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Bucks Trade Proposal Bracket: First Round Recap

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It was a wild round for the initial field of 16, and now we’re down to 8 trade proposals. Some of them are good!

NBA: Playoffs-Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Thanks to everyone who joined us for the daily posts this past week! The Milwaukee Bucks are assuredly doing everything they can to make a deal happen; whether or not it will resemble some of the deals we’ve talked about remains to be seen.

In our last initial contest, which was our closest yet, it came down to the wire as the San Antonio Spurs’ package for Patty Mills and Derrick White came back against a Bogdan Bogdanovic sign-and-trade proposal. The deal with the Sacramento Kings led by a wide margin for much of the early voting, but the overnight returns tipped things in favor of the Mills/White deal.

We can now reveal the whole bracket, and look at the matchups that we will debate going forward. Voting will resume on Monday, and we will have two second-round matchups per post with two days’ of voting available, in order to allow for as much discussion as possible. Additionally, any trades that were (ahem) adjusted after publication will reflect their adjusted states. (Thanks again, munchtime!)

We’ll have plenty of time to discuss these deals since the league and player’s union agreed to postpone the CBA negotiation deadline another week. These negotiations are what will determine not just the NBA schedule, but also the 2020-21 salary cap and luxury tax levels, which will impact what paths the Bucks walk down to rebuild the team for contention next playoffs. In the meantime, here’s the upcoming matchups with a brief summary of my thoughts.

1-4 Matchup: Pistons vs. Thunder/Knicks

The Detroit package that brought in Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard (in exchange for Eric Bledsoe and a pair of future second round picks) was a runaway winner, taking the vote 387-62. The three-teamer between Oklahoma City and New York that brought the Bucks Dennis Schroder and Reggie Bullock for Bledsoe and a future second had a much tougher time, winning by less than 20 votes (188-172).

Between these two deals, the one with the Pistons feels more likely to win out, since the players coming back in either deal are roughly equivalent but it’s a direct transaction (rather than involving a third party) and the price for either is about the same (Bledsoe and future seconds).

7-12 Matchup: Nets vs. Pacers/Knicks

The Spencer Dinwiddie trade took out one of my favorite dark horse candidate trades (involving Tyus Jones) with a score of 262-84, and with some of the coaching hires that the Brooklyn Nets have made to support Steve Nash, it feels like a Dinwiddie deal is awfully hard to predict, as is the Nets’ asking price. Another three-team deal involving the Knicks and Pacers bringing in Victor Oladipo won over a Pelicans/Jrue Holiday package by a healthy margin (208-139), also because it only sent out Bledsoe and the Pacers pick as major components.

It’s entirely possible that both trades in this matchup are unrealistic in terms of what the Bucks give up. The rationale I presented in each post can be considered “best case scenario” for Milwaukee, if they find themselves involved in discussions for either deal. Between the two of them, the Oladipo deal feels like the winner since his individual value is depressed (both due to injury and his expiring deal, making him a likely one-year rental) and the Bucks have already been linked to the Pacers for him.

2-14 Matchup: Thunder/Magic vs. Spurs

These two trades might be my favorites to win the whole contest, whichever one makes it out of this matchup. The first is a three-team trade between Oklahoma City and Orlando, where Milwaukee sends out a ton of salary (Eric Bledsoe, Ersan Ilyasova, D.J. Wilson, Robin Lopez) and picks to come away with Chris Paul, which prevailed in initial voting 216-77. On the other side, a deal sending Bledsoe and both Indiana picks to San Antonio brought back Patty Mills and Derrick White, and won in a nailbiter on the final day of voting (231-225).

I think the lower-seeded Spurs deal pulls off the upset here, in no small part because of the allure of White, the fit of Mills, the fact that both are on their final year of their contracts, and the Chris Paul trade is so expensive and has already been partially debunked by The Athletic’s Eric Nehm.

9-11 Matchup: Rockets vs. Kings

In our last second-round pair of proposals, we will see a Houston Rockets package netting Robert Covington and Ben McLemore (which won 148-100) taking on a Sacramento Kings package for Buddy Hield and Cory Joseph (which won 185-157). Both deals involved sending out Brook Lopez, while the Kings deal included Eric Bledsoe while the Houston deal sent picks to the Rockets.

Neither one of these trades really focuses on the Bucks’ biggest need (offense at the point guard position), and they represent divergent paths for Milwaukee. The Hield trade would probably see the Bucks sign some facsimile of Lopez (Aron Baynes, anyone? Or perhaps Robin?) and maintain the same system, just with better shooting. On the other hand, the Covington trade would require a significant overhaul since RoCo is such a versatile defender in the frontcourt, and maximizing his partnership with Giannis would require a departure from the zone drop scheme. I truly don’t know which might win between these two deals.


Let us know what you thought of the first round! Which trades were feasible, and which ones were pipe dreams? Were any of the deals seeded too high, or too low? Are you still reeling over the positively preposterous John Wall proposal? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll get things started off again on Monday!