The Milwaukee Bucks have not been featured much in the rumor mill this season, but that is bound to change approaching the 2024 NBA Trade Deadline.
The first massive domino of trade season fell recently when the Toronto Raptors and New York Knicks struck a deal involving OG Anunoby. Toronto might not be done making moves, as Pascal Siakam has also been featured in rumors lately, and he could very well be moved. If the Raptors start dealing their players, there are two who the Bucks should keep an eye on leading up to the deadline.
2 Toronto Raptors players the Milwaukee Bucks should be eyeing after OG Anunoby trade
For the past several years, the Bucks have been hindered in the postseason by a lack of defenders above 6-foot-5. Opposing wings have feasted on Milwaukee's smaller defenders, and although the Bucks have the 6-foot-6 Jae Crowder at their disposal, they're still looking for help on the defensive end to try and make sure this issue does not continue to hurt them.
Two Raptors who could potentially help them in that regard are Jalen McDaniels and Otto Porter Jr.
After a career year last year, McDaniels joined the Raptors in the off-season but has not been able to carve out a role for himself in the rotation. He's appeared in 20 games and is playing a career-low 9.8 minutes per game. At 25 years old, he is still young, and it seems reasonable to say that the forward could benefit from a change of scenery.
At 6-foot-9, McDaniels is capable of playing either forward position and has shown glimpses of solid defensive potential. In Milwaukee, the team could utilize him as a primary wing defender, throwing the youngster at top talents when they come to town. Offensively, he's never put up eye-catching stats, but at this point, the Bucks need more defense above all else.
Something else that makes McDaniels a feasible target is his contract. He signed a two-year contract with the Raptors in the off-season worth $4.6 million annually. That puts McDaniels firmly in the realm of affordability for Milwaukee. Going after him would be an incredibly low-risk move from both the financial side and in terms of the player they'd be getting, especially with their current needs.
Porter poses more of a gamble for the Bucks, given his recent injury history. The forward has played in more than 60 games in just one season since the 2017-18 campaign. However, in the one year that he did, which was 2021-22, Porter proved to be a key cog for the Golden State Warriors in their title run as he provided strong defense and perimeter shooting.
At 6-foot-8, he's another lengthy wing who has the build to matchup against taller players while also providing serviceable outside shooting. He's also got championship experience from his days with the Golden State Warriors, which would be extremely valuable.
Like McDaniels, Porter has also not played a key role for the Raptors this season, so he could possibly be pried away if a team tried. Again, it would be risky for the Bucks, especially considering that Porter is on the books for $6.3 million this season. Yet, if he's healthy, there's no denying that he could be of use to the Bucks as they aim to plug some holes defensively.
There is a realistic path for the Bucks to get both players in the same deal. If Milwaukee combined the salaries of Pat Connaughton and another minimum player - Robin Lopez, A.J. Green, etc. - the salaries would match. The Bucks could also dangle a second round pick or two if the Raptors play hard-ball, which they are prone to do.
This is not the deal the Bucks should be eyeing up to the deadline. However, if the Bucks are unable to get their hands on a top trade target like Dorian Finney-Smith, this could be a nice move to add two quality players who have the tools to help this team as they aim to get things sorted out defensively.
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