Milwaukee Bucks: 2018-19 is going to be a big year for the Bucks


The 2017-18 regular season is obviously important, but 2018-19 will be huge for the Milwaukee Bucks’ future prospects.

A few months before the 2017-18 NBA season starts seems early to write it off as unimportant compared to the next season after it, but for the Milwaukee Bucks, 2018-19 might end up being a far bigger year than 2017-18.

There’s one obvious reason that season will be special — it will be Milwaukee’s first with the team playing in the new Wisconsin Entertainment and Sports Center, which will likely have a different name thanks to a corporate sponsorship by then.

That will be huge for the franchise in its own right. The BMO Harris Bradley Center represents a long spell of bad Bucks teams more than anything else, and its lack of windows gives it a very strange feeling.

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The new arena will be better, plain and simple. In addition to the improved venue for the Bucks, the rest of the NBA will be a vastly different place in just one year. The biggest chess piece in the Eastern Conference might leave the board entirely.

LeBron James is, of course, that chess piece. LeBron has crushed each and every challenger to his throne atop the East for nearly a decade consecutively, and it’s more likely than not that he does the same thing this coming season. Even if Kyrie Irving is suiting up for a different team next year, LeBron will probably end up in the Finals once again.

King James seems less than satisfied with his Cleveland Cavaliers at the moment, though. And really, it’s hard to blame him considering the horrific summer the Cavs have had. The franchise seems utterly unstable.

The house of cards would come crashing down in a heartbeat if LeBron left again, and the chance of him doing so increases with each misstep made by Cleveland as an organization. A bad Kyrie deal might be the last straw.

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LeBron staying in the East might not open up much for the Bucks, but if he really does head West it opens things up in a manner Eastern Conference teams have not seen in quite some time. All of a sudden the Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards, and Toronto Raptors become the top dogs in the East.

The Celtics will likely edge out those other two, but as good as Boston is poised to be there’s no guarantee that the Celtics end up being as good as LeBron’s teams have been over the past seven seasons.

The Bucks will have a 24/25-year-old Giannis Antetokounmpo right in his prime, along with whatever other young players and free agents or trade targets the team manages to add. Milwaukee will have over $90 million on the books for 2018-19 once Tony Snell officially re-signs, but one or two timely salary dumps could open up real spending money.

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LeBron leaving the East is no certainty, but it’s certainly a possibility. If he follows in Jimmy Butler and Paul George‘s footsteps, the East will be Milwaukee’s for the taking once the 2018-19 regular season rolls around. Fans in the new arena should have a blast rooting for their Milwaukee Bucks just over a year from now.