Milwaukee Bucks: How Will They Approach The Trade Deadline?

Dec 20, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Bucks defeated the Suns 101-95. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 20, 2015; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Bucks defeated the Suns 101-95. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

With the trade deadline almost a month away, the Bucks could be in a peculiar spot when it comes to making any worthwhile deals.

The future still remains bright for the Milwaukee Bucks, but that unfortunately can’t be applied to the present.

The multitude of reasons for the team’s big step back this year have all been well covered at this point and whether you agree with all of them or not, the team still sits with a disappointing record of 15-24 after coming off an unexpected, successful season.

With all that said, the Bucks now find themselves back in recent familiar territory as a trip to the draft lottery is pretty much locked in as a certainty for the team.

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However, one big hurdle remains for the team from now until the end of the season (which is approximately three months from now): what do the Bucks do at the trade deadline?

While the season has been disappointing, the team is at an advantageous position of being one of the few distinct sellers around the league due to how many teams remain serious playoff candidates in both conferences.

As the deadline looms larger for teams over the course of the next month, the Bucks theoretically fit the bill of a normal selling team by having veterans on expiring contracts that could help jolt a middle of the pack contender into possibly making a deep playoff run.

On the other hand, there’s a number of potential factors of why the Bucks could sit tight/might not find worthwhile value back (barring some big deadline surprise like last year) for what they could unload to other teams.

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For one, the lack of sellers could prove to be a problem for the Bucks at the deadline.

With a little over two-thirds of the league still in the playoff hunt, it’s almost a double edged sword for the Bucks by being sitting in the spot the team finds themselves right now.

Of course, this could change over the course of the next month or so as the fate for a number of teams become much clearer, but it seems hard to imagine even half of the teams in playoff contention wanting to make a roster change when the aspirations for a playoff berth are still a real possibility at this point.

Secondly, the salary cap rise this Summer could have a big impact on what teams do/don’t do this coming trade deadline.

With the collective cap space for every team around the league this Summer projected to being worth a little over $1 billion, that upcoming reality alone could factor into teams just staying where they are at the deadline.

Along with that, the growing disparity between the cost of a draft pick and the growing cost of a mid-level role player this Summer will make draft picks far more valuable than ever before, regardless of how good that player will become.

That will surely make teams think twice about potentially dealing draft picks in hopes to make a short-term playoff run.

Lastly, what could the Bucks even get in return for any of their veterans?

Out of the team’s group of veterans, Jerryd Bayless has been the best out of the bunch.

Per, Bayless’ had a career year in points per game (11.6) and efficiency from the field (44 percent) as well as three-point range (44 percent), but he’s had trouble staying on the court recently due to suffering some nasty ankle sprains.

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O.J. Mayo‘s been instrumental in helping this young Bucks team on and off the court, but he hasn’t seen much individual success as he’s going through the worst shooting year in his eight-year career (38 percent from the field and 30 percent from beyond the arc).

While there are rumors that he could return far sooner than what was initially expected, potentially dealing Greivis Vasquez might have to come with another asset due to the disappointing numbers he produced before his injury this year.

Dealing either Mayo, Bayless or Vasquez doesn’t seem likely to entice possible contenders into dealing any valuable draft pick and/or promising player.

Furthermore, it’s clear that the team misses the highly productive veterans from last year’s team, so why jettison the remaining veterans and ride out the rest of the season with what you have when you may not get what you hoped in return?

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Again, this could be all moot by the time the deadline officially closes and you never know what surprises may be in store (if there are any), but how the Bucks negotiate their way through trade talks may not come as easy as we might expect this trade season.