2. Pat Connaughton
If the Bucks plan on acquiring anyone making the mid-level exception or above, they will need to part with Connaughton or fan-favorite Bobby Portis. The franchise would love to keep the 6’10 big man, which puts the 6’5 wing firmly on the block.
Trading Connaughton will not be easy. He is in the first season of a three-year $28.2 million contract, but the 31-year-old’s minutes and production have dipped this season. He is averaging 5.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in just 20.7 minutes per game. Connaughton is still knocking down shots, but no team will be eager to take on his long-term deal.
The Bucks would have to find a team willing to eat money or someone who believes Connaughton can be a key rotation piece. He played 23.7 minutes per game during the playoffs in Milwaukee’s 2021 championship run. Can the 31-year-old get back to that level? His defense has slipped, and Connaughton may be starting to decline.
If the Milwaukee Bucks cannot find a team willing to take on Pat Connaughton’s contract, their only hope of trading for a player making more than $6 million per year is shipping out Portis. They do not want to do it, but it may be the franchise’s lone option.