As the trade deadline draws nearer, the latest reports suggest the Milwaukee Bucks may focus on adding frontcourt depth, via trade or buyout signings.
The Milwaukee Bucks could be in for a busy few days ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. Thon Maker‘s desire to move on has loomed over the team for a couple of weeks, and Milwaukee’s inclusion on Anthony Davis‘ wish list has added another wildcard into the mix.
Of course, all of that only adds to the discussion surrounding the decisions facing Milwaukee. Specifically, how do you possibly go about improving a team that could be set to equal their win total from last season before the All-Star break?
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Milwaukee’s starting lineup is likely difficult to improve upon at this juncture considering the Bucks’ assets, while there’ll also be an understandable reluctance to rock the boat and disrupt chemistry on a winning team. Still, the Bucks could realistically look to improve their depth.
According to a report from Sean Deveney of the Sporting News, that may well be Milwaukee’s focus in the days and weeks ahead, with bolstering the team’s frontcourt options at the top of their agenda.
Writing about Wesley Matthews, Deveney noted that the Bucks may somewhat surprisingly not be among the suitors for the former Marquette star, as their priorities via trade or later on the buyout market look to be fixed on the frontcourt:
"“Not among the prospective suitors: the Bucks, Matthews’ hometown team. Milwaukee is hoping to boost its frontcourt in the coming weeks, either on Thursday or through a waiver signing.”"
D.J. Wilson‘s emergence as a game and intelligent contributor with positional versatility has been a major boost to the Bucks, but although they’re not short of options in that area of the floor, other questions have surfaced as the season has gone on.
In particular, Ersan Ilyasova has struggled mightily since recovering from a broken nose. Ilyasova finally ended a six-game scoring drought on Monday against the Nets, but isn’t currently living up to the expectations he was likely signed with.
Maker’s trade request has further complicated Milwaukee’s frontcourt depth, meaning that if the Australian big is moved before the deadline, the Bucks may in fact need a replacement option. In spite of dominance in the G League, the stage the Bucks are currently headed for likely remains a little too bright for where Christian Wood is at present, while Jason Smith has played very sparingly since arriving via the George Hill trade.
Experienced and capable veterans such as Robin Lopez, Dewayne Dedmon and JaMychal Green are widely reported as being available, and a player of that ilk would certainly shore up Milwaukee’s options among their bigs.
If the Bucks don’t make a trade before Thursday afternoon and become buyout players, the question would then be which player will get waived to open up a roster spot. Wood would certainly seem like the most realistic option from a contract perspective, although for practical purposes Milwaukee may be better served parting with Smith.
Either way, it’ll be interesting to see which frontcourt players, if any, the Bucks are linked with over the next few days, and beyond.