Milwaukee Bucks couldn’t have afforded sky-high price for Kyrie Irving

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 21: Kyrie Irving /

Kyrie Irving was traded to the Boston Celtics for a price that would have been way too costly for the Milwaukee Bucks to match.

As one of the most prolific offseasons in recent memory draws to a close, the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers engaged in possibly the most important trade of the whole Summer. The Boston Celtics traded Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, Isaiah Thomas and the 2018 Brooklyn Nets pick for Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving.

It’s at this moment where the entire Milwaukee Bucks fandom should have breathed a collective sigh of relief.

Many Bucks fans had advocated for the Bucks to attempt to trade for the four-time All-Star, and who could blame them? Irving was coming off his most successful seasons in the Association with career high averages in points per game (25.2), field goal percentage(47.3 percent) and free throw percentage (90.5 percent). Irving is an absolute superstar and has a clutch gene rarely seen in the league, highlighted by his game-winning shot in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.

Teams league-wide had every right to at least inquire about what it would take to trade for the young guard, but what the Celtics had to give up in return for the All-Star guard was an enormous price to pay.

More from Bucks News

The Celtics have sold the proverbial farm in order to get their point guard of the future, while some would argue that they already had an elite point guard in Isaiah Thomas. If this is the haul the Cavaliers were after, then the Milwaukee Bucks definitely dodged a bullet in not looking to push through a deal for Irving.

Thomas is coming off his undoubted best season in the NBA, earning an All-Star selection for the second time, while also being selected on the All-NBA Second Team. He averaged 28.9 points (46.3 percent from the field and 38 percent from three), 5.9 assists and 2.7 rebounds per game. Thomas’ points total was good enough for third highest in the league as he became the undoubted leader of the Celtics as they finished the regular season first in the Eastern Conference.

Crowder and Zizic are also nice pieces that the Celtics have been required to throw in. Zizic was one of Boston’s first round selections in last year’s draft and impressed many last year in the EuroLeague.

Crowder on the other hand is on what many consider to be one of the best value contracts in the NBA, as he’s set to earn less than $22 million in the next three years. Crowder averaged almost 14 points, six rebounds and two assists last year and is a tremendous defender.

Crowder finished last season with a defensive rating of 104.5 which put him inside the top third of the league’s best defenders, and even better than Milwaukee’s own Giannis Antetokounmpo. On top of this, all reports suggest Crowder is a tremendous teammate.

In isolation, this would have been enough, trading these three for Irving, but instead Boston did the unthinkable and added the Nets’ unprotected 2018 first round pick to the deal.

In doing so, they lost quite possibly their best trade asset in what is set to be a stacked 2018 draft class. With Brooklyn trading away their best player in Brook Lopez, they are likely to remain at or near the bottom of an admittedly weak Eastern Conference. Meaning that the pick now being conveyed to Cleveland will likely land in the top five.

This is an extraordinarily valuable trade asset that Danny Ainge has given up, on top of already valuable assets in Thomas, Crowder and Zizic.

Compare this to what the Bucks currently posses in terms of trade assets and hypothetical anxiety attacks begin to occur for most Bucks fans. If this is what it took for Irving to be traded, then Bucks fans really don’t want to think about that hypothetical trade.

It is widely assumed that Giannis Antetokounmpo is off the trade table between now and eternity. Everyone else, including future draft picks appeared to be on the table for this trade and quite frankly it’s worrying to think about what it would have taken.

Assumedly the deal would have centred around Khris Middleton, who in the grand scheme of things, is an upgraded version of Jae Crowder. The Cavaliers would probably have not been convinced with Jabari Parker’s long term health. Instead they may have viewed Malcolm Brogdon as a far better long term asset who would also have provided short term value as the current Rookie of the Year and a replacement for Irving at the point guard position.

Furthermore, with the deal not remotely close to being done, the Cavaliers could have asked for Thon Maker. Cleveland would likely view Maker as an extremely high upside big man to lead their rotation in the years to come, while also providing them with a big man to work around in the short term.

Given that the sum of the parts listed above probably doesn’t add up to the deal Boston provided, again Cleveland could potentially have asked for another young player, such as D.J. Wilson. As the Bucks first round pick this year, much is expected of Wilson as a long term 3-and-D prospect heading forward. With Wilson also leaving the picture, the Bucks would left rail thin in terms of depth and youngsters heading forward with three top prospects under 25 and Middleton out the door for Irving.

The deal likely still wouldn’t have been acceptable for Cleveland without the addition of draft picks. As the Bucks possess nothing near the value of Brooklyn’s 2018 first round pick, it’s likely they would have had to deal two unprotected future first round picks to get the deal done. Admittedly, the Bucks are expecting to be challenging for the playoffs in that time but on the oft chance that they have a down year, that unprotected lottery pick would be heading to Cleveland.

In summary, most Bucks fans really don’t want to have to think about what it would have taken to pry Irving away from the Cavaliers.

In this hypothetical trade, the Bucks could have given up Middleton, Brogdon, Maker and Wilson, along with two unprotected first round picks. Thats Milwaukee’s second best player in the prime of his career and three talented players under 25, including the current Roookie of the Year. Not to mention an additional two unprotected first rounders that would have decimated Milwaukee’s stocks for years to come.

Essentially to get Irving and keep Giannis, the Bucks would have been left with little else to construct a roster around and in this instance, Kyrie is simply not worth that haul.

Next: Win In 6 Podcast #143: Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Greek drama

Milwaukee would have had to mortgage their future for hypothetical success which may never have transpired. So, rest easy Bucks fans, because the Boston Celtics may have forced the Bucks to dodge a fairly hefty bullet with this trade.