Milwaukee Bucks: What’s next for the Bucks’ offseason?

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 4: Derrick Rose
NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 4: Derrick Rose /

With point guard target Derrick Rose reportedly destined for the Cleveland Cavaliers, what’s next for the Milwaukee Bucks’ offseason plans?

To the joy of many Milwaukee Bucks fans, it seems as if Derrick Rose is not going to be suiting up in the team’s green and cream uniforms next season.

In spite of strong interest from the Bucks and a supposed desire to play as close to Chicago as possible, in recent days the focus of all Rose rumors has switched away from Milwaukee. The Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers have been at the head of the queue over the past week, and now it seems as if Rose’s free agency may be about to receive some closure.

According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Rose will meet with the Cavs on Monday to work toward terms on a deal:

"“Rose met with the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday, but has been leaning toward the Cavaliers opportunity, league sources told ESPN.”"

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With Cleveland obviously fueled by the uncertainty surrounding Kyrie Irving‘s future, and the limited pool of point guards they can look to add considering their cap situation, Rose’s fit with the Cavaliers is certainly more obvious than it is elsewhere.

For the Bucks, though, with someone who was a notable (and divisive) target potentially coming off the board, the question now shifts to where do they go from here.

The situation remains challenging for Milwaukee as they continue to track toward a luxury tax payment that the owners don’t seem to want to pay just yet, have decisions to make regarding a potential extension for Jabari Parker, and simply don’t have any open roster spots at present.

In other words, before worrying about any further commitments, present or future, the first step for the Bucks needs to be to shed salary.

The simplest way to dip below the tax mark would be to stretch Spencer Hawes‘ contract, but that would leave the team with more dead money alongside Larry Sanders‘ buyout on their books going forward.

The more appealing option would be to trade a more significant and longer term salary, such as John Henson, Mirza Teletovic or Matthew Dellavedova, opening up room for a meaningful late free agency gamble this year or clearing space to try and make a more significant splash in free agency next summer.

Considering there’s been no indication of interest in those players from around the league up until now, and cap space is at an all-time premium in the NBA, moving any of those players could come at a high cost.

The Toronto Raptors had to send a 2018 first round pick and a 2018 second round pick to the Brooklyn Nets in order to offload DeMarre Carroll, and that sets a precedent for the kind of price the Bucks may be forced to pay to get out of both the value and years of some of their less desirable contracts.

While Tony Snell has agreed to terms to return to the Bucks, he has yet to officially re-sign as the Bucks can go over the cap in doing so and holding off on finalizing that deal leaves them with flexibility for further deals.

With free agent options dwindling, it does seem less and less likely that the Bucks will do anything significant to make use of that, though.

Guessing what the often unpredictable Bucks will do next is always a dangerous game, but at this point it seems as if the safest bet is that they will stand pat, or as close to that as their luxury tax concerns will allow them to.

The Bucks will likely continue to pursue salary shedding trades, but whether they’re successful in that or ultimately end up stretching Hawes to get under the tax, it seems like Bucks fans anticipating further incomings may have to accept the return of Jason Terry as the best case scenario.

In an even weaker Eastern Conference, bringing the band back together for one more season certainly shouldn’t damage Milwaukee’s results. Even more importantly, avoiding any more long-term deals should provide the Bucks with some flexibility next summer when Greg Monroe hits unrestricted free agency.

Next: Milwaukee Bucks: How much more can Giannis Antetokounmpo improve?

In other words, there shouldn’t be much expected of the rest of the Bucks’ offseason, and at this point that’s a good thing.