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About Last Night: Milwaukee Bucks Take Big Chances

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No sleep for the wicked

Phoenix Suns v Milwaukee Bucks Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

If you went to bed before 10:30pm CST, then you are likely waking up to a few noteworthy pieces of news. It was a long, exciting night that mainly had Bucks fans wondering if they should take the risk to fall asleep and miss out on anything, like some of our staff.

Jrue Holiday Trade

So the first and most noteworthy move Milwaukee made was trading for New Orleans Pelicans star Jrue Holiday. Jrue had been one of the top trade targets that Milwaukee was going for to potentially replace Eric Bledsoe and convince Giannis Antetokounmmpo that the team was making the right moves to hopefully have him sign the supermax extension.

The draft compensation ended up being three first round picks (where Milwaukee got those picks is a different question to ask) and two pick swaps. Is that a high amount? Maybe. If Giannis were to leave, Milwaukee would be in a bit of trouble trying to rebuild and not have the high draft picks. Think of when the Nets traded all of their draft picks for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, but (hopefully) less devastating. Jrue Holiday also has a player option after this season so there’s the risk of losing him as well this next offseason.

Bogdan Bogdananovic

After the initial shock of the Jrue Holiday trade wore off, it was safe to think Milwaukee would be done; at least until free agency opened. There were rumblings that Milwaukee would try and do a sign and trade for Bogdan Bogdanovic, as first mentioned by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, and then minutes after midnight we had our next round of breaking news.

Getting a player as talented as Bogdan, combined with being able to offload Ersan Ilyasova’s salary and finally ending the D.J. Wilson experience works out well for Milwaukee, despite having to part with Donte DiVincenzo. There was always rumblings of a Bogdan sign and trade being Milwaukee’s route to trying to reconfigure the lineup, but seeing this just a few hours after the Jrue news had Bucks fans feeling like this.

Initial Reactions

First off, wow, Jon Horst really is deciding to go all-in for the next year, which Adam discussed earlier today. One of the picks Milwaukee traded was the 24th pick in the 2020 draft, so it makes tomorrow night a little less exciting in terms of finding out who Milwaukee would draft. It also means our latest podcast episode is now irrelevant BUT you should still listen for the miscellaneous topics.

The makeup of the roster

With these moves, Milwaukee currently has seven players on its roster. Giannis, Khris Middleton, Jrue, Bogdan, and Brook Lopez would make the starting five while Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Justin James, who was added to the Bogdan deal, are the only bench players. Cap situation wise, it makes it a bit difficult for Milwaukee to add players and not hit the hard cap.

What Horst will be able to do seems pretty limited. The Bucks have the Mid-Level Exception which could allow them to add one (or potentially two) players, but would require some cap wizardry to make it work, as Matt Velazquez discusses here. Milwaukee could also add some veterans to get at the minimum deal to fill out the roster and the list isn’t too bad or at least has players we know at one point were good and worth a shot.

Milwaukee can also get some players on two-way deals and they would have 50 service games; that should hopefully get them through a good portion of the regular season. Horst might be looking at bringing in someone like Frank Mason on a minimum deal as well as Sterling Brown to still have some young-ish players. Who knows, maybe Horst is forcing Bud to have to play his starters extended minutes in the playoffs.

Last night was an exciting night for Milwaukee Bucks fans and is just the beginning of the most important offseason in franchise history. This was a lot to give away for three players, but these are good players, and if it lands Milwaukee a championship and/or Giannis re-signing the supermax contract, it will have been worth the risk. Who knows, maybe by the time you read this, Milwaukee will have made some more important roster moves; but for now, it’s time for another cup of coffee.