For an overview of this project, check out the introduction here.
For our first entry into this contest, we’re taking one of the most realistic proposals and pitting it against one of the least. Both proposals involve the Milwaukee Bucks moving Eric Bledsoe for another contributor at point guard, but they couldn’t be more different beyond that. Without further ado, here are the trades:
1) Detroit Pistons: Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard
Why the Bucks do it:
Moving Eric Bledsoe makes sense for Milwaukee, but it’s crucial to give the backcourt enough support to survive his absence. With this deal with Detroit, Milwaukee gets two possible contributors on the offensive end. Rose is one of the league’s premier drivers, and Kennard projected to develop into a well-rounded shooting guard before a knee issue submarined his 2020 season. If the Bucks can keep both healthy for a season, the options available to them in the following offseason are more advantageous. The Athletic’s Eric Nehm went into more detail on this very exchange in his October 20 article and has a number of statistical arguments for the deal. Furthermore, the Bucks have been linked to Kennard before, and there was previously some Rose-related smoke in the air back in 2017. Adding a pair of future second round picks (2022 and 2025) helps grease the skids to maybe get this deal done without including a first round pick.
Why the Pistons do it:
Bledsoe is a far better defender than Rose, who was never a particularly good defender and is both getting older (just turned 32) and has an extensive injury history. While not as dynamic as an offensive player, Bledsoe gives enough on that end to make the swap worthwhile as a defensive upgrade. Kennard is a tough prospect to give up on, but his health concerns make projecting his next contract a hefty gamble, and sometimes passing off the risk to someone else is its own reward. Lastly, the two second round picks might not seem too appealing, but if you have any belief that Giannis might not stick around long-term, all of a sudden those picks feel like significant value.
Milwaukee receives: Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard
Detroit receives: Eric Bledsoe, 2022 MIL 2nd, 2025 MIL 2nd
This is a straightforward deal that has been floating around on the Internet for a while now. The upgrade in offense with Rose seems worth the defensive downgrade because of how Rose contributes on offense; he’s not a good shooter, but as we explored in our piece breaking down the Bucks’ backcourt, Rose is a good driver, shot-maker inside the arc, and creator for teammates. Kennard gives the Bucks young talent to develop or use as a trade asset down the road. Both teams are made better if both sides of the deal achieve their “best case scenario” for the next season, and that doesn’t feel like too big of a stretch.
16) Washington Wizards: John Wall, 2020 WAS 1st (#9 overall)
Why the Bucks do it:
You might be asking, “why would the Bucks trade for Wall instead of Bradley Beal?” Beal would be an excellent fit at the 2 in Milwaukee, but the Wizards have been insistent that they don’t want to trade him. Beal himself has been insistent that he wants to stick around in Washington, so adding Beal is a pipe dream at this point. On the other hand, John Wall may not have nearly the same level of staying power built up in Washington, and the five-time All Star has many of the same strengths as present-day Derrick Rose. Perhaps all he needs is a change of scenery? Furthermore, moving up 13 spots in the draft is another interesting benefit for a team that lacks young prospects to develop.
Why the Wizards do it:
Moving your franchise cornerstone might be an unthinkable proposition, but let’s look at the facts. Wall is 30, while Beal is 27. The Wizards are a mediocre team with the two of them at the helm, so pouncing on the opportunity to nab an All Star wing in Middleton while still maintaining competence at point guard with Bledsoe would help balance their roster and give them a fighting chance to make noise in the playoffs. There aren’t a ton of other options for Washington this offseason, so all options should be on the table. Furthermore, the 2020 draft is weak, so sacrificing some draft slots in exchange for more talent and moving one of the least movable contracts in the NBA (while gaining a second rounder) might be an opportunity worth seizing.
Milwaukee receives: John Wall, 2020 WAS 1st (#9 overall)
Washington receives: Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, 2020 IND 1st (via MIL, #24 overall), 2023 MIL 2nd
I absolutely hate this trade, and I came up with it. However, it illustrates the type of risks that the Bucks need to at least consider if they want to break through. John Wall was a franchise level player; whether he can be again after rupturing his Achilles tendon is an open question, but a question worth asking. Trading away Khris Middleton is a bitter pill to swallow, and it’s a step only worth taking if the reward is worthwhile. It’s easy to see how the deal doesn’t work out for the Bucks...but what if it did? Is the best case scenario of a Wall-Giannis pairing worth pursuing?
...probably not, but that’s why it’s the lowest-seeded trade in our bracket!
Vote for your preferred trade package!
1-16 Trade Package Matchup
This poll is closed
Pistons: Rose, Kennard / Bledsoe, two 2nds
Wizards: Wall, #9 / Middleton, Bledsoe, #24, 2nd