The Milwaukee Bucks continue to be at the center of speculation ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline, whether they ultimately pull off a significant move or not.
The beauty and occasional agony of the NBA trade deadline is that no stone is left unturned when it comes to speculating on where teams stand. And that even includes the league-best Milwaukee Bucks.
Yes, the Bucks are in pole position to finish with the league’s best record for the second straight season, are on a 70-win pace and could eventually finish with the best point differential (+12.4) in league history, if it stays relatively intact.
And it’s all those reasons and many more why Bucks general manager Jon Horst laid out his view in regard to how he feels where his team is going into the deadline with Bucks beat writer Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
In many ways, this has been a steady ascension and project for Horst and the Bucks’ front office and it’s why he views the development the team has made over the last couple of years, especially under head coach Mike Budenholzer, and additions they made over the summer as reasons why they might end up standing pat (no, not Connaughton):
“From my perspective and my job, of course, we’re studying the numbers, studying the culture, studying everything – the medical, the physical of the team, it’s a holistic approach – to see where we can make some gains, some improvements,” Horst said in an exclusive interview with the Journal Sentinel on Sunday. “I think we’ll be incredibly patient and specific and intentional if we do something. More than likely (we won’t).
“We really like the group that we have and want to stay focused on it, trusting the chemistry and the continuity and the development this team has had and the additions we made over the summer, which were significant additions.”
If that wasn’t made clear, Horst was more declarative about how he views this year’s group and the championship ambitions they have after falling short after their transformative run last year:
“I’ll tell you the signal we’re sending, we think we have a really good team, we trust our coaching staff, we trust in our superstar, we trust in his supporting group and we think this is a special group of men that have a chance to do something very special in our league and get better than we were last year,” Horst said. “That’s the signal. If we don’t do anything, that’s the signal we’re sending. That’s how I feel today and that’s why I feel strongly that’s where we’ll end up being.”
Of course, Horst didn’t tip his hand entirely, but the faith and belief he has in this year’s Bucks squad is evident by his comments all year, not just before the deadline.
Meanwhile, the latest episode of The Lowe Post, featuring ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst, touched on the Bucks near the top of the episode and Windhorst discussed what he’s heard regarding what profile of player they’re searching for:
“I would not be surprised if we see Milwaukee do something before Thursday. From what I understand, they’re hunting for a bench shooter. They have that Indiana Pacers’ first (rounder) that’s burning a hole in their pocket. They have some pieces they can trade. You know, Jon Horst has done some good midseason deals. Last year, the George Hill trade really helped them I felt like. I know Milwaukee is hunting for any sort of shooting they can get in the second unit. If they can get a first unit player, they’d love it too.”
And all of this doesn’t preclude the Bucks from making a move on the buyout market, should they end up standing still after the deadline passes. That was certainly something that ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski mentioned as a strong possibility as we recently detailed.
Clearly, there’s some question over what the Bucks will look to do ahead of the deadline from all fronts, but what remains clear is that no big alterations or shakeups are on the radar as of now two days before the deadline.