1 Trade, 2 free agent targets that could help Milwaukee Bucks bounce back in 2024-25

Atlanta Hawks v Milwaukee Bucks
Atlanta Hawks v Milwaukee Bucks / John Fisher/GettyImages
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Back to back first round exits have put the Milwaukee Bucks under a microscope this NBA off-season.

While injuries have played a significant factor in those early demises, roster construction has as well. The Bucks clearly believe in general manager Jon Horst, as they plan to retain him this off-season after there was speculation that he might be out. It will be up to him to make the necessary adjustments to put this team in the best position to win next season.

That said, let us break down one trade target and two possible free agent signings that could help the Milwaukee Bucks bounce back.

The trade target - Alex Caruso

It's beyond apparent that the Milwaukee Bucks need to bring in perimeter defenders this off-season, so they should pursue one of the best in Alex Caruso.

The one-time All-Defensive honoree has made a living in the association due to his irritating defense and hustle. At 6-foot-5, he's a versatile guard who can tackle players of all different shapes and sizes, never backing down from a challenge. Having a two-guard like that next to Damian Lillard would make life much easier for Lillard, allowing him to focus more on his offensive output.

While defense is his calling card, Caruso is no slouch on offense either. In fact, he's coming off of his best year offensively, averaging a career best 10.1 points and 1.9 3-point makes per game. As a solid outside shooter and capable ball-handler, he would fit in seamlessly alongside Milwaukee's other key cogs on that side of the floor.

As for the trade itself, the Bucks would give away several of their most prized assets. Milwaukee will have a nice amount of tradeable draft capital this coming off-season, as well as digestible salaries from veteran players like Pat Connaughton and Bobby Portis. They will also have youngsters such as MarJon Beauchamp and Chris Livingston, who could be sweeteners.

The big hold-up in this potential proposal could be that ESPN's Zach Lowe (subscription required) reported previously that Caruso could net the Chicago Bulls multiple first-round picks. That's a bit steep of an asking price, but perhaps the Bucks could aim to entice them with the picks they do have, such as a first and an early second-round pick in this upcoming draft.