I recently had a chance to get back together with my favorite podcast co-hosts, Adam Paris and Kyle Carr. Besides catching up on what we’ve done this offseason, we got down to discussing the tall task ahead of the Bucks of figuring out what they need to break through to the promised land.
Any strategy moving forward is complicated by the fact that, for better or worse, Milwaukee’s hands are tied when it comes to contracts they can add and subtract in an effort to remake the roster. The obvious odd man out remains Eric Bledsoe for reasons that don’t need much of an explanation here. Restricted cap aside, it sounds like the front office is actively in the market for any talent infusion they can find (Victor Oladipo, Chris Paul, and Bogdan Bogdanovic have all been floated as names to watch). Given those two factors the question that comes forth is whether the Bucks really need to do much more than find a different operator at PG.
They got very close two seasons ago, opted to run it back this past year and ran into another wall. Change is coming; it simply has to at this point. Does that change have to be heavily roster-based, though? What if the issue is simply needing to find a lead guard who offers a wider skillset than Bledsoe on offense? Combine a guy who is a more adept playmaker with looser restrictions on what “role players” are allowed to do on- and off-ball and it could be enough to solve the puzzle. Once you start envisioning wholesale change it risks destabilizing a system that has shown promise. Maybe any Bledsoe replacement won’t be of a large enough stature to justify a “Big Three” moniker, but if we’re being honest we haven’t had a true Big Three for years. You can survive that if your main ball handler isn’t ignored by the other team. Let’s see how it plays out.
Polled NBA agents predict, 18-1, Giannis Antetokounmpo will stay with Bucks (NBC Sports)
Thought this was a pretty interesting insight about a small poll conducted among NBA agents. The world of sports agents is probably something of a viper pit — no disrespect intended since that is their job — and there is always something of a 86D chess game going on for each one regarding their clients. However, they seem to have come to accept that Giannis is likely staying in Milwaukee beyond the 2020-2021 season, though whether it is for the full supermax or otherwise isn’t clear.
I do wonder if the Bucks and Giannis can come to an arrangement that gives Milwaukee flexibility to take advantage of a slow-moving market while other teams wait for a decision from Antetokounmpo. Hell, they could even push that out to next offseason if they feel confident in any arrangement Giannis agrees to under the table. Time for Jon Horst to do some scheming.
The Bucks Have One Last Offseason to Convince Giannis to Stay (The Ringer)
I liked the optimistic take here that if the NBA and NBAPA agree to a reduced cap to reflect the drop in league-wide revenue, it may be worth more free agents’ whiles to opt for MLE dollars from Milwaukee. That wouldn’t exactly be a foundation to build off of moving forward, but our time horizon is pretty damn small as it is. I’d personally appreciate getting a mercenary that isn’t on the verge of retirement for the first time in a long time.
The Spurs could be a dark horse destination for Giannis Antetokounmpo (Pounding the Rock) & If Giannis Antetokounmpo Joins The Golden State Warriors He Will Become Kevin Durant 2.0 (Fadeaway World)
Vulture Talk has a new entrant in the Giannis sweepstakes: The San Antonio Spurs, I guess. To be fair to our colleagues at Pounding the Rock, the scenarios they spin out aren’t literally insane a la the Warriors dropping the Andrew Wiggins deal-you-can’t-refuse offer on the Bucks. And if Giannis were to walk in free agency, San Antonio would probably hurt less than, say, Toronto or Miami.
And also, Warriors talk remains untethered from reality.
Bucks’ George Hill returns to Milwaukee, encourages voting (Associated Press) & Third Team Up for Change Summit - Wednesday, October 21 (Bucks.com)
As ever, while you don’t have to vote, it is kind of the point of the whole exercise upon which this county (and others) are ostensibly founded. It’s good that resources and influence is dedicated to reach out help whoever wants to exercise their right to vote, especially under the wider health circumstances we’re all dealing with.
The Social Media Section
The Milwaukee Bucks are hiring Josh Oppenheimer as an assistant coach, sources tell ESPN. Oppenheimer had previously worked for the team as a member of both the Larry Drew and Jason Kidd coaching staffs.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 23, 2020
George Karl really should stop letting it rip as much as he does
DeMarcus Cousins https://t.co/svCq6rZLbX— George Karl (@CoachKarl22) October 23, 2020
Ray is one of my favorite players ever and we were close.— George Karl (@CoachKarl22) October 23, 2020
I love Bucks fans passion for this topic but it’s more complicated than has been shared. https://t.co/umMWPI8ayP
Jay Wright join the coaching staff
Loved our guy @Divincenzo’s energy this year - always ready to go #OnceAWildcatAlwaysAWildcat— Jay Wright (@VUCoachJWright) October 22, 2020
“Giannis seen scouting potential free agency destinations?” -The Media
Giannis, Thanasis, and #NBA champion Kostas Antetokounmpo watching live the #EuroLeague game between @paobcgr and @FBBasketbol pic.twitter.com/BBSAkaTste— Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) October 22, 2020
Just a long day for DJ every time he loses a three-point shootout to Giannis
Practice is never boring pic.twitter.com/gUZqPXV2g2— Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) October 21, 2020
And we haven’t applied for this yet because...?
Note: I expect the Milwaukee Bucks to apply for relief for Jon Leuer's salary (haven't learned if they've already applied or not). They were eligible to do so on 4/22/20— Eric Pincus (@EricPincus) October 20, 2020
...why can’t Giannis show me the Parthenon?
Going to be tough when he gets traded for John Wall
Channing Frye’s wine IS bigger than basketball
Proper safety is key when brushing leaves up
While we wait for the NBA to finalize their offseason schedule (beyond the draft on the 18th of November), it’s as good a time as any to take part in the ongoing Fake Trade Bracket. The beauty of the series is that almost any trade presented can be rationalized if you squint hard enough. So much so that I’m getting ready to pack Eric and Khris’s bags while clearing out a nice downtown apartment for my guy John Wall.
We’ve got that, our community draft, pre-draft coverage, and all the chaos of free agency and trade season as well. The season is, somehow, just around the corner!