Milwaukee Bucks: Quiet trade deadline is very likely

SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 24: (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 24: (Photo by Jennifer Pottheiser/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks are flying high with the NBA’s best record, and that may well lead to a particularly quiet trade deadline for them.

With less than three weeks to go until the NBA’s trade deadline, the Milwaukee Bucks sit far and away at the top of not just the Eastern Conference standings, but also the NBA as a whole.

In many instances, contrary to what may be conventional wisdom in that situation, that’s the kind of set up that can lead to a busy and aggressive approach to the trade deadline.

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When a team reaches a point where it seems realistic to imagine them holding the Larry O’Brien trophy aloft down the line, it’s also often the point when fear kicks in. That fear can often lead to deals being made to try to seal the deal, in spite of the fact the unknowable knock-on effects can also lead to greater heartache down the line.

With the Bucks currently on pace to become just the third team in NBA history to hit the 70-win mark, and the team’s chemistry and cohesion apparently at an all-time high, it also seems reasonable to question just how realistic it is that a deal would present itself that would obviously improve Milwaukee, especially given the underwhelming collection of trade assets at their disposal.

Speaking to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated last week, Jon Horst made it clear that the Bucks would, of course, explore their options, but also hinted at a trade being unlikely:

"“Of course we are going to look around. Of course we are going to do our jobs. But we are going to be incredibly patient and incredibly protective of what we have. I think that’s fair and I think that’s smart. It doesn’t mean that we’re not going to do anything or that we shouldn’t do anything. But we have guys here that have shown they can impact games.”"

That may well lead to disappointment for the countless fans who love to play around with the trade machine, and simply enjoy the excitement of trade season, but even beyond what the Bucks hope to achieve this year, it could prove to be a very wise decision.

There has been so much focus on the task at hand for the Bucks to convince Giannis Antetokounmpo to sign a supermax contract extension next summer, that it’s important not to lose sight of how important it is to ensure you still have sufficient assets to build a winner around him for years to come if he does put pen to paper.

Antetokounmpo is just 25 years old, and therefore this cannot be a case of the Bucks going all in to construct a roster that may just have a two-year window to compete. This is not the kind of race against time that comes with an aging superstar.

With Sterling Brown and D.J. Wilson approaching the ends of their rookie contracts, only Donte DiVincenzo has more than a year remaining on one of the low-cost, rookie scale deals that are increasingly important to the Bucks given how high their salary bill is, and how restricted they are in terms of making additional moves up against the tax.

On that front, while the Pacers’ first round pick that was recouped in the Malcolm Brogdon trade would almost certainly be the centerpiece of any trade the Bucks make in the next few weeks, the construction of the team’s roster means they may well be better served using that selection to add a young player on a cost controlled deal, whether that’s this summer or trading it for a future pick in a stronger draft class a little further down the line.

There’s no reason to believe that the Bucks haven’t already built a roster capable of delivering a championship. What they must ensure, though, given what their superstar could be set to achieve for years to come, is that it’s something they can repeat and sustain for many years into the future.

Next. Donte DiVincenzo’s warming up at the right time. dark

Getting Giannis to sign would be one thing, but patience, foresight, and astute moves will be required from this point on if they’re going to be able to keep Antetokounmpo on his potential new contract too. That process may well start now, and while it may not be as exciting as the alternative in the moment, it could lead to the Bucks being a more exciting team for many more years to come.