Milwaukee Bucks: 4 players likeliest to be dealt by trade deadline

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 29 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 29 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: Brook Lopez
CLEVELAND, OHIO – FEBRUARY 05 (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images) /

Milwaukee Bucks likeliest to be traded by the deadline — Brook Lopez

Brook Lopez has anchored Milwaukee’s league-leading defense for the past two seasons, earning an All-Defensive team selection in the process last season. However, it seems that he is growing obsolete as the Bucks continue making schematic adjustments on the defensive end.

This has been evident in Milwaukee’s last few games, as the big man has been unplayable down the stretch in close contests. Most recently, the latest development of this came in Milwaukee’s win over the Grizzlies Thursday night, as the team came back from down five in the final five minutes after they sat Lopez.

The Bucks continue experimenting without Lopez in the lineup for a sizeable portion of games, which does not exactly bode well for his future. The big man undoubtedly provides a solid defensive presence in the paint, but when teams are lighting the Bucks up from the perimeter, Lopez is virtually unplayable. Perimeter defense has been the biggest flaw for Milwaukee this season, putting Lopez in a tight spot moving forward if the team continues switching up the defense in a way to slow down their opponents.

Even if the Bucks were open to moving Lopez, it would be far easier said than done. With an annual salary of $13 million spanning until the 2023 offseason, the 32-year-old will be difficult to trade. It would also be nice to have a sizeable big man like Lopez in the event that Milwaukee has to face a top-tier center like Philadelphia 76ers All-Star big man Joel Embiid in the playoffs, which is something the front office must consider.

Still, this team has had some success when they roll with Bobby Portis and Giannis Antetokounmpo at the center position, particularly in clutch situations. The jury is out whether it could be sustained full time, and it will be interesting to see which route the team takes.