Milwaukee Bucks Rumors: Team interested in Nemanja Bjelica trade?

MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 04 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 04 (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

The Milwaukee Bucks have been relatively quiet in trade rumors as the March 25 deadline inches closer, but that appears to be changing.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania ($$) reaffirmed this morning that the Bucks hold interest in trading for swingman P.J. Tucker from the Houston Rockets, which has been their only legitimate target this season to this point. However, he added a new name into the mix in Nemanja Bjelica, the 32-year-old forward from the Sacramento Kings.

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After posting career-highs across the board with Sacramento last season, Bjelica has seen his minutes and his role regress significantly. Compared to 27.9 minutes per game last season, the forward is hitting the floor for just 17.5 this year, a career-low over his six years in the league.

In his limited minutes, the Serbian international is averaging 8.3 points on .491/.310/.789 shooting splits, 3.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. Although numbers like that do not exactly jump off the page, Bjelica is certainly an interesting trade target for the Bucks in their pursuit of more talent.

Trading for Nemanja Bjelica could be an impactful move for the Milwaukee Bucks.

It seems relatively clear that the Bucks are looking to bring in some reinforcements in the frontcourt. First it was their rumored interest in trading for Tucker, then their recalling of rookie stud Mamadi Diakite from the G-League, and now, their reported interest in Nemanja Bjelica.

All three make sense to some degree, as the Bucks are left without a true backup power forward behind Giannis Antetokounmpo aside from D.J. Wilson, who is virtually out of the rotation entirely. Bobby Portis is logging most of his minutes at center this season, meaning Bjelica could be a solid veteran to fill that backup four spot.

Although the 32-year-old is having a down year currently, he is coming off a season where he averaged 11.5 points while shooting 48.1 percent from the floor and 41.9 percent from behind the arc. If given a more prominent role in the rotation, the scoring and floor spacing that the forward is capable of providing would be a huge boost off Milwaukee’s bench.

One of the bigger issues that comes with trading for the six-year NBA veteran is piecing together a trade that matches his salary. Bjelica is making $7.2 million this season in the final year of an expiring deal, meaning the Bucks would have to get strategic trying to ship out a haul that fits the price.

There has been no indication of what the Kings might potentially be seeking in return for the forward, but it is no secret that Milwaukee likely cannot offer the best package. A deal would almost certainly include one of Brook Lopez, D.J. Augustin, or Pat Connaughton, all of which might not be the most enticing for the Kings to bring aboard with multiple years left on their current deals.

However, only time will tell what general manager Jon Horst has up his sleeve ahead of the trade deadline with the team searching for upgrades.

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Things went very poorly the last time the Bucks and Kings engaged in trade discussions this past offseason regarding the Bogdan Bogdanovic saga, but maybe things will be different this time around.