For an overview of this project, check out the introduction here.
For a recap of the first round of voting, check out the summary here.
In our first installment of the second round, the left side of the bracket was decided with little room for doubt. The top-seeded Detroit Pistons deal solidly ousted the three-team trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder and New York Knicks, with voters preferring Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard over Dennis Schroder and Reggie Bullock by a margin of 195-146. Elsewhere, the star power of Victor Oladipo combined with the relative one-dimensional impact of Spencer Dinwiddie tilted the other contest away from the Brooklyn Nets, as the three-teamer between the Indiana Pacers and Knicks won 181-115.
Today, our focus moves to the right side of the bracket, where we have upsets waiting to happen. These deals are all still going to have to wait, given that the NBA is still undecided on how to proceed with anything past the NBA Draft on November 18, although it appears more and more to look like a start around the Christmas holiday. Perhaps that truncated schedule will motivate teams to take bigger risks? Probably not, but we can dream! Onward to the voting!
Milwaukee receives: Chris Paul
Oklahoma City receives: Aaron Gordon, Robin Lopez, Ersan Ilyasova, 2020 IND 1st (via MIL), 2022 IND 2nd (via MIL)
Orlando receives: Eric Bledsoe, D.J. Wilson, 2023 MIL 2nd
Milwaukee receives: Patty Mills, Derrick White
San Antonio receives: Eric Bledsoe, 2020 IND 1st (via MIL), 2022 IND 2nd (via MIL)
Gordon has long been considered one of the bigger names that could get traded; with two years left of declining salary and still 24, he’s a worthy swing for a team that can afford to take one. Whether or not Oklahoma City is that team remains to be seen, as well as if he’s worthwhile as a return for Chris Paul (or if the Magic are satisfied with Bledsoe, Wilson, and a future 2nd). Further complicating things is that Paul is an unlikely get for the Bucks, mostly due to age and salary mechanics. That’s a shame, if you agree with this CBS Sports offseason opinion piece:
That’s unfortunate, because no single player better fits what the Bucks need than Paul. He fills both the shooting and ball-handling gaps without taking much off the table defensively. His aging body would enjoy Mike Budenholzer’s preference for limiting the minutes of his stars. Yes, the notion of absorbing the final year on Paul’s deal without Giannis isn’t exactly ideal, but if necessary, Milwaukee could let it lapse without ever paying the repeater tax. The Bucks should trade for Chris Paul. They may never have another chance to acquire a Second-Team All-NBA player with Giannis on board. It just doesn’t look like they’re willing to do it.
The deal with the Spurs is far more attractive from Milwaukee’s perspective when you consider both the short-term cost and the long-term financial ramifications of the deal. Losing draft assets hurts, but flipping Bledsoe for both Patty Mills and Derrick White would be a coup. Mills has already been identified as a player who would be a nice trade target for a team needing an upgrade by our SB Nation sister site.
There are very few potential playoff teams out there who couldn’t use someone like Mills providing leadership, good vibes and shooting off the bench. Just to name one team from each conference as an example, imagine the Jazz or the 76ers with an extra bench shooter who doesn’t need a lot of touches complementing their stars and giving their second units more firepower. Moreover, imagine how comfortable any team with aspirations to make a deep run would feel having someone who has championship experience in their midst instead of more untested options. And while Mills is not cheap like most players with his skill set, his contract only runs for one more season, making him a perfect short term addition that won’t clog the books.
White might be a tougher get since he’s still on the “right” side of 30, but he’s historically been an underutilized player and fits the bill of someone who needs a new opportunity in order to flourish. Is Bledsoe and picks enough to pry him out of San Antonio, who also already has Lonnie Walker IV, Dejounte Murray, Bryn Forbes, and DeMar DeRozan in the mix?
Vote for your preferred trade package!
2-14 Trade Matchup
This poll is closed
Thunder/Magic: Chris Paul / Ersan Ilyasova, Robin Lopez, Eric Bledsoe, D.J. Wilson, 2020 IND 1st, 2 future 2nds
Spurs: Patty Mills, Derrick White / Eric Bledsoe, 2020 IND 1st, future 2nd
Milwaukee receives: Robert Covington, Ben McLemore
Houston receives: Brook Lopez, 2022 MIL 2nd, right to swap 2023 MIL 1st
Milwaukee receives: Buddy Hield, Cory Joseph
Sacramento receives: Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe, Ersan Ilyasova
In this matchup, we get a pair of unpopular deals because they send out Brook Lopez and return players other than point guards. Neither of these trades might have the horses to make it all the way to the final round, but considering what they mean for the Bucks in the playoffs is where each of these trades gets interesting.
First and foremost, a Lopez deal would necessitate a stylistic change on defense, which might be what the team eventually needs in the postseason. The Rockets package would give the Bucks a versatile frontcourt defender and plus-shooter on offense, and his game at the 4 spot would allow Giannis to slide over to the 5 when necessary, as well as (hopefully) promoting a more dynamic defensive strategy rather than having Giannis execute the zone drop, which does not maximize him as a defender.
The Sacramento deal would force the change on defense without a ready-made solution, but it would give the Bucks a far more credible threat from three on offense. Hield is one of the league’s top shooters and at his age, he can be expected to be more than just a floor-spacer like Kyle Korver. Still, the Hield situation is unfolding slowly as reports indicate he’s not being advertised around the league as available. Perhaps that’s the truth, or perhaps it’s a tactic to drive the asking price up, in which case the Bucks might choose to not chase a deal that doesn’t solve enough problems with their postseason performance.
Vote for your preferred trade package!
9-11 Trade Matchup
This poll is closed
Rockets: Robert Covington, Ben McLemore / Brook Lopez, future 2nd, future 1st swap
Kings: Buddy Hield, Cory Joseph / Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe, Ersan Ilyasova