The Milwaukee Bucks will undoubtedly try to trade for New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis, and they’re virtually guaranteed to fail in that pursuit.
The fact that something is likely impossible doesn’t mean there’s anything to be gained by simply neglecting to even try. As such, the Milwaukee Bucks are a lock to join the rest of the league in shooting for the stars with a trade offer for Anthony Davis in the coming days and weeks.
When news of Davis’ trade request emerged on Monday, it set in motion a league-wide rumor frenzy that could only be produced by a generational talent such as Davis.
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SB Nation’s Tom Ziller noted that only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar‘s request, which ultimately led to him leaving the Bucks in 1975, can be held up as an example of a trade request that obviously usurps the significance of Davis taking this action at present.
As an undoubted franchise centerpiece who is still just 25 years old, it would be remarkably remiss of any NBA front office to not at least do their due diligence — a favorite past time of former Bucks GM John Hammond — on deals for Davis.
According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, Milwaukee will be among the teams to make an offer to New Orleans prior to the deadline, at least meaning nobody will be able to accuse current Bucks general manager Jon Horst of simply sitting on his hands and watching the opportunity pass him by.
"“The Lakers, Knicks, Bucks, and Raptors are expected to make trade offers for Davis ahead of the deadline, according to multiple front-office sources.”"
A Bucks package could include any combination of starters such as Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Malcolm Brogdon, young players such as D.J. Wilson, Sterling Brown, Donte DiVincenzo, and the want-away Thon Maker, along with future draft picks. Milwaukee’s obligations in the latter category significantly complicate proceedings as any first round pick would be years into the future and without any guarantees of being all that valuable.
In short, there’s a lot the Bucks can and will offer to the Pelicans, yet in a race with 29 other franchises all assessing and offering up their assets, it’s almost certainly not going to be enough.
That sentiment was shared by ESPN’s Zach Lowe on Twitter, who explained the absence of Milwaukee talk on the most recent, Davis-themed episode of the Lowe Post podcast.
The final detail of Lowe’s sentiment essentially acts as the crux of why trading for Davis is so difficult for the Bucks. In Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee owns one of a handful of players that the Pelicans would undoubtedly agree to trade Davis for. In a vacuum, the Bucks essentially hold the trump card in Davis negotiations, if they so wanted to use it.
Of course, they don’t, though. Antetokounmpo is the rarest of players in the NBA, as he may already be better than Davis, while he’s also younger than the former Kentucky Wildcat.
The idea of teaming up Antetokounmpo and Davis is the stuff of basketball fans’ dreams, and 29 NBA teams’ nightmares. But in a race that includes every NBA team other than New Orleans, Milwaukee simply doesn’t have the leverage required.
Teams such as the Lakers, Celtics and 76ers represent traditionally desirable markets where Davis could play with another superstar, and would almost certainly re-sign long-term. The fact that those three teams can also offer high potential young talent, and a war-chest of draft picks to kickstart a potentially painful Pelicans rebuild, is just the icing on the cake.
So, the Bucks owe it to themselves to pick up the phone and explore any offer that could lead to Giannis and AD teaming up in Milwaukee, but they’ll do so knowing the odds are oh so heavily stacked against them.
It doesn’t mean Davis’ next destination won’t be significant to the Bucks’ future chances of success, nor does it mean the Bucks shouldn’t be paying close attention to the process in order to avoid New Orleans’ mistakes when Antetokounmpo’s free agency approaches.
When it comes to the prospect of Davis playing in Milwaukee, though, unfortunately The Brow will still be wearing the road team’s colors when he next takes to the floor in Fiserv Forum.