The Milwaukee Bucks fell short of their goal last year, and the offseason is the prime opportunity to retool for another run at the NBA Finals. But as our very own Van Fayaz chronicled, the Bucks don’t have a ton of resources at their disposal for the free agency pandemonium that is about to begin. And as former Brew Hooper Eric Nehm notes in his primer, the Bucks might not have a ton of spots to fill. From The Athletic:
When taking a look at only the players on guaranteed contracts for next season, the Bucks have roughly 75 percent of a full playoff rotation capable of contending for an NBA championship.
Even with a second-round loss in 2022, the Bucks’ big three is still beyond reproach in the postseason because of their performance in the team’s championship run in 2021. That sheen may fade after another season, but it is still notable as the Bucks approach next season. Giannis Antetokounmpo is in the middle of his prime and indisputably one of the NBA’s best players, while both Holiday and Middleton remain capable elite-level playoff performers. Few teams around the league have three players at the top of their roster as strong as Milwaukee’s trio.
Milwaukee isn’t the favorite to win the 2023 NBA title, but they’re near the top. They’re always going to be atop the boards of the oddsmakers, and it’s the moves on the margins that general manager Jon Horst has shown a penchant for pulling off that will end up getting them there. And it’s a good thing, too, because “moves on the margins” are just about all that’s left!
Most of the roster spots are filled, and thankfully for the Bucks they’re some of the most important spots. Of the spots remaining to be filled, they might get filled just by inertia. For example, we know that there are lots of positive signs about Bobby Portis’ potential return, even as he opts out of his player option.. Wes Matthews wants to come back, and the Bucks have shown signs of wanting to make that happen. We know that Jevon Carter wants to return too – why else would he be in Greece for the RISE premiere?
Bucks' Pat Connaughton, Jordan Nwora and Jevon Carter are here in Sepolia to honor Antetokounmpo family! pic.twitter.com/y95slQsXWM— Harris Stavrou (@harris_stavrou) June 28, 2022
Jordan Nwora may have shared some in-flight snacks with Carter, but it’s looking less and less likely that they’ll share a spot on the bench next season. He did get a qualifying offer, so there’s a chance Nwora takes up one of the few spots remaining if he doesn’t get an offer in restricted free agency.
So who’s left to take what few spots there are? We talked about a few options before, and there’s always other possibilities out there. Who do you want to see join the Bucks next season? Who’s most likely to take the taxpayer midlevel (roughly $6 million) to chase a ring, and which players might be available for the minimum? Tell us in the comments, and follow the madness along with us!