We’re about a month away from the NBA trade deadline and, as expected, the rumor mill has begun to churn. The Milwaukee Bucks, to no one’s surprise, are looking to upgrade their roster and there may be a potential team in mind already for general manager Jon Horst.
According to Jason Anderson of the Sacramento Bee, the Bucks were one of three teams that had reserved seats for pro personnel at the Sacramento Kings’ game last night against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Sure, the Bucks could be watching players on the Cavs, but with how well they’ve played this season, it’s very unlikely the Cavs would be looking to sell at the deadline. The obvious trade partner here is the Kings.
Could the Milwaukee Bucks make a trade with the Sacramento Kings?
Despite being just outside of the final play-in spot, the Kings have had a tough season to this point. They sit eleven games under 0.500 at 16-27 and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the 16th straight season.
The Kings’ ownership group would love to even get to the play-in, but it’s clear that there isn’t much of a future with their core of De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Marvin Bagley, and Richaun Holmes, so there have been rumors that they’re looking to blow it up by moving anyone and everyone (including Fox or Haliburton).
So, where would the Bucks fit in and who could they potentially be interested in?
As much as I’d love to see Fox be a Buck, there’s no sense in adding him to this roster. He isn’t a great shooter and would need the ball in his hands which takes it out of the hands of the big three.
Haliburton, an Oshkosh native and only 21-years-old, would be a wonderful addition in regards to the future of the Bucks. It would also be neat to add another Wisconsin native with Wesley Matthews, but the acquisition cost would likely be much too high.
The best Milwaukee could hope for is that they take a package centered around Donte DiVincenzo (who the Kings have previously had an interest in) and possibly Jordan Nwora, but they wouldn’t have the draft picks to entice Sacramento whatsoever.
If the Kings want to do more of a re-tool as opposed to a rebuild, then using Haliburton as a trade chip to get a bigger player would be the move for them. Even if it’s a rebuild, I don’t know how much sense it makes for a team like the Kings to move a promising 21-year-old.
Haliburton’s playmaking skillset would be wonderful for the Bucks’ offense and he’s shooting over 44 percent on over four attempts a game. It would be nice, but unlikely unless there are more teams involved.
A couple of other notable players for the Kings are sharpshooter Buddy Hield and combo forward Harrison Barnes. Thinking about Hield as a floor spacer in the Bucks offense is very enticing and Barnes is having a fantastic season who could help the Bucks’ versatility. The big problem here is that they each make over $20 million.
The Bucks have next to no financial flexibility to add a high-priced player like Hield or Barnes without giving up a name like Brook Lopez. As much as I like Hield and Barnes as players, I’ll pass on giving up Lopez.
So what’s left for the Bucks at a realistic financial cost and acquisition cost? An interesting name that comes to mind is Marvin Bagley.
He has a reasonable salary that is controllable for multiple seasons and could be had for a player like DiVincenzo plus some filler.
Salary-wise, a package around DiVincenzo, Nwora, and Rodney Hood works for either player from the Kings. It would likely entice them for Bagley, but is that a trade the Bucks would be interested in?
Sure, Bagley is a young player with some potential, but the Bucks need to focus on players who can help them in the playoffs, not for development. I’m not sure how much Bagley helps them in the playoffs, but it would be a nice developmental piece.
Someone like Richaun Holmes would be very appealing to the Bucks as a rim protector, but because he signed his extension with Bird Rights this past offseason so he can’t be traded until March 3rd (after the trade deadline).
A couple of other interesting role players to keep an eye on would be Alex Len and maybe Chimezie Metu. But those don’t move the needle over the role players on the roster.
So, to summarize, keep your eyes on Haliburton and Bagley as players of interest for the Bucks but it’s going to be hard for them to acquire an impact player with their limited resources. Never doubt Horst, though!