is a big motivation in my hypothetical trades). As a plus, in this version of the deal the Bucks get a contributor on a great contract.

Snell & Illyasova are valuable contributors to a playoff team, but the Bucks have capable replacements already on the roster. As such, I think the Bucks should absolutely make a deal like this (viz., dumping one or both for an expiring contract or young player), whether with Houston, Orlando, Detroit, Sacramento, Charlotte, or any similar team in the middle of a playoff push.


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