Turning The Tide: How The Milwaukee Bucks Ended Up Landing Greg Monroe


This was not how it was supposed to go.

For a team that went through years of dysfunction and was mired in mediocrity for a little over a decade, the Milwaukee Bucks were the last place any player in the NBA wanted to come to.

There were times where it looked like the team’s fortunes could turn around, only to fall back in a weird pit of despair, almost similar to the type of situation that we’re seeing in Sacramento (sorry Kings fans).

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It may have been no coincidence that long-time former owner Herb Kohl decided to sell the team during it’s worst year as a franchise on all fronts, to the new ownership of Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan.

Needless to say, the Bucks needed to rehabilitate themselves and their image around the league in a big, bad way.

The new ownership may not have made a great first impression, to say the least, in their first major move under their tenure regarding the unceremonious firing of Larry Drew and the subsequent hiring of coach Jason Kidd.

But a year later, putting all the controversy aside that surrounded the Kidd hiring, they ultimately did the right thing.

Of course, the slogan “Own the Future” and the buzz surrounding the team for this past season was a very apt one.

Entering the season, expectations surrounding the Bucks were low. Generally, every Bucks fan wanted to see an improvement, a new look, just something positive to see on the court coming off of a truly disastrous year.

It resulted in one of the strangest rollercoaster-type seasons that ended up being one of the biggest turnarounds for any team in a year-to-year basis in recent history.

To end up being .500 to finish the season when you lose your prized rookie Jabari Parker to a season-ending injury, your one time face of the franchise, big man Larry Sanders mysteriously leaves the team (as well as the league), and when you trade away a potential All-Star guard Brandon Knight for what ended up being Michael Carter-Williams, is not an easy task.

However, the improvements from a diamond in the rough-like Khris Middleton, promising forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, as well as the contributions from key veterans like Jared Dudley, Zaza Pachuilia and the re-emergence of O.J. Mayo made for a highly successful season that resulted in a stunning playoff berth for the team.

All the hard work in the past year, from the owners trying to rebuild the team’s image to Kidd changing the culture inside the team’s locker room, it all culminated yesterday with this Woj bomb:

"Greg Monroe will sign a three-year, $50M deal with the Bucks, including the player option on the final year, sources tell Yahoo."

It does sound a little ridiculous to suggest that a year’s worth of the team’s reinvention resulted in arguably the biggest free agent signing in team history.

But it shows us Bucks fans that the players and teams around the league were paying attention to the progress the team has made in a year.

The first couple of days of free agency suggest there’s a big shift in how free agency works and that may be right to some degree.

Even a team like the Spurs, a team that has won 5 championships in the last 16 years and the shining example of how to run a team in recent history, are in play for a big name player in LaMarcus Aldrdige.

The big market teams like the Lakers (still in play for Aldridge as well) and the Knicks (although the Knicks have rebounded with some nice moves), may look like they came out empty handed, but they’ll ultimately be back next year when some pretty big names are available once again.

The Monroe signing doesn’t make the Bucks an instant contender in the East. The Bucks still need to see improvements from Antetokounmpo, Carter-Wiliams, Parker and Middleton to make them a legitimate threat.

But Monroe helps them immensely by just adding him to the team. There will be ups and downs at the beginning of the season. It just takes time for things to gel when you add new pieces into the fold.

The Bucks in two years went from overpaying players just to come to the team to having at least, one pretty big name to come to Milwaukee to try to become a contender in the East.

Yesterday was a victory.  It doesn’t quite feel like a curse has been lifted, but it’s awfully darn close.

Next: Greg Monroe: The Age Of The Milwaukee Moose

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