For an overview of this project, check out the introduction here.
Ladies and gentlemen, we finally made it. After slogging through fourteen clearly inferior trade proposals, we’ve narrowed it down to two deals that make sense for the Milwaukee Bucks. In the Final Four, we saw a groundswell of support for the proposal involving the San Antonio Spurs, bringing in Derrick White and Patty Mills for Eric Bledsoe and a pair of picks.
This deal ousted a package with the Sacramento Kings, netting Buddy Hield and Cory Joseph for Bledsoe, Brook Lopez, and Ersan Ilyasova. While the Kings deal allowed Milwaukee to retain some draft capital, it turned out that trading two defensive stalwarts (Bledsoe and Brook) for a one-dimensional scorer (Hield) was too questionable and not reliable in terms of supporting Milwaukee’s bid to both keep Giannis Antetokounmpo or make a run at the NBA Finals.
In the other matchup, it was a much tighter race between the top-seeded Detroit Pistons package and the upstart three-team proposal between Milwaukee, the Indiana Pacers, and the New York Knicks. At the end of voting, though, the deal that brought in Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard in exchange for Bledsoe and two future second round picks was victorious, and will face off against the Spurs package in the final round.
Milwaukee receives: Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard
Detroit receives: Eric Bledsoe, 2022 MIL 2nd, 2025 MIL 2nd
Milwaukee receives: Patty Mills, Derrick White
San Antonio receives: Eric Bledsoe, 2020 IND 1st (via MIL), 2022 IND 2nd (via MIL)
As I mentioned in the most recent Brew Hoop podcast, these two deals underscore a harsh reality about the Milwaukee Bucks: there are simply not very many NBA players who are both available in trades with Milwaukee and who are good enough to be a net positive on the court. In both deals that made it this far, Eric Bledsoe is the best player involved in the transaction. Kennard and White could develop into something more, but that possibility isn’t likely, and the downgrade from Bledsoe to either Rose or Mills is one made intentionally with the hopes of stabilizing your offense in the playoffs.
In terms of realism, the Pistons trade is more feasible than the Spurs trade. San Antonio is in limbo right now and may want nothing to do with Eric Bledsoe at the moment, nor are they necessarily inclined to move White for sub-optimal draft capital. On the other hand, the Pistons are going nowhere as-is and could benefit from adding a stable point guard to help raise their floor and get back into the playoff mix.
But no matter how you slice it, the options are limited for Jon Horst and the Milwaukee front office. Moving on from Bledsoe – who is a good NBA player! – feels like addition-by-subtraction, due to his underwhelming playoff resume over the last three years. But barring an unforeseen development in the trade market, that might be the best the Bucks can hope for.
Vote for your preferred trade package!
Final Showdown: 1-14 Trade Matchup
This poll is closed
Pistons: Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard / Eric Bledsoe, two future 2nds
Spurs: Patty Mills, Derrick White / Eric Bledsoe, 2020 IND 1st, future 2nd