Milwaukee Bucks Rumors: Searching for a defensive specialist?

Feb 23, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)
Feb 23, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA (Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports) /

The Milwaukee Bucks are flying high now that we’ve reached the All-Star break.

After seeing Jrue Holiday calmly sink his step-back jumper to give the Bucks a 112-111 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies Thursday night, the Bucks have won six of their last seven games to improve to 22-14 on the season. They’re at full strength and are seemingly finding their stride after fighting through some uncharacteristic ups and downs in what has been a strange 2020-21 season in general.

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With that in mind, Bucks fans may be wondering what the Bucks are prioritizing ahead of the trade deadline later this month as well who could eventually surface on the buyout market.

In a recent video made by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor that extensively focused on the maturation of Bucks All-Star forward Khris Middleton, O’Connor let it known that the Bucks’ interest in veteran forward P.J. Tucker remains and that they’re looking for defense-first contributors in general:

"“You can expect the Bucks, though, to be in on any defense-first player like Tucker who could become available.”"

O’Connor has been a primary source of the Bucks’ reported in Tucker, dating all the way back to the offseason before their frenzied activity that saw them acquire Holiday and reshape half of their roster.

Tucker, though, comes with plenty of suitors from contending teams as The Athletic’s Shams Charania ($$) noted earlier this week. With little assets to compete with contenders that are in better position to make a competitive offer and fill the Rockets’ needs in a Tucker trade, the Bucks are operating with an arm behind their back when looking for a midseason reinforcement in trade discussions.

The Milwaukee Bucks are reportedly looking to fortify their defense.

Tucker certainly serves as the defensive specialist archetype the Bucks are apparently seeking to put around their core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton. The same goes for the positional archetype that the Bucks have targeted in each of the last two seasons, whether it’s trading for Nikola Mirotic or picking up Marvin Williams on the buyout market.

Milwaukee will certainly hope to hit it rich on this year’s buyout market that will obviously be dictated by how active teams are ahead of the trade deadline. With that said, the Bucks face another set of obstacles in trying to fill their vacant roster spot, which they can’t do until April 7 as a result of being hard-capped.

That’s speaking as things currently stand with their roster, but it’s obviously directly related to whether the Bucks are able to make a move on the trade market.

If Tucker represents the top defensive-minded player that will be highly sought after over the coming days and weeks, the Bucks will explore multiple options and players of his ilk. How much is this pursuit directly related to the lack of impact that Torrey Craig has had on the Bucks this season remains to be seen, but he’s certainly been cast out of the team’s rotation by and large after being brought in on a veteran minimum deal over the offseason.

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There’s no question the Bucks will continue searching for help over the coming weeks in the lead up to the deadline, even with the lack of flexibility they currently have on multiple fronts. And as always, we’ll keep in tune with any links and reports regarding their interest ahead of the deadline and going into the buyout market.