Milwaukee Bucks: Should they trade their 2019 first round pick?

MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 22: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
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ST. FRANCIS, WI – JUNE 24: (Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Other trade options for their first round pick

Milwaukee’s other trade options with their pick are that they could use it as an asset to help acquire an existing player, use it to trade back for second round picks this year, or use it to acquire future draft picks. Each of these moves, though, carry their own risk and are also difficult to pull off.

The 30th pick doesn’t typically have a lot of value in trades. It probably won’t be enough on it’s own to land any of the impactful players Milwaukee may want to target in a trade.

Milwaukee’s cap situation complicates things even further. Their 2019-20 salaries don’t kick in until the first week in July. This means they’re operating on last year’s salary figures until then. Given that they were over the luxury tax threshold for the 2018-19 season, Milwaukee would need to send more money out than it takes on in any potential trade on draft night in order for a trade to work. Thus, the 30th pick could not be used on its own to help them land a player, and their cap situation makes landing a significant existing player nearly impossible.

Trading their first round pick this year for future picks doesn’t help much either. Milwaukee are contending for a title right now. They can ill afford to defer using a cheap asset to their advantage, especially with their cap situation being as tight as it is this summer.

The one trade option that might make sense for the Bucks is using their first round pick to trade back into the second round. By doing this, Milwaukee could get multiple swings at potential role players by acquiring two or more second round picks. We’ve seen the team hit on several of these selections in recent years, landing valuable role players such as Sterling Brown and Malcolm Brogdon late in the draft.

Even trading back, though, presents risks and difficulties. Because second round picks aren’t bound by the same contract rules that apply to first round picks, team’s have to use either their cap space, or a mid-level salary exception if they were above the cap, to sign them. Milwaukee may not have either of those available to them after they’re done signing their players this summer.

If they retained their first round pick, the team wouldn’t need cap space or a contract exception available to them to sign their pick. They’d also be guaranteed four years of roster control over their first round pick, something that isn’t assured with second rounders.

Guards like Dylan Windler, Ty Jerome, Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro, who are great spot-up shooters, could be available at 30 and would address some of the weaknesses Milwaukee had in their second unit this year. The Bucks may also have a shot to draft other floor-spacers in the front court like forwards Chuma Okeke and Louis King, or Oregon center Bol Bol at that pick. It’s unlikely, if they moved back, that any of these guys would be available.

Unless several potential role player types drop into the second round, it’s hard to see the benefit of trading back, especially given that signing their second round picks would eat into their already restricted salary cap space entering free agency.


Given all of this, then, the best course of action for the Milwaukee Bucks will likely be for them to hold onto their first round pick. Even if this draft is lacking in potential high-end talent, there are several role players in it that could have serviceable NBA careers.

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With cap space and team control hard to come by on the current roster, Milwaukee needs all of the low cost players they can get. Keeping their first round pick would help them do just that.