As much as the Milwaukee Bucks’ focus remains on the remainder of the 2019-20 season, their offseason will bring a familiar set of challenges to fill out their foundation.
With less than three weeks until the restart of the 2019-20 NBA season, the Milwaukee Bucks are focused on the task at hand.
Their pursuit of a championship was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, but having arrived at Walt Disney World earlier this week, the Bucks are starting to ramp back up into working toward their ultimate goal for this strange season.
So much of the Bucks’ team building and long-term future is determined on the outcome of the season. For as much as we were forced to look toward the future during this lengthy break, what happens in this Bucks season will shape the direction of the franchise in the years to come.
For as much as that unavoidable truth exists, there’s still work to be done in terms of maintaining this window the Bucks are currently in beyond the outcome of this year.
While the Bucks’ delayed offseason is headlined by the looming supermax extension offer that will go to superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, maintaining their high-level supporting cast is as important to their short-term success.
Just look at what the Bucks did last offseason beyond retaining foundation players such as Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton as well as retaining the services of veteran point guard George Hill.
Bringing in the likes of Kyle Korver, Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews were all shrewd signings, as was predicted ahead of time, and was further bolstered by the high-value contracts given to all three veterans. Korver and Matthews both signed veteran minimum deals, with Matthews holding a player option for the 2020-21 season, while Lopez signed a two-year, $10 million contract with a player option for next year as well.
In almost one fell swoop, the Bucks found their fifth starter in Matthews, a budding backup stretch-5 in Lopez and brought in one of the most lethal sharpshooters in NBA history in Korver. All of their supporting roles have all contributed to the Bucks being able to improve upon the standard they set for themselves so suddenly for the 2018-19 season.
Now in a few months time, the decisions of Lopez and Matthews’ player options will impact what the Bucks’ rotation will look like next season as well whether Korver decides to continue his long-standing NBA career, regardless of what happens this season.
Add in the free agencies of Sterling Brown (restricted), Pat Connaughton and Marvin Williams and the Bucks are suddenly looking at a fair amount of open slots on their roster this offseason. And that’s along with whether the Bucks will look to guarantee the $7 million owed to veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova for next season.
Even without knowing Antetokounmpo’s ultimate decision to stay in Milwaukee long-term, that’s quite a few holes around the Bucks’ many building blocks, and the uncertainty hanging over the salary cap for next season and beyond is a looming challenge for the Bucks moving forward.
With all of their chips pushed toward the middle of the table for this season, the Bucks have built an incredibly successful blueprint to simply be in the position of contending for an NBA championship for the last two seasons.
Getting to that point is no easy feat and maintaining this window they’re currently in is an even tougher challenge. And as we’re soon to find out, the Bucks’ future trips into free agency will have to yield similar rewards and pay off just as we’ve seen over the last two offseasons.