They say that you should never count your chickens before they hatch. In the Milwaukee Bucks’ case, we may find ourselves burned by an early survey of the chicken coop, with regard to the reported sign-and-trade that was to send Bogdan Bogdanovic our way. The Athletic’s Sam Amick broke the news a short while ago.
The deal, which would have sent Bogdanovic and Justin James to Milwaukee in exchange for Ersan Ilyasova, D.J. Wilson, and Donte DiVincenzo, cannot be completed until the start of free agency, because Bogdanovic is a restricted free agent. It’s obvious (at this point) that he wasn’t interested in returning to Sacramento, otherwise the Kings would have no incentive to send him out for a relatively light return (Donte is a good player, but Wilson might be a bust and Ersan is in the twilight of his career).
What went wrong? It’s impossible to know at this stage; the Bucks aren’t (technically...) allowed to have contact with any free agents. We don’t even know how much Bogdanovic’s new contract was worth; speculation put it in the range of 4 years and about $70 million, making the starting salary somewhere between $15-17 million. Is the problem on the Sacramento side? Is it on the Bucks’ side? Is there something from Bogdanovic’s camp that we aren’t aware of? Is the league somehow upset about an agreement leaking as early as it did, since it involves a restricted free agent?
We’ll be sure to share more of this story as it develops. In any case, though, this trade – in conjunction with the previously-reported deal that landed Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans – is a major priority for Milwaukee, and has been known publicly for weeks. For something to unravel at this stage is unprecedented, and if it does indeed fall through, the aftermath will be a situation requiring delicate handling from Jon Horst and the Milwaukee front office.
Thanks to our friends over at Sactown Royalty, the thinking seems to be that the breakdown happened because Bogdanovic “hasn’t agreed to the terms.” Whether this means there’s a disagreement with the details of the contract (years? overall money? incentives?) or somehow a lack of enthusiasm for playing in Milwaukee, we don’t yet know. Bogdanovic and Giannis Antetokounmpo have apparently developed a friendship, to the latter doesn’t seem as likely as the former.
As more news comes out, we’ll provide updates as available.