If you could perfectly distill the experience of being a Bucks fan into a single week, I’m not sure you could draw it up better than the one we’ve just been through.
We’ve all been carrying a lump of dread in our stomachs at the thought of an uphill climb to re-tool a roster that had come up woefully short of expectations. GM Jon Horst seemed to kick things off with a bang late Monday night with not one, but two big trades that would’ve seen Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic heading to Milwaukee. Sure, we’d be bereft of depth depending on which ring-chasers they could find, but the top-end talent would be unlike anything we’d seen alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Then, just like any good story, it all went to hell roughly 48 hours in to what could’ve been described as collective hysteria. Turns out Bogdan wasn’t a lock for Milwaukee (things seem to point to a bait-and-switch conducted by Bogdan and his agent to gin up some money elsewhere), and suddenly the optimism early in the week had turned to the deepest levels of dismay. Without Bogdan the only thing we could look at was a massive hunk of draft flesh handed over to New Orleans for a lead guard who looked — on paper, at least — like Eric Bledsoe-plus.
That pall continued to hang over most of us as the league led into free agency and... the Bucks didn’t do a whole bunch besides re-sign Pat Connaughton to a two (and now a three) year deal. Not exactly the rip-roaring start that would ease the pain of Bogdangate.
Finally, the tide began to turn as day two began with the acquisition of DJ Augustine and Bobby Portis, both guys to replenish lost depth. They’d end up a prelude to the final deals, that of Bryn Forbes and Torrey Craig, another pair of players on minimum deals who could take on a substantial role in the rotation if things play out right.
Within the span of seven days, the Bucks had gone from shoo-in to basket case to intriguing. It was a wild ride, and while questions about the what-ifs of a successful Bogdanovic S&T may linger, I’m just happy that it’s mostly over and that we don’t look like a shell of our former selves.
And, best of all, this team made itself compelling to watch again. There was no “running it back” a third time, but a massive amount of change has been wrought on this roster. Will the pieces come together to be more than the sum of their parts? Who knows, but I’m looking forward to tuning in and finding out.
The Upsides And Downsides Of The NBA’s Five Biggest Trades So Far (FiveThirtyEight)
I think Chris Herring’s evaluation of the Jrue-Bledsoe swap hit on most of the right notes when it comes to upside and downside. Much as I liked Eric, it really can’t be understated how harmful his play could be in the playoffs. There isn’t a ton of meat on the statistical bone to help us feel out whether Holiday is the real-deal in the playoffs, but he already has one series under his belt where he was a force of nature. If he can replicate, say, 75% of that performance? Watch out.
Bucks score another salary cap own goal (The Athletic)
You’ll have to scroll down a bit to find the section from John Hollinger on the Pat Connaughton deal, but according to his cap-o-nomic math it appears the Bucks... messed up?
The problem turns partially on the initial reporting of the deal as a two-year contract with a player option on the second year. Except players with Early Bird rights (like Pat) can’t have a PO on the second season, and so if the Bucks hadn’t realized that until they offered the contract, they would need to adjust the deal and make it a three-year offer (for $16 million).
On top of that, the Bucks could’ve avoided the Early Bird situation and just signed Pat with part of the MLE by finessing a sign-and-trade for DJ Augustin as part of the Jrue Holiday deal.
Now, the reality may not be as bleak as Hollinger supposes — not every team will utilize every cap rule in conjunction with trade partners (for various reasons), and the reporting may have been based on a fluid factual basis — but if he’s mostly spot-on it’s a cap error in a league where accumulation of cap errors spell out cap sheet death.
Jrue seems like a really good guy, and it will be an absolute pleasure having him as part of the organization and city.
2019-20 Season Grades: Torrey Craig & Nuggets pull qualifying offer on Torrey Craig making him an unrestricted free agent (Denver Stiffs)
First, credit to retired janitor for linking the first piece from our friends over at Denver Stiffs. Thanks for making my Sunday a smidge easier, RJ.
Second, having learned so much from all of your observations about our own players over the years, I’ve come to lean a lot on the expertise of opposing fanbases when it comes to evaluating the merits of outside players. The Season Grades piece goes quite in-depth about where Torrey Craig excelled and where he struggled as a Nugget, and the second piece has plenty more commentary from users themselves performing postmortems on Craig’s time in Denver.
Bryn Forbes signs two-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks (Pounding the Rock) & Somehow, Someway the Spurs Need to NOT Re-sign Bryn Forbes (Spurs Talk)
Second verse, same as the first, except this time we’re moving over to our pals at Pounding the Rock alongside a *ahem* slightly more critical reading of Forbes’ time with San Antonio.
I like to think Gregg Popovich did us and Forbes a solid by routing him our way when it became clear that he wasn’t going to be a Spur much longer. Hopefully it works out better here for Bryn with a smaller role than at his last stop.
Report: Mamadi Diakite signs two-way deal with Milwaukee Bucks (Streaking the Lawn) & 2020 NBA Draft scouting report: Mamadi Diakite (Peachtree Hoops)
And why not one more pair of player evaluations, this time for two-way player Mamadi Diakite? The Peachtree Hoops article is especially intensive and insightful, if you’re in to deep draft reports.
Bucks Hire Mike Dunlap and Josh Oppenheimer as Assistant Coaches & NBA Announces Structure and Format for 2020-21 Season (Bucks.com)
A couple of pieces out from the Ministry of Information over at Bucks HQ. First, it looks like Mike Dunlap will be part of the replacement of Josh Longstaff who left to join the Bulls a few weeks ago. Dunlap was the head coach of the Charlotte (then) Bobcats in 2012-2013 when they reached a 21-61 record, and he’s been all over the place as a coach and assistant as well. I’ll be honest, I don’t have much more to offer on this front at the moment.
Second, we’ve got some procedural details about how the NBA season will hopefully go: You’ll play three games against each East team, one game against each West team, and there will be a play-in tournament to determine each conference’s seventh and eighth seed. Also, we will only have the first half of the schedule before the season starts while the second will be released prior to the All-Star break in early March.
The Social Media Section
And DJ finally has a proper fashion side-kick
Announce that you’re staying here forever
Some of the best teeth in the game
The pass was... ehhhhhh, but then kersplash
MOAR CRAIG FILM
Every team needs a good story, and it looks like Bryn will be bringing that to Milwaukee, too
A pretty lengthy interview here pre-draft with Sam Merrill
As the Bucks continue to build a roster that will contend for a championship, they added an NBA-ready player in Sam Merrill. As he told @RookieWire: "More than anything, I really think that I can be a guy that can help teams win."https://t.co/ydBpOvpMhm #NBADraft (@smerrill05) pic.twitter.com/BAVlduEBek— Bryan Kalbrosky (@BryanKalbrosky) November 19, 2020
Smells like tampering to me
Bucks second round draft pick Jordan Nwora is already in Milwaukee and at the Bucks facility, as per his Instagram pic.twitter.com/1NslKLWEn7— Ti Windisch (@TiWindisch) November 22, 2020
Good luck to all our former Bucks!
Free agent guard Sterling Brown has reached an agreement with the Houston Rockets, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 22, 2020
So excited to be a part of the Wizards family! I'm blessed to be going from one fantastic organization to another top notch organization. I wanna thank everybody in Milwaukee for my time there, but I can't wait for what lies ahead in DC!!!— Robin Lopez (@rolopez42) November 21, 2020
It’s already pretty late here in Minneapolis Standard Time, and if you’ve made it this far, you’re truly a glutton for punishment. Thanks for sticking by the site in what we’ll probably remember as one of the most fraught seven-day periods in franchise history. Oh, and basketball officially starts in less than 30 days.