Milwaukee Bucks: 4 players worth targeting in a Thon Maker trade

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 07: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JANUARY 07: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
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BROOKLYN, NY – JANUARY 23: (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, NY – JANUARY 23: (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Frank Ntilikina

This may be the biggest swing the Bucks could realistically take in a deal for Maker, as Frank Ntilikina represents a player with obvious potential, yet the recent acquisition of Dennis Smith Jr. may only pave the path for him to stagnate further with the Knicks.

In some senses, an ultra-raw talent such as Ntilikina may not make a ton of sense for a Bucks team set on title contention, and it’s true every other player included on this list would have a much greater level of readiness to help in the months ahead.

On the other hand, with Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon and George Hill all likely set to hit the free agent market this summer, Milwaukee’s not so distant future at point guard does come with more than an air of uncertainty.

Ntilikina has suffered from limited opportunity in New York, but displayed great vision and lead guard instincts during his time in Europe, and has left no doubt over his elite defensive potential since arriving in the NBA. The Bucks have already benefited from the development work of Mike Budenholzer and his staff, and should be looking to identify buy-low targets who could be similarly bolstered by their influence.

There’s no reason to believe Ntilikina isn’t attainable either. Writing for the New York Daily News back in late January, Stefan Bondy outlined the Knicks’ stance on the 20-year-old:

"“Despite the Knicks’ clear lack of confidence in Ntilikina, teams have inquired about the 20-year-old, with the Magic and Suns expressing interest, according to a source. And this is where it gets interesting. There seems to be a debate within the Knicks on whether to deal Ntilikina. He was drafted by Mills and has supporters in the front office. But, according to a source with knowledge of the situation, Perry, who took the job after Ntilikina was drafted, recently approached the Atlanta Hawks to gauge whether the team was interested in dealing for the guard.”"

From a New York perspective, the departure of Kristaps Porzingis leaves major question marks over the team’s future at center beyond this season. Mitchell Robinson has shown promise in his rookie season, but the idea of taking a flyer on Maker may still appeal to the Knicks.

Ntilikina’s role in New York has been so inconsistent that his value is tough to gauge. A straight swap for a young player that intrigues New York may well be the parameters of a deal, but if the Bucks see something worth pursuing with Ntilikina, they could do a lot worse than to see how an offer of Maker and a future second round pick is received in the Big Apple.