Milwaukee Bucks: Timing of any potential trade as significant as a move itself

MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 10: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - APRIL 10: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks are expected to be major players in the trade market this offseason, but the timing of making any move will be critical to what they can do.

There’s anything but clarity when it comes to projecting what happens for the Milwaukee Bucks this offseason.

Clearly Giannis Antetokounmpo’s long-term future in Milwaukee looms everything the Bucks are prepared to do. That includes making significant changes to their roster as well as going into the luxury tax as co-owner Marc Lasry reportedly pledged to the superstar in a meeting that took place after their disappointing playoff exit down in the bubble.

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While it’s certainly fun to dream up trade scenarios and the reported links to players like Bogdan Bogdanovic or Victor Oladipo make for fun fodder, the truth is the Bucks have to walk a tightrope in order to pull off the kind of upgrades they aspire to do in the next few weeks.

With only next month’s draft locked down on the calendar as we await when we free agency will officially open this year, the Bucks have some time on their hands to build out at their plan of attack for this offseason. That’s helped by the current transaction moratorium in place as well.

There’s an old saying that timing is everything and that will prove to be essential as the Milwaukee Bucks scour the simmering trade market this offseason.

The run up to the draft is especially crucial as the Bucks will likely gauge the value of the 24th overall pick in this year’s draft as they search for immediate contributors to help the foundation around Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and so on.

On top of that, there are the decisions that involve veteran supporting players such as whether to guarantee Ersan Ilyasova’s $7 million salary as well as awaiting the decisions of Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews as they mull their player options for next year, respectively.

The timing for when those decisions are slated to come in will be between the draft and the start of free agency, but the Bucks will certainly know what both Lopez and Matthews end up doing before then. That’s excluding Ilyasova, whose future they have full control over.

The fact of the matter is that with just eight players on their books and only so much expendable salary and assets they’re willing to part with that wouldn’t shake up their foundation too significantly, the Bucks will need any and all salaries necessary to build up for a potential deal.

That’s especially pertinent in the case of Ilyasova as his $7 million would be necessary trade filler, but the Bucks would have to be sure would be used for the worthwhile upgrades they seek. The same goes for trying to get a sense of the value for their first round pick in this year’s draft, which will obviously be more valuable ahead of the draft rather than after it.

With some of their biggest trade assets being incredibly time-sensitive, time will be of the essence for them to arrange potential trade packages as soon as when trades will be allowed ahead of the draft.

As a result, that would certainly limit the possibilities of the Bucks trying to facilitate a sign-and-trade deal as would have to be the case for Bogdanovic, who the Bucks are reportedly emerging as strong suitors for according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania ($$). That sentiment applies to any free agent, restricted or unrestricted, available this offseason, though that isn’t to say a sign-and-trade wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility.

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As the trade market continues to simmer to a boil and the Bucks will surely be linked to potential trade candidates, their work is clearly cut for the front office and the organization as a whole. And the expectation should be to see some of those answers as soon as transactions can be made possible.