Milwaukee Bucks: Jon Horst delivers on taking “big swings”

After an eventful Monday night, the Milwaukee Bucks’ current roster looks far different than fans are accustomed to seeing.

Perhaps no one understands the severity of this offseason for the Milwaukee Bucks better than the team’s general manager, Jon Horst.

The story of the offseason has revolved around Giannis Antetokounmpo, who, as it stands, has just one year and $25 million left on his current deal. After two consecutive disappointing postseason exits, speculation was swirling that the two-time MVP might be better off elsewhere, potentially leaving the five-year $225 million supermax offer from Horst and the Bucks on the table.

Yesterday, Horst took questions from the media in light of the NBA lifting its moratorium on trades and gave some encouraging responses. The first noteworthy quote comes from Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

I asked Jon Horst if he feels the Bucks need to take a bigger swing this year: “I think we’ve been really going for it since Day 1. These things are not linear. Pursuit of championships is not linear. … We continue to focus on taking big swings, making the appropriate moves.”

When asked by Locked on Bucks host Kane Pitman what kind of players those “big swings” might entail, Horst had a specific archetype in mind.

Bucks GM, Jon Horst: “I do believe in consistent shot making, the ability to create shots, playing with toughness mentally and physically and an IQ, I think those things translate in playoff series and we are going to continue to try and add to our team and improve those things.”

Those comments from Horst did not exactly narrow down potential targets for the Bucks, but it appeared that Horst had something brewing behind the scenes. Indeed, in the late hours of Monday night, the Bucks reshaped their roster entirely.

The acquisitions of Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic are undoubtedly big swings for Jon Horst and the Milwaukee Bucks.

With the haul that Milwaukee sent to the New Orleans Pelicans for Jrue Holiday, they are clearly going all-in ahead of next season. In addition to Eric Bledsoe and George Hill, the Bucks sent over three first-round draft picks, along with two future pick swaps. A blockbuster move like that was substantial enough on its own, but Horst was not done just yet.

Shortly after the Holiday trade news took the NBA fandom by storm, the Bucks acquired Bogdan Bogdanovic via sign-and-trade and Justin James from the Sacramento Kings. In return, Milwaukee shipped out Donte DiVincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova, and D.J. Wilson.

Although it came at a hefty cost, the Bucks got two players that check off the boxes regarding Horst’s comments and put themselves in a better position to succeed. With a significant portion of their roster depth and draft capital over the next several years gutted, the Milwaukee Bucks have set themselves up for an all-or-nothing 2020-21.

However, they might have just set themselves up for a long-term future with Giannis Antetokounmpo as well. As The New York Times’ Marc Stein said last night:

“The last two weeks have been filled with chatter that Giannis Antetokounmpo indeed plans to sign his five-year supermax with the Bucks before the Dec. 21 deadline to do so … The Bucks just made a trade that suggests they must believe it.”

It remains to be seen whether these trades impact Antetokounmpo’s decision making when weighing the extension, but it unquestionably helps.

There will be a new star-studded backcourt suiting up for the Bucks next season, and it will be exciting to see how things unfold. As the Bucks look to fill out the rest of their roster, keep an eye on general manager Jon Horst and what else he might have up his sleeve.