There was already an inkling that the Bucks were in the market to move off the contracts for Tony Snell or Ersan Ilyasova, and it was inevitable that some draft compensation would have to be involved to get it done.
Snell proved the first to go yesterday evening with the Milwaukee Bucks agreeing to trade him and their first-round pick in tonight’s draft (at 30th overall) to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Jon Leuer:
Milwaukee is trading Tony Snell to Detroit, league source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 20, 2019
Pistons are sending Jon Leuer to Bucks. Bucks are sending 30th pick on Thursday in deal too. https://t.co/IkzjIDPhFi— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 20, 2019
Tony Snell has $23.5M left over 2 years. Jon Leuer has $9.5M left for just this year.— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) June 20, 2019
First round picks recently have been going for about $15M in savings for the team surrendering it. It being 30th overall and Snell being able to play a bit, makes sense it’s a bit cheaper
Tonight's Tony Snell DID WHAT?!? Update:— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) June 20, 2019
Get traded to the Detroit Pistons.
Milwaukee could create up to $14M in room and bring back Brook Lopez using cap space. The $22M+ in cap holds of Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton give Milwaukee an advantage when it comes to creating room. It also gives them a buffer when it comes to the tax.— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) June 20, 2019
Going this route and ducking the luxury tax is going to be tricky without even factoring in Mirotic (who may well just be a tax casualty at this point barring another big cost-cutting move.) A huge Brogdon offer sheet would very much complicate Milwaukee's life. https://t.co/HfSoG1liPg— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 20, 2019
The top concern for Jon Horst after Milwaukee’s 60-win campaign was always going to be finding a way to retain the core that got the Bucks there. With Eric Bledsoe now on an extension and Khris Middleton officially looking for a new deal the arithmetic involved in also retaining some variation of Malcolm Brogdon, Brook Lopez, George Hill, or Nikola Mirotic would be complex. Now, with the possibility of waiving and stretching the $9.5 million owed Leuer this season the Bucks may have bought themselves some more flexibility.
But at what cost?
The biggest loss will be whatever potential player would have been available for Milwaukee at #30, regardless of the sometimes random nature of the draft. That player would have been a cost-controlled piece on a roster that is set to get very expensive, very fast (not to mention the unknown on-court contributions in coming years).
In addition, while Snell saw his minutes drop from 27.4 per game in 2017-2018 to just 17.4 mpg last season, he remained a somewhat plausible bench depth piece with his third straight season of near 40% shooting from three. His contract has always been something of an albatross given the length and per year price (four-years, $44 million), but that was infamously a deal Milwaukee felt comfortable giving him the second free agency opened.
There’s always a chance Milwaukee chooses to keep Leuer around, but given his recent history of injury woes and how desperate the Bucks will be for any and all available dollars in FA it seems unlikely he’ll make it far in the off-season. For tonight’s draft there’s also the chance Horst can find his way into the second-round if a player really catches his eye, but as of this morning the Milwaukee Bucks will be watching from the sidelines.
What do you make of the trade? Like it? Love it? Dislike it? Hate it? Wait and see?