Milwaukee Bucks: Filling final roster spot will be a waiting game


Over the last two seasons, the Milwaukee Bucks have been certainly been active in shorting up their roster ahead of their playoffs runs.

Whether making the calculated gamble for Nikola Mirotic ahead of the 2019 trade deadline or pursuing buyout signings such as Pau Gasol and Marvin Williams, the Bucks haven’t stood still when it comes to this time of year under general manager Jon Horst.

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Now with less than a month away from this season’s trade deadline, Bucks fans are certainly intrigued to what could be in store this trade season.

At 19-13, Milwaukee hasn’t played to the same standard that they played at over the last two seasons and they have an open roster spot that will surely be filled by the time the postseason rolls around.

The only problem is that the Bucks will have to wait out when they can fill out their vacant roster spot.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks noted in his league-wide look at this year’s trade season ($$), the date for when the Bucks can fill their roster spot without going over the $138.9 million cap apron, due to being hard capped, is on April 7.

The Milwaukee Bucks will be hard-pressed to make any traction on the trade market.

The date comes 12 days after the trade deadline, which already poses a similar set of difficulties for the Bucks to maneuver due to the diminished pile of trade assets at their disposal.

After making the Jrue Holiday, who is officially eligible for a maximum contract extension as of Friday, the Bucks are unable to outright trade their 2021 and 2023 first round picks. The first available second round pick they have available after being stripped of their 2022 second rounder due to the Bogdan Bogdanovic fiasco is in 2023.

With scant few draft picks available, the Bucks’ best trade assets are the players and their salaries, at least theoretically. But which of the Bucks players that are valuable contributors are deemed expendable to the Bucks and would net them a meaningful upgrade in terms of competing a championship this season?

That list isn’t very wrong, save for how the Bucks will approach and value Donte DiVincenzo over the next year-plus as he’s eligible for a rookie scale contract extension this offseason. That’s part of why The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor wrote that opposing NBA executives view DiVincenzo as the Bucks’ most valuable trade asset at this point in time.

With many league observers deeming this trade season a seller’s market, the cold hard truth is the Bucks aren’t equipped to chase the most buzzed about trade targets for all of the reasons stated above.

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That still doesn’t preclude the Bucks from being a player on the buyout market, but with April 7 being the first day where they can effectively sign a player for that final roster spot, the question than becomes what difference maker will be on the market by that time.