Whether it’s with clenched teeth, open arms, or utter confusion, we’ve watched as the NBA offseason has tied its last loose ends. Barring anything crazy, free agency and the offseason as a whole is over.
Amidst the bedlam of massive trades and signings, Milwaukee has added a few key pieces. Kyle Korver, Wesley Matthews, Robin Lopez, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo will each wear green and white threads next season. But, was that enough? In the most star-laden offseason in recent memory, a cash-strapped Milwaukee organization could dip their hand in about as far as Kyle Korver on a minimum contract. It was a good piece to bring in, but you have to wonder what could’ve been done differently. What could Milwaukee have done to cut a bigger slice of an amenable free-agency pie?
Well, it could've been more a question of desire than if it was at all feasible. The Bucks had the best record in the league, the MVP and a content superstar beside him, which comes with at least a little sense of wanting to secure the roster. But Milwaukee didn’t make the finals and was swept after going up 2-0 against the Raptors. In the age of instant gratification, if a team doesn’t win they take drastic measures to improve. Milwaukee could’ve followed the norm, but they bucked it. They chose continuity over risk.
Now to be fair, money was the primary reason they didn’t recruit a superstar. I understand the hoops they had to jump through just to re-sign Lopez and the majority of their core, but if money was the issue than could the Bucks have planned ahead? We saw the Nets and Clippers clearing cap years before this summer, knowing that they could strike gold if they had the recruiting incentives and the max slots. Milwaukee had the incentive in playing with Giannis, they had a winning record, they were damn close to a ring last year, and they're in a weaker Eastern Conference. If the Bucks planned for the offseason monetarily, what was stopping them from scooping up an Al Horford or Bogdan Bogdanović (Jazz).
And was the trade market not wide open? We saw Kawhi hold out until the Clippers brought in an adequate running mate, which they did through trading for Paul George. Did Giannis, the league MVP, not have the power to do the same? Khris Middleton is a stellar second-in-command, but couldn’t Milwaukee have at least tested the market with their assets?
Again, there's nothing wrong with wanting to maintain a 60-win team. But going forward, if there are chances to cut cap, ditch contracts, and plan for the next big offseason, it’s worth taking a risk. Ask the Nets, the Clippers, or 76ers, if it can bear fruit.