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.
We’ve reached the most interesting part of this process, where we have a quartet of halfway-decent and somewhat feasible trade proposals for the Milwaukee Bucks, in the hopes of reloading their roster for a run to the NBA Finals this upcoming season. There has been spirited discussion and debate – which we love to see! – and the last round had no shortage of that, with two of our closest results yet in this exercise.
Our first matchup ended in a gigantic upset, with the three-teamer bringing Chris Paul to the Bucks ended up falling to an underrated package with San Antonio; the CP3 trade was leading for much of the polling period, but ended up losing by only six votes (187-181) in the end.
Likewise, the less-popular matchup of the second round pitted a Rockets deal against a Kings package, both of which requiring the Bucks to cut ties with Brook Lopez. Still the Sacramento trade won out by a thin margin (only eight votes, 181-173), since just enough Bucks fans preferred Buddy Hield to Robert Covington.
“And then there were four.” In a shocking development, the only favored package in the whole tournament remaining was our 1-seed; 11, 12, and 14 have all survived to the Final Four, making an upset winner all the more likely. Still, the choice belongs to you, dear reader. So read on, and vote, and comment, so we can see who will get to compete for the “championship.”
Milwaukee receives: Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard
Detroit receives: Eric Bledsoe, 2022 MIL 2nd, 2025 MIL 2nd
Milwaukee receives: Victor Oladipo
Indiana receives: Taj Gibson, Kevin Knox, 2020 IND 1st (via MIL)
New York receives: Eric Bledsoe, 2022 MIL 2nd
In this matchup, the two deals being considered involve Jon Horst shipping out Eric Bledsoe for help in the backcourt, and using draft capital to make the deal work. However, the Pacers/Knicks package involves both a fringe All Star coming back in return and this year’s first going out (returning to Indiana), meaning the ceiling is higher but the floor is lower.
Rose is getting significant attention from the Los Angeles Lakers, who just won the championship and will likely see starting guard Rajon Rondo seek a bigger contract elsewhere since the Lakers don’t have space to pay him. Kennard has been a topic of consideration in Milwaukee before, but was much closer to move to Phoenix at the trade deadline last season before negotiations stalled. The Bucks have also discussed Oladipo with Indiana, but reportedly those discussions did not advance.
Of these two deals, the Detroit package makes more sense to me; Bledsoe has value around the league (just not as much as we’d like, thanks to his poor playoff performances), and both New York and Detroit could benefit by adding him. However, Oladipo has one year left on his deal and has made no signals about his appetite for sticking around long-term anywhere else other than Miami. The Heat aren’t eager to trade for him now, but he can simply join next offseason as a free agent if the Heat have cap space (and we all hope they will, if Giannis Antetokounmpo signs his extension this summer).
On the other side, gaining Derrick Rose and Luke Kennard gives the Bucks two expiring deals, but with Rose in the twilight of his career and Kennard at the end of his rookie deal, the Bucks are in far more favorable position to be able to retain either player if it suits them, while still having the financial flexibility to let them walk if not. Rose also fits the archetype of what kind of point guard the Bucks need relatively well and Kennard has potential to be a useful rotation player, and if Milwaukee can keep the Pacers pick in the process? It seems, in my opinion, to be a smarter use of assets.
Vote for your preferred trade package!
1-12 Trade Matchup
This poll is closed
Pistons: Derrick Rose, Luke Kennard / Eric Bledsoe, two future 2nds
Pacers/Knicks: Victor Oladipo / Eric Bledsoe, 2020 IND 1st, future 2nd
Milwaukee receives: Buddy Hield, Cory Joseph
Sacramento receives: Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe, Ersan Ilyasova
Milwaukee receives: Patty Mills, Derrick White
San Antonio receives: Eric Bledsoe, 2020 IND 1st (via MIL), 2022 IND 2nd (via MIL)
In this matchup, the Bucks have a tough choice between the two options. On the one hand, they could swing big and hope that Buddy Hield gives them the backcourt firepower they need to get over the hump, but needing to revamp their defense in the process by virtue of moving Brook Lopez. On the other hand, they could be more cautious and trade in their Pacers’ picks for a veteran scorer (Mills) and a developing guard who could be a long-term piece (White), but keep Lopez (and therefore, keep the defense relatively unchanged).
Sacramento is reportedly content to hold onto Hield rather than rush into a trade, in no small part because the return for Hield might not be worth the upside, especially in a case like Philadelphia where one of the few realistic returns would be Al Horford and his contract. Patty Mills’ name has not been particularly popular in the rumor mill, but Derrick White’s has, since the Spurs have interest in moving either LaMarcus Aldridge or DeMar DeRozan but may need to sweeten such a deal.
Both of these deals have significant costs associated with them. With the Kings deal, moving your All Defensive Team point guard and center means that the defense will need to be significantly renovated, and will likely suffer. This is not necessarily a bad thing, since the defense’s flaws have been exposed in the playoffs two years in a row, and Lopez’s presence will likely only promote continuity on that side of the court; changing the defense and moving Brook are closely intertwined. On the flip side, the Spurs package significantly limits the Bucks’ future ability to add cost-controlled players through the draft, and if White doesn’t work out you may have ended up paying a high price for a short-term boost that wasn’t enough.
All things considered, I think the Spurs deal has the chance to be the better outcome for Milwaukee. Mills is a good offensive player and veteran presence, and White has some Malcolm Brogdon in his game, without the injury concerns. Hield is undoubtedly the better player overall, and his shooting would be a real asset for the Bucks, but his relative lack of playmaking, contract value, and apparent difficulties navigating his relationship with Kings head coach Luke Walton are concerns that Milwaukee may be better off avoiding. Besides, the Bucks seem more enamored with teammate Bogdan Bogdanovic anyhow, and if accepting Harrison Barnes is the cost for a sign-and-trade, the Bucks should go that route instead of Hield anyways.
Vote for your preferred trade package!
11-14 Trade Matchup
This poll is closed
Kings: Buddy Hield, Cory Joseph / Brook Lopez, Eric Bledsoe, Ersan Ilyasova
Spurs: Patty Mills, Derrick White / Eric Bledsoe, 2020 IND 1st, future 2nd