The Milwaukee Bucks season is over. A lot of people have had a lot of thoughts about it both here on Brew Hoop and elsewhere — I called for the formation of exploratory teardown committees, Morgan advocated running it back, we found out coach Mike Budenholzer lost his brother mid-series, everyone and their sister had a take on the Giannis Antetokounmpo v. Eric Nehm post-game presser showdown and What It Means For Public Morality, and we’ve seen plenty of thoughtful input from all you readers in the half-week since it all wrapped up on all of it.
It is clear that the team will be taking its time to make the first consequential decision of the off-season. Letting Budenholzer go or keeping him aboard for another season is a difficult call (in my opinion, at least). A few weeks spent assessing everything that went into the team’s latest failure is the bare minimum expectation, especially if the front office doesn’t view the Nick Nurses of the world as clear-and-obvious upgrades or commodities that’ll be poached out from under them by competing offers in the meantime. Barring other playoff flameouts that suddenly open shiny win-now opportunities on Milwaukee’s level, I think they’re right to take their time.
Once that is decided, the much tougher work begins: That of the 2023-2024 roster.
Khris Middleton will have to make a decision on his ~$40 million player option by June 21st. The NBA Draft is on June 22nd. Teams and players can begin negotiating in free agency on June 30th. There was noise that Brook Lopez would rather come back to Milwaukee on another deal, but nothing concrete has emerged as yet.
And so we’re in something of a holding pattern for now — that’s what happens when you’re out of the fight five seconds into the thing. Horst simultaneously has plenty of time to make his decisions and almost no time at all; in a flash, June will be here. We wish him luck.
We’re always happy to see the Bucks featured over on the mothership, except, of course, when it is because they’re getting clowned on. I think it is actually healthy for the team to get ragged as much as it did (this piece being just one example among hundreds) so as to drive home the futility of what we witnessed. The series was not particularly close when all was said and done — late leads by the Bucks in G4 and G5 notwithstanding — and that shouldn’t be lost as a very relevant data point as time marches forward.
There were plenty of pieces in this vein in the immediate aftermath of Game Five. If you were looking for some catharsis, I’d suggest listening to Zach Lowe’s opening rant on his “The Lowe Post” podcast dealing with the Bucks the day after their crashing out.
This article, though, is a helpful roundup of some of the other coaching candidates and openings around the league. I’ve very few ideas or recognition of a lot of the names, but it might be a good starting place if you’re looking to pull up a few folks for your own research as we await a Bud decision.
A pretty bleak roundup for what may ultimately end up being a pretty bleak couple of upcoming years for the team!
NBA CBA 101: Everything to know about new agreement, from salary cap to free agency and beyond (CBS Sports)
And just when the going starts to get rough as far as roster tinkering goes, the NBA and NBPA announced last week that they have signed off on a new CBA. The biggest problem for the Bucks is that they will likely end up in the same tax bracket as the Warriors and Clippers of the world. In the new CBA, those teams will be even more hamstrung than before in bringing in free agents in particular. No more taxpayer MLE, no Joe Ingles. If you thought trying to sell random 30 year old men on the vistas of Milwaukee, Wisconsin was tough before, you haven’t met tough yet!
It was a lot of fun being the hot new thing what with our playing further in the playoffs than the first round and our sexy Deer District. Now, like the good old bad days, we’re back to twiddling our thumbs at the start of May while the District stands vacant like all those hollowed out, haunted industrial zones that Milwaukee and the larger Rust Belt are so famous for. Things will certainly pick up in the District once the weather improves. Still, if you’re a business owner down there banking on roving Bucks crowd... yikes.
I actually really enjoyed this piece and thank Tao-of-Hoop (what a username!) for writing it. “Transmuting This Suffering” is the kind of calm breakdown of Milwaukee’s defeat that distills it all quite clearly and without much malice at all. The only question not asked and so, unfortunately, not answered, is whether Buddha himself would have done a better job man guarding Jimmy Butler than Jrue Holiday did. A deserving FPOTW winner. Thanks for writing!
Where In The World Is... Jae Crowder’s Next Team?
Know Your Enemy is out. Finding a new home for Jae Crowder somewhere around the world is in. I plan on formalizing this soon with a whole bunch of random team names and a picker wheel, but let’s meet one of Jae’s probable suitors first! Come on down Shanghai Sharks!
- The city: Shanghai, China - pop. ~26.9 million
- The league: Chinese Basketball Association
- The pay: Up to $5 million if he’s the only foreigner on the team (per a website called JoseColorado.com lol)
- The logo:
- The pitch: Jae would be following in the footsteps of recent Bucks greats (???) like Eric Bledsoe, Michael Beasley, and Johnny O’Bryant III who have been finishing out their playing days with the Sharks. While Crowder will have no championship credibility to sell himself on to Shanghai’s front office, he’ll have them know that if he comes in and is given a defined role in permanent marker on a sheet of paper, he’s sure he can remember how to move laterally and how to make layups. If he couldn’t get love in the town where he played his college ball, maybe he can find some in the megalopolis many have called “the Milwaukee of China” — note: I’m the only one calling Shanghai that
The Social Media Section
Not Jordan dancing on our graves
No way— Jordan Nwora (@JordanNwora) April 27, 2023
Yo, what the hell is Pat Jae-posting for? Read between the lines?
Serge, thankfully, stays relaxed and winning
We are 0-1 when it comes to winning titles in the Whatever This Outfit Is era
Thanks as ever to all the readers who stuck with the MMMR this year. It is usually a lot of fun to put together and to use as a reliable place to pontificate about the state of Bucks basketball on a weekly basis. Sometimes I feel like I really have the pulse of things. Other times it is clear almost the second a piece publishes that I don’t have a clue about anything. And that’s okay, because it’s all make believe and for fun, anyhow.
We’ll be putting out some pieces today/this week to plug the latest episode of the Brew Hoop Podcast which dropped this morning and another Open Thread everyone can use to follow the rest of the playoffs if you so choose.