Bucks strike out on free agent forward, but there is 1 silver lining

Milwaukee might not be done making moves yet.
Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks
Miami Heat v Milwaukee Bucks / Stacy Revere/GettyImages

With a single roster spot left, the Milwaukee Bucks can add one more player via a standard contract, and it appears they struck out on someone they were eying.

According to 35-year Miami Herald writer Barry Jackson, the Bucks reached out to free agent forward Haywood Highsmith to offer a minimum contract at some point in NBA Free Agency. Understandably, he turned it down, ultimately inking a much richer two-year deal to return to the Miami Heat.

While hearing that the Bucks were trying to land a captivating 3-and-D forward is captivating, the more notable tidbit from Jackson's report may be that Damian Lillard called Highsmith to recruit him to the 414. Although his efforts were to no avail, it's interesting to hear that Lillard is reportedly recruiting talent to join him in Milwaukee.

Though they missed out on Highsmith, the silver lining is that if Lillard is indeed recruiting, there are still several more high-end free agents he could possibly convince to join him in Milwaukee.

Damian Lillard may be recruiting players to the Milwaukee Bucks

When scouting who's left for Lillard to recruit after the opening wave of NBA Free Agency, two players who come to mind are Gary Trent Jr. and Dennis Smith Jr. Both played with Lillard in Portland and are looking for homes at the time of this writing. Both could help the Milwaukee Bucks in big ways if they were willing to sign for the minimum.

Trent would be a huge addition on a team-friendly deal. On impact, he could be Milwaukee's starting two guard, which is currently a looming question mark. The 25-year-old would not only help bolster the team's youth personnel, but he'd also bring excellent perimeter shooting and decent enough defense to quickly carve out a key role for himself in Milwaukee.

Yet, even with Lillard's potential recruiting effort, Trent may still be an unrealistic target for the Bucks, as he's well worth more than the minimum. Still, crazier things have happened.

Though they already signed Delon Wright, Smith would further help the Milwaukee Bucks beef up their backcourt rotation. He'd give the team another electric athlete, which would help speed up the transition game mightily. He's also a solid guard defender, and the Bucks should be willing to bring in as many perimeter defenders as possible.

If Lillard can work his magic and convince either of these two to join forces with him, it would be a great use of a 15th roster spot. Of course, there are a handful of other players out there Lillard has not played with who would also be great fits. Time will tell, but it's nice to hear that the guard may be doing his due diligence around the association.

Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis.