As the NBA trade season starts to step up a gear, is there any reason for the Milwaukee Bucks to be interested in a potential reunion with Andrew Bogut?
The Cleveland Cavaliers were the first team to make a major splash in the 2017 trade market with the acquisition of sharpshooter Kyle Korver from the Atlanta Hawks. As the Eastern Conference juggernaut continues to improve, other teams around the league are taking a long, hard look at their roster and trying to figure out if they have what it takes to dethrone the league’s elite teams.
The Bucks are one of the league’s best teams in both offensive efficiency and defensive efficiency and the team has played extraordinarily well against the league’s top teams, Golden State, San Antonio and the aforementioned Cleveland Cavaliers. But what realistic addition can be made to the team that might move the needle to make the Bucks a legit contender in 2017?
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How about Andrew Bogut?
Yes, Bogut, the former number one overall pick for the Bucks in 2005 might just be the missing piece to this budding team. Bogut was traded to the Golden State Warriors in 2012 for Monta Ellis after seven productive, albeit injury riddled seasons in Milwaukee.
With the Warriors adding Kevin Durant in the offseason, Bogut was shipped to the Dallas Mavericks for peanuts and, to put it lightly, it hasn’t been a perfect union. Bogut went from a team that won the most regular season games in history, to one of the Western Conference bottom feeders, floating without direction in what could be the final season(s) of Dirk Nowitzki‘s career.
Bogut recently demoted himself to a bench role after struggling to find chemistry playing along side Nowitzki and he has made it clear he does not plan on re-signing in the offseason. It only makes sense for the Mavs to cut ties with the Australian big man in an effort to get younger and prepare for life after Dirk.
Enter the Milwaukee Bucks.
Milwaukee is in the bottom half of the league in rebounding and aside from Giannis, there’s a lot left to be desired in terms of rim protection. Bogut could make an immediate impact and be a mentor to players like Miles Plumlee and Thon Maker.
There is a cavalcade of reasons Bogut makes sense for the Bucks. He knows the organization, he can step in as a starter and he’s not afraid to do the dirty work that the offense needs: set screens, roll to the basket, finish lobs (basically what they thought they were signing Plumlee for). Perhaps the best reason to bring Bogut back though, is to reunite him with his countryman Matthew Dellavedova. Bogut and Delly formed arguably the most potent 1-2 punch in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and that immediate chemistry could be just what the team needs to get Delly out of his funk.
A postseason starting lineup of Dellavedova, Middleton, Giannis, Parker and Bogut looks like a solid mix of floor spacers and defensive stalwarts.
So how do the Bucks go about acquiring Bogut?
Well, Bogut’s value might be at the lowest of his career, but the Mavericks will still want someone or some pick to build around. The Bucks don’t want to send away any picks so they will have to ship a once-coveted player to Dallas.
Henson is the de facto starter in Milwaukee, but he’s not getting many minutes and he’s not making much of an impact when he is on the floor. But the Mavericks should be more than happy to bring Henson down south. Henson is in the first year of a four-year extension signed before the legendary cap spike of 2016. He’s being paid $11 million this year, but every following season sees his salary (and cap hold) decline. For a player of Henson’s skillset, it’s a very reasonable deal.
Henson also helps the Mavs get younger. Henson is surprisingly only 26 years old, six years younger than Bogut. And Henson could theoretically play next to Dirk as a shot-blocking forward. Henson has always struggled with consistency as a pro. The steady influence of Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle might be just what the doctor ordered.
The Bucks do like Henson, though. He’s played his entire career in Milwaukee. He plays unselfishly and doesn’t care about how many minutes he’s getting. But the Bucks need to shed a contract. Milwaukee has $40 million committed to the team’s three centers this season. No one is taking Miles Plumlee without a pick and Greg Monroe has led the team’s bench unit, so Henson is the odd man out.
Bringing Bogut’s expiring contract gives the Bucks a chance to try out the Aussie with little risk and possibly re-sign him on the cheap.
With Jabari Parker due for an extension and Greg Monroe having a career year, the Bucks need to be more cognizant of their cap than in any previous years.
The trade benefits two teams that seem to have completely differing aspirations. And the one-to-one swap satisfies the cap requirements according to the NBA trade machine.
And wile there’s no indication of any impending trades from the Milwaukee front office and Dallas hasn’t made Bogut publicly available, it doesn’t hurt to call. If the Bucks are serious about competing this post-season it might be time to print off some new number 6’s in Green and Cream. Sorry, Steve.