ESPN NBA Insider Chad Ford hosted a live chat Wednesday afternoon focused on the NBA Draft.
After a brief discussion of the Kevin Love situation and some talk about the Cavs’ plans at No. 1, Ford delved headfirst into some hard-hitting Bucks talk.
The first response, regarding Wiggins being the possible selection at No. 2, is really no surprise. Any team watching an athlete of Wiggins’ caliber is going to come away impressed, and of course Milwaukee is considering him as a possible choice.
Parker and Embiid still appear to be the favorites, though, and the Bucks won’t have a chance to truly narrow down the choices until after Cleveland makes its pick on draft night.
The second Q&A is much more intriguing.
As “RJ” points out, the Bucks do, in fact, have some intriguing assets. And while they are tradable, they’re not exactly dream contracts with which to negotiate. Hot on the heels of a disastrous 2013-14 campaign, Sanders’ four-year, $44 million extension, which he signed last offseason, kicks in next season. Ilyasova, who battled through injuries nearly all of last season, has three years and more than $24 million remaining on the five-year, $40 million deal he signed in 2012.
If interest in Sanders, even after a season which significantly decreased his value, is as high as Ford reports, the Bucks will certainly entertain offers for the 25-year-old. The same goes for Ilyasova.
Milwaukee’s willingness to part with either, or both, of Sanders/Ilyasova could depend on what happens on draft night. If Cleveland passes on Embiid and Milwaukee picks him, Sanders instantly becomes more expendable.
Ford suggests Milwaukee is interested in adding another lottery pick, but it’s hard to believe either Sanders or Ilyasova alone would fetch that kind of value. Plus, other players would almost certainly need to be added to the deal to balance salaries.
Ford’s assertion that the Bucks are interested in drafting a young point guard is interesting, but not unexpected. As productive as Brandon Knight was for the latter half of last season, belief still exists that he’s more equipped to play shooting guard. It’s a relatively weak point guard draft – well, depending upon how you classify Marcus Smart and Dante Exum, I suppose – so if the Bucks were hypothetically able to obtain another lottery pick, Smart and Exum would seemingly be the only reasonable options.
Later in the chat, Ford was asked about Utah’s interest in moving up to No. 2 in order select Jabari Parker:
Utah’s motivations in landing Parker extend beyond his basketball abilities. It’s well-known that Parker is of Mormon faith, and the state of Utah is over 60 percent Mormon. In other words, it’s a PR dream. But while the Jazz would love to have Parker, Ford says it would take a hefty offer for the Bucks to move back.
In the scenario he proposes, Milwaukee is essentially swapping Sanders and No. 2 for Favors and No. 5. Parting with Sanders and his contract would seemingly benefit the Bucks, but Favors signed an even larger deal than Sanders’ (four years, $49 million) and is coming off of a relatively disappointing season. Yes, Favors is an upgrade over Sanders, both on and off the court, but is he worth moving back three spots and missing out on a chance at one of the “Big Three”? In my mind, probably not. That’s where Ford’s “at a minimum” statement comes into play. Utah would probably need to throw in another pick or intriguing player (Alec Burks, ideally) for Milwaukee to seriously consider a deal.