Milwaukee Bucks: Grades and reactions for the Tony Snell trade

MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 04: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 04: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /
2 of 5
DETROIT, MI – APRIL 22: (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI – APRIL 22: (Photo by Brian Sevald/NBAE via Getty Images) /

What the Bucks traded for

Jon Leuer is a 30-year-old big who, over the years, has shown the ability to knock down three-pointers and rebound at a high rate. If it wasn’t for the fact he shot just 9.1 (!!) percent from deep last season, one might be inclined to call him a floor spacing power forward.

Considering that percentage would make even the playoff version of Nikola Mirotic blush, I’m going to instead focus on what the Bucks likely see as the most appealing aspect of acquiring Leuer. When it comes to having one year less on his contract than Snell, Leuer is truly elite.

Leuer will be an expiring contract next season, as he heads into the final year of a four-year, $41 million deal. With that deal set on a declining scale, he will be owed $9.5 million in 2019-20.

Swapping Leuer for Snell immediately frees up $1.9 million for the Bucks for next season, while also getting them off the hook for a second year.

The fact Leuer’s deal is an expiring makes it all the more likely that he won’t be on the Bucks’ roster to begin next season too. Milwaukee will undoubtedly search for takers for Leuer as they’d be more than happy to free up even more salary to help retain their outgoing free agents, but their chances of finding a taker would seem very unlikely considering they’re close to clean out of assets to sweeten such a deal.

As much as a team with Spencer Hawes and Larry Sanders still on their books from a salary perspective won’t be looking to take on more dead money, the single year remaining on Leuer’s deal does make the stretch provision a real possibility.

Milwaukee could opt to waive Leuer and stretch the remainder of his salary over three years, which on this occasion may actually be the most sensible approach given the variety of free agency questions hanging over them. With the upcoming season being the last for Hawes’ dead money, the overall effect shouldn’t be quite as painful either.

If Leuer sticks around, the chances are he’ll be taking on a Jason Smith-esque role where he sits on the bench and waits for a trade or buyout as the season progresses. Much more likely is the effort to move Leuer’s salary jumps to the top of the Bucks’ agenda immediately.