Milwaukee Bucks: Why a trade with the Sacramento Kings is unlikely

After a very quiet regular season to this point, trade rumors and speculation surrounding the Milwaukee Bucks were bound to start flooding in.

That is precisely what happened when The Sacramento Bee’s Jason Anderson reported that the Bucks were among teams that had scouts in attendance for Monday’s matchup between the Sacramento Kings and Cleveland Cavaliers. Although it might not be entirely unheard of to send scouts to a game, it is particularly interesting with the trade deadline less than one month away, especially given Milwaukee’s recent history with Sacramento.

Of course, the Bucks and Kings agreed on a sign-and-trade for guard Bogdan Bogdanovic during the 2020 offseason before the league stepped in due to tampering violations. The Bucks were extremely motivated to acquire Bogdanovic due to his friendship with Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was yet to sign with the Bucks long-term at the time. While Bogdanovic is no longer with the Kings, there are still several players that could be of interest to the Bucks, although it may be hard to picture any deal getting done before the February 10 deadline.

Why a trade between the Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings seems highly unlikely before the trade deadline

If the Bucks are scouting the Kings roster, the two players that would make the most sense are Buddy Hield and Tyrese Haliburton. There are some others that could be feasible, but these two guards seem like they would be Milwaukee’s top targets.

Despite a trade being unlikely, it would be wise for the Bucks to at least kick the tires on Hield’s availability. The sharpshooting guard has been a staple in trade rumors over the past few years, with the Kings reportedly having a deal in place to send him to the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason before the Lakers backed out to pursue Russell Westbrook, according to The Athletic’s Jason Jones (subscription required). It seems like the Kings have been trying to move the guard for quite some time due to the abundance of talent in their backcourt, and he would be a seamless fit for the Bucks, hypothetically.

Since he came into the league in 2016, Hield has been one of the best long-distance shooters as he boasts a career 3-point percentage of 40.3 percent on 7.6 attempts per game. Currently, Hield ranks second in the league in made triples this season with 154, trailing only Stephen Curry’s 184. The Bucks are always looking to add more outside shooting, and Hield would be a perfect match in coach Mike Budenholzer’s system. Shooters like Grayson Allen and Bryn Forbes have thrived with the Bucks due to how many open shot attempts they get thanks to Antetokounmpo’s gravity, and a prolific shooter like Hield would turn things up a notch entirely. Putting Hield into a lineup with a two-time MVP in Antetokounmpo alongside Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton would be outright nightmarish for opponents.

Unfortunately, a deal for Hield is incredibly unrealistic, given his hefty $22.4 million salary this year and Milwaukee’s lack of desirable assets. They could piece together a trade that works financially with Brook Lopez, Donte DiVincenzo, and Pat Connaughton, but the Bucks would be hesitant to do such a deal, while the Kings may get better offers from other teams. Ultimately, Hield’s big salary makes it hard to envision that a trade could come to fruition.

As for Haliburton, money is not the issue at hand, given that the second-year guard is still on his rookie deal. Making $4 million this season, the Bucks could straight-up swap guards by sending DiVincenzo to the Kings in exchange for Haliburton. The only problem is that the Kings would not do that, despite their previous interest in DiVincenzo. While The Athletic’s Sam Amick (subscription required) reported recently that the Kings are willing to include the young guard in the right deal, a trade for DiVincenzo is not the right deal for a talent like Haliburton, even if the Bucks were to add another young piece like Jordan Nwora. They just do not have the most desirable assets to compete with other offers.

Although general manager Jon Horst has pulled off some tough deals before, acquiring either Hield or Haliburton seems like too tall of a mountain to climb.

Stay tuned for updates regarding the Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings trade speculation.