Should the Milwaukee Bucks trade Grayson Allen this offseason?

ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 30 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 30 (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

The best addition to the Milwaukee Bucks roster coming into last season was Grayson Allen after being acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies for some second-round picks and Sam Merrill.

They immediately signed him to a two-year extension before he had played a regular-season game with the team. He started the season well and looked like a key rotation player heading into the playoffs.

He was so good that combined with Donte DiVincenzo’s struggles coming back from injury made DiVincenzo expendable. So what would cause the Bucks to suddenly move Allen less than a year after acquiring him?

Grayson Allen is an interesting trade candidate for the Milwaukee Bucks this offseason

The reason that the Bucks would want to move on from Allen after signing him to an extension less than a year ago is that he might be more of an 82-game player than a 16-game player. This theory has become more popular over the years about guys who look great in the regular season but become unplayable as you get further into the playoffs (an 82-game player) versus guys who don’t look as valuable during the regular season but become far more important in the playoffs (16-game player).

Brook Lopez, for example, is a 16-game player. Bryn Forbes was an example of an 82-game player for the Bucks last season.

Although Allen is better overall than Forbes, he might be an 82-game player.

In his first season with Milwaukee, Allen averaged a career-high 11.1 points on 61 percent true shooting to go along with 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists. He shot nearly 41 percent from 3 on almost six attempts per game and developed good early chemistry with Giannis Antetokounmpo offensively.

He had a knack for getting open and into Antetokounmpo’s line of sight for easier passing lanes. He also showed the ability to put the ball on the floor and attack the basket, shooting nearly 69 percent at the rim this season.

He was removed from the starting lineup late in the season for Wesley Matthews, which proved to be a good move as Matthews is the better defender and was key in slowing down DeMar DeRozan in the first round.

But when Khris Middleton went down in that series, the Bucks needed more offense from other places and Allen became that player. He averaged 20.7 points in the final three games of that series and shot 70 percent from 3.

He couldn’t come close to replicating that same offensive magic in round two and was basically unplayable by the end of that series despite him continuing to play 20-plus minutes. Across the seven-game series, Allen averaged 5.0 points and shot under 21 percent from 3 on 3.4 attempts per game. His spacing value was more theoretical than actual by the end when he scored four total points on 1-of-13 shooting.

Allen got picked on defensively time after time by the Celtics’ wings and despite being very athletic, he was too small to contain Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Do the Bucks really want to be paying $8.5 million over the next two seasons for a guy who might not be playable in the later rounds of the playoffs?

The tricky part about moving Allen is that it would have to come after July 1st. ESPN’s Bobby Marks noted that Allen has a poison pill restriction in his rookie extension that would mean his outgoing salary would be his 2021-22 salary ($4.1 million) and his incoming salary for a new team would be the average of that salary and his extension salary ($7.6 million) if he’s traded before July 1st. That probably means the Bucks won’t be packaging Allen with their 2022 first-round pick if they wanted to upgrade.

His extension salary would be enough to match with Utah Jazz wing Royce O’Neale but the Jazz may want something attached to Allen to sweeten the deal for them as they’d be getting the worse defensive player.

Allen will also only be 27 at the start of next season. I’m not saying he has room to develop but as we saw with Bobby Portis last season, he can still get better defensively and find more overall consistency in his game after playing a full season with a new team.

It’s a tricky spot for the Bucks front office because you see the value that Allen’s shooting brings and that he can put the ball on the floor as well making him more than a spot-up shooter. But the visions of him being torched defensively throughout the Celtics series is the lasting memory many will have of Allen throughout the offseason, not the guy who lit it up against the Bulls.

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The Milwaukee Bucks don’t have a ton of avenues to add players in the offseason so moving Allen may become a move out of necessity in trying to upgrade the roster around the big three.