For an overview of this project, check out the introduction here.
Yesterday’s showdown between whether the Milwaukee Bucks should take a swing for Victor Oladipo or Jrue Holiday ended in a shocking upset. The package with the Pelicans was undoubtedly more expensive, whereas the deal with the Pacers cost the Bucks far less in order to come away with Oladipo, despite concerns about his health and long-term commitment.
Now we’ve reached the final first round matchup, and the entire bracket from here on out will be revealed. We’ll take a day or two to recombobulate now that the first round is coming to a close, but the next round figures to be twice as fun as this one. Here we go!
3) Sacramento Kings: Bogdan Bogdanovic (S&T)
Why the Bucks do it:
Milwaukee has already been connected to Bogdanovic, and the attraction is obvious. The three-year NBA pro from Serbia is an efficient scorer and underrated playmaker who appears to want the challenge of becoming a featured backcourt player. With DeAaron Fox and Buddy Hield in the mix for the Kings, minutes at the guard spots are limited, especially with Bogdanovic needing a new contract. Hield already got paid and Fox will need a contract before long, meaning the Kings need to consider what Bogdanovic is worth to them. Milwaukee could, if that relationship is sufficiently cool, swoop in and make the decision easier, though doing so has significant financial ramifications. At least on the court, though, this would be a huge win for Milwaukee, as it gives them a dynamic guard to help keep the offense afloat when the going gets tough.
Why the Kings do it:
Once again, Sacramento missed the playoffs, and once again they’re faced with an offseason where they can try and build a contender in the Western Conference. But with the development paths of Fox and Marvin Bagley, Bogdanovic and his new contract might not align with the Kings’ timeline, especially at the amount that he might command; he already turned down an extension worth $51M, and his play has probably pushed that number into the $70M range. Rather than commit to that money, they could choose to use this season to develop talent by giving Fox and Hield an outstanding defender in Bledsoe to work with and learn from, as well as a pair of picks.
Milwaukee receives: Bogdan Bogdanovic (4 years/$70M)
Sacramento receives: Eric Bledsoe, 2020 IND 1st (via MIL), 2022 MIL 2nd
The Kings aren’t guaranteed to have interest in moving Bogdanovic, but he also has to be willing to re-sign with them, which is equally tenuous. More importantly, though, the Bucks need to contend with the hard cap. Per the collective bargaining agreement, any team who receives a player in a sign-and-trade is bound by the tax apron, a mark roughly $6M above the luxury tax line. With those figures already on the way down, the Bucks better be absolutely sure that Bogdanovic is the piece they need to get over the hump, because they won’t likely have the flexibility to add any others. Given his age, contract value, and the Bucks’ remaining space on the roster...I’m not quite convinced.
14) San Antonio Spurs: Patty Mills, Derrick White
Why the Bucks do it:
Patty Mills might be up there in years, but he’s just the type of scorer they could have used last season. He’s a heady ball-handler who can shoot in all sorts of different ways. He’s already 31 but offers a certain dynamism that the Bucks’ backcourt simply doesn’t have, and he’d fit the roster nicely. Of course, the other part of this return would be more exciting in the long term; Derrick White is only 26 and has improved considerably since he entered the league in 2017. He’s got similar shooting numbers as Mills and has turned into a solid creator, and could be a good all-around point guard for the Bucks to keep around for a while.
Why the Spurs do it:
The Spurs have fallen from their once-great heights, and their roster is in a bit of a rough state. Their top players are DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Rudy Gay, each of whom is over the NBA hill and unlikely to garner serious interest in trades of their own. Moving the aging Mills and the younger White gives them more room to develop players like Dejounte Murray, Lonnie Walker IV, and Bryn Forbes, while Eric Bledsoe (who can be moved) and the two Indiana picks are assets to help reload the roster.
Milwaukee receives: Patty Mills, Derrick White
San Antonio receives: Eric Bledsoe, 2020 IND 1st (via MIL), 2022 IND 2nd (via MIL)
This deal is far more enticing than it might seem at first glance. The Bucks need a shot-maker in the backcourt; Patty Mills does that. They also need youth to develop; Derrick White is that. It also doesn’t carry the financial constraint that the aforementioned sign-and-trade imposes, and both Mills and White are on the final year of their contracts. The amount of on-court impact, financial flexibility, and relatively low cost make this deal work deserves significant consideration.
Vote for your preferred trade package!
3-14 Trade Matchup
This poll is closed
Kings: Bogdan Bogdanovic S&T / Eric Bledsoe, 2020 IND 1st, future 2nd
Spurs: Patty Mills, Derrick White / Eric Bledsoe, 2020 IND 1st, future 2nd