Milwaukee Bucks Rumors: Bucks likely sellers to avoid luxury tax

Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports /

Faced with the prospect of getting dangerously close to the luxury tax, the Milwaukee Bucks could be active in looking to shed contracts.

With free agency excitement set to kick in at midnight for teams and fans around the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks find themselves in a very difficult spot.

Thanks to Greg Monroe and Spencer Hawes‘ decisions to opt in to the final years of their current deals in Milwaukee, the Bucks are entering free agency already effectively over the salary cap.

Considering the Bucks remain determined to retain restricted free agent Tony Snell, that means in all likelihood the team is going to be facing significant luxury tax pressure in the coming days and months.

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So while many of their rivals focus on additions to improve for next season, Milwaukee’s best hope might be to dump some of their heftier contracts to open up some salary cap breathing room. In effect, they’re hoping for their own kind of addition by subtraction.

In his free agency primer for ESPN on Friday morning, Zach Lowe singled the Bucks out as one of a number of teams likely to be looking to cut costs in the near future.

"“Another method of tanking tied to the tighter cap environment: Teams with room could use it to take unwanted contracts — plus draft picks — from rivals who spent big last summer, and feel buyer’s remorse as they approach the tax. The Pistons, Hornets, Bucks, Raptors and Blazers come to mind as money-shedders.”"

While the last thing the Bucks will be looking to do is part with draft picks, the reality is that they could well have no other avenue of moving on from some of the dead money currently on their roster.

Lowe makes further mention of the Bucks in his free agency preview, as he makes his own guess for Snell’s likely price, and highlights some of the players the Bucks might explore moving in order to balance the books.

"“Barring a massive offer sheet, I’d expect Milwaukee to re-sign Tony Snell for something in the $10-12 million range — a move that would nudge them right up against the tax. Milwaukee could waive Spencer Hawes with the stretch provision, but even then, they still might dangle John Henson and Mirza Teletovic.”"

None of this is particularly unexpected or even unexplored territory for most who have been deeply entrenched in all things Milwaukee basketball over the past 12 months, but we’ve now reached a point where the Bucks are dealing with reality rather than hypotheticals.

Next: Milwaukee Bucks: 20 realistic free agent options for the Bucks

If a deal to re-sign Snell or any other free agent acquisitions were to tip the Bucks over the luxury tax threshold, the organization would then face a race against time to dip back below it before the official end of the season, when the bill would arrive in June 2018.