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SB Nation Reacts: Jon Horst, Certified Trader

They asked, you answered, I present the results

Milwaukee Bucks Introduce Donte DiVincenzo Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

Gooooooooooood morning, and a happy Trade Deadline Day to all who celebrate!

The Milwaukee Bucks are sure to be up and about this AM assessing a changed trade landscape with the Brooklyn Super Nets getting Old Yeller’d and sending out Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant to the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns, respectively. With two big chess pieces off the board, the question is how this will impact the Bucks themselves. Their big trade target sweetheart Jae Crowder got moved to Brooklyn as part of the KD trade, but that dude at ESPN says the Nets are open to moving Crowder to a third team before the deadline later today. Scintillating!

As we eagerly await to see what GM Jon Horst faxes to the league office, I’m here to present to you some poll results from a recent ‘SB Nation Reacts’ post some of you surely participated in. I say surely because I was given these graphics with literally no information as to the sample size of the polls themselves. They say “X% of Bucks fans” which would seem to indicate that our overlords were able to tap into each and every one of our neural cortexes and uncover our deepest, darkest thoughts regarding whether Horst will make a trade and if he should include the 2029 first-round pick to get a deal done. We really are living in the future, and I’m glad SB Nation is leading the way!

On the question of whether Jon Horst will make a trade at all before 2 PM Central, you, the voters at home, had this to say:

To the 24% who think Horst will stand pat: Ye of little faith. Since becoming GM of the Bucks in the summer of 2017, here are all the deadline or deadline-adjacent trades Horst has made.

  • 2017-2018: Traded Rashad Vaughn and a 2nd to Brooklyn for Tyler Zeller
  • 2018-2019: Traded Jason Smith and four 2nds to the Pelicans, Thon Maker to the Pistons, and acquired Nikola Mirotic from New Orleans
  • 2019-2020: Assigned Dragan Bender to the Wisconsin Herd on Feb. 7th before waiving him three days later for Marvin Williams
  • 2020-2021: Traded DJ Wilson, DJ Augustin, and two 1sts to Houston for PJ Tucker, Rodions Kurucs, a 1st (which turned into MarJon Beauchamp) and a 2nd
  • 2021-2022: Traded Donte DiVincenzo to the Kings, Rodney Hood/Semi Ojeleye to the Clippers for Serge Ibaka and two 2nds

That’s, like, a lot of deals! Some of them are more meaningful than others, true, but Horst has mostly proven himself to be a GM who proactively/reactively (depending on the day) adjusts his team at the ceremonial mid-point of the regular season. His tinkering paid off big time with PJ, was less successful with the other guys, but in almost every trade the logic of what we were angling to do was pretty clear. With the current Bucks in the market for any player who could crack a potential eight-man playoff rotation, I’d be shocked if the 76%ers were proven wrong and no trade was executed today.

But as in life, so in trades: You’ve gotta spend money to make money. Safely assuming Horst will not hit the shiny red self-destruct button that would be trading Jrue Holiday or Khris Middleton, the players he can readily send out include Serge, Jordan Nwora, and George Hill or Grayson Allen if you’re feeling frisky. My colleague Van Fayaz has written an extensive — and I mean EXTENSIVE — trade deadline primer that breaks down everything the Bucks could trade which I highly recommend reading if you haven’t already.

We’ve got a number of second-round picks that can sweeten deals, too, but we’re generally in the market for guys who make anywhere from $4 million to (unrealistically since it’d involve a four-for-one trade barring more teams getting involved) ~$17 million for salary matching purposes. Thus, Jae Crowder’s $10.18 million salary always made him an attractive target because we can actually get to that dollar value without selling the deed to the house. But what if our trade partner demanded Milwaukee’s equally shiny 2029 first-round pick?

Only a third of respondents think we should be sending that pick out, and I can safely say most of those who answered in the affirmative also likely have a high bar for the caliber of returning player to authorize such a trade. With the Bucks having recently stabilized and ripped off a long winning streak, the pressure to give up that future first has abated quite a bit. That’s good, because there is less of a need to reactively send it out to address a relatively short-term injury crisis and more of a chance of it getting used to proactively add to the roster collective, today or at some point in the future.

I tend to agree with the 2/3rds who believe we should not be putting that first into play today. Any guy we realistically get today will not be of an age where we can project two or three future contract’s worth of production out of them or of a elite enough skillset to justify mortgaging our most valuable draft capital for. If we get to the summer and a more substantial deal emerges, that’s when you pull the trigger on 2029. Jae Crowder, all caps and all, is not worth a first-round pick — but he may be worth a bunch of seconds!

Ultimately, we’ll get answers to whether Trader Jon trades and if he trades that first-rounder early this afternoon. Until then, we welcome you to ruminate on all I’ve written above in the comments below and remind you we have a Trade Deadline Open Thread where you can analyze other trades throughout the day. Thanks for reading/reacting, and as always...

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