By this point, I’m sure most Milwaukee Bucks fans are tired of hearing about the Malcolm Brogdon trade. I’ll be honest, for a while, I was too! However, everyone who said the Bucks wouldn’t win a championship because they let Brogdon go has an egg on their face. It’s finally time we revisit this trade with open minds and open hearts because hey, the Bucks won a championship!
Of course, the trade I am referring to is the Brogdon sign-and-trade deal to the Indiana Pacers from 2019, where the Bucks received three draft picks, with one being a first-round pick. Brogdon spent the first three seasons of his NBA career with the Bucks after being selected in the second round, 36th overall in the 2016 draft.
Brogdon had a lot of success as a Buck, winning Rookie of the Year in 2016-17 and averaging 12.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 187 games (112 starts). He was one of the few hits the Bucks have gotten in the draft over the last 10 years, but he left the team as a restricted free agent to go to the Pacers.
A lot was made of this trade when it happened and in the following three seasons. Brogdon has turned into a fantastic player for Indiana, as many expected he would. Personally, I don’t hold any ill will towards Brogdon and I’m glad he has been able to find a home with the Pacers and have a role he may not have had with the Bucks. Adam McGee did the initial grade for the deal, giving it a C letter grade, but let us go over it once again.
The financial impact of the Malcolm Brogdon trade for the Milwaukee Bucks
Perhaps the biggest factor in some people’s minds for the Brogdon trade was the financial aspect. Brogdon received a four-year, $85 million contract from the Pacers (well, technically the Bucks but you know what I mean) and for a lot of folks, it was seen as the Bucks being cheap and not wanting to pay Brogdon.
The Bucks did save on the luxury tax by not matching the offer that the Pacers gave Brogdon. I’m sure that did play some part in why the Bucks chose not to bring him back, but as we’ve seen, the Bucks have gone well into the luxury tax this offseason. I’m not the person to defend owners not spending money, but they’ve made it clear they’ll spend into the tax.
The Bucks not bringing Brogdon back didn’t create any extra space in the salary cap after they re-signed Brook Lopez that same offseason. It would have created a trade exception of around $10 million but due to some mismanagement of the cap with regards to the Lopez contract or Hill’s guaranteed money, they did not get the trade exception.
I still believe they should have matched the offer. The team was good enough to go into the tax for and Brogdon has proven to be worth the money, but we’ll get into that now.