Milwaukee Bucks: Regrading the questionable D.J. Augustin signing

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 11 (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 11 (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /
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Milwaukee Bucks: D.J. Augustin
ORLANDO, FL – JANUARY 11: (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

Not every move a general manager makes in the draft, free agency, or trade can be a hit. Every champion has a move or two where they look back and wonder how that happened, and they were still able to win the title. For the Milwaukee Bucks and GM Jon Horst, the most recent move was signing D.J. Augustin last offseason.

Augustin was brought in to be the backup point guard after the team traded away George Hill in the Jrue Holiday trade. It seemed like a pretty solid move at the time, with Jordan Treske originally giving the move a B letter grade. Augustin was a reliable option in that role for most of his career. He had played over 860 games before coming to Milwaukee, with nearly 600 of them coming as a reserve.

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He was never an elite player or even an elite reserve, but he found a niche with the Orlando Magic as a solid point guard that could admirably run an offense and knock down shots.  On paper, that was exactly what the Bucks were looking for. In practice, however, Augustin never found his groove with his new team and simply wasn’t a good fit.

Augustin’s tenure as a Milwaukee Buck lasted all of 37 games before he was shipped off to the Houston Rockets in a package for P.J. Tucker.

In the end, that may have been Augustin’s best contribution to the Bucks, having a salary big enough that it could be used to acquire Tucker and create a trade exception. With that being said, let us regrade the Augustin signing with everything we know now.

The financial impact of the D.J. Augustin signing almost a year later for the Milwaukee Bucks

After notably striking out in acquiring Bogdan Bogdanovic, the Bucks had still had some holes on the roster to fill and had more resources to do so. After dealing away their former backup point guard in Hill, the Bucks went out and shored up their depth at that position by signing Augustin to a three-year, $21-million contract in free agency, using most of their mid-level exception.

Augustin had just turned 33 years old at the time, and there was plenty of concern among Bucks fans about paying a smaller, older guard that kind of money. As I said, Augustin had played over 860 games before coming to Milwaukee, and for a guard of that size, that mileage can take a toll. Add in the fact that Augustin was coming off a season where he shot under 35 percent from three and there was very much reason to be concerned about how he would fit with the team, especially considering his defensive limitations.

The one saving grace of the contract was that the third year wasn’t guaranteed, so there was an out if things went south and they couldn’t trade him. Thankfully that money came in handy near the trade deadline when Augustin was moved for Tucker, and it helped match salaries. Still, in the moment of the signing, this was quite the gamble from Horst, despite the team’s need to fill the position and Augustin’s potential fit.