The Milwaukee Bucks have been pretty quiet thus far this off-season, with the front office mainly focused on keeping their own players while making a few minor tweaks elsewhere.
While Milwaukee might not take a major swing, one writer seemingly thinks the Bucks would be wise to get in on the recent James Harden rumors. Of course, Harden recently requested a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers. FanSided’s Christopher Kline recently put together an article about the five best destinations Harden could go for a chance at a championship. Interestingly enough, the Milwaukee Bucks sat atop that list as the best suitor.
Writer makes bold claim about a hypothetical James Harden trade to the Bucks
Immediately, a good chunk of Bucks fans will shut down the idea of a Harden trade to Milwaukee due to the previous back-and-forth between him and Giannis Antetokounmpo. The two have done their share of verbal sparring over the years, with the 2019 NBA MVP award seemingly starting a “feud” between the two. Antetokounmpo won that year when Harden believed he should have. Yet, that wasn’t enough for Harden to put the Bucks on his list of preferred destinations when he requested a trade in 2020, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania (Subscription required).
Back to the point. Yes, if Harden wants to contend for a championship wherever he goes next, the Bucks make plenty of sense as a suitor. They are not only among the most prominent contenders in the league, but what they are also missing right now is exactly what Harden brings to the table. Milwaukee needs a point guard who can orchestrate an offense and take pressure off of the other ball-handlers in town to allow them to do more elsewhere. Harden, who has led the NBA in assists twice now, would bring exactly that. Not to mention that even if he’s not putting up 35 points per game as he did in his heyday, the guard is still a lethal scorer.
Kline detailed the fit by stating:
"“Harden is an elite transition playmaker, constantly rocketing hit-ahead passes to teammates sprinting up the court. Giannis is the best fast-break player in the world. Khris Middleton would benefit from Harden’s smooth deliveries behind the 3-point line, as would Milwaukee’s gaggle of role-playing shooters. The Bucks would be quite scary on paper.”"
At this point, it’s unclear if Harden would even welcome a deal to Milwaukee, as he seems fully committed to landing with the LA Clippers. Yet, even if he shared the same mindset he did back in 2020 and would be fine with coming to the Bucks, it’s unclear what kind of package the team may even offer. A straight-up Harden for Jrue Holiday swap works, but the Bucks might be reluctant to do that. If they wanted to form a formidable starting five while keeping the Big 3 and Brook Lopez while getting Harden, they’d have to gut their bench. Either way, a Harden trade to Milwaukee may be compelling and could very well be the best situation for Harden to win a title, but it’s unlikely at this point due to what it might take to pry him away from Philadelphia.
Those Harden-Antetokounmpo picks and rolls sure would certainly be something to see, though.
Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.