The Milwaukee Bucks rocked the NBA world by agreeing on two separate deals to acquire Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic to improve their chances of competing in the East and re-signing Giannis Antetokounmpo to an extension.
HoopsHype spoke with several executives and an NBA scout to get their thoughts on what the moves mean for Milwaukee’s future.
“I applaud them,” an NBA scout told HoopsHype. “Perfect reasoning for Giannis to want to re-sign. They had to, honestly. They’ve got to win now.”
After taking a step back and losing in the Conference Semifinals and Antetokounmpo entering a contract season, Bucks general manager Jon Horst acted swiftly.
“I think they must have had an indication that Giannis was staying since they gave up two unprotected firsts,” one Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype.
Milwaukee landed one of the most coveted guards on the trade market in Holiday for Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, a 2020 first-round pick (via Indiana), two unprotected first-rounders, and two pick swaps. Milwaukee will also land Bogdanovic via a sign-and-trade with Donte DiVincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova and DJ Wilson headed to Sacramento. For Sacramento, they may not be done making moves with Buddy Hield also a candidate to be traded.
On paper, the Bucks gave up significant draft compensation for Holiday, but if landing him helps keep Antetokounmpo long-term, it’s invaluable to a franchise that’s not a traditional destination for free agents.
“They overpaid for Holiday, but I think it was similar to the OKC deal with Paul George,” one former executive told HoopsHype. “If you’re David Griffin, you’re paying us for both players, Holiday and Giannis, because if you don’t do this deal, you may not keep Giannis.”
Holiday is on the books for $26.13 million this season and has a $27.02 million player option for the 2021-22 season. The 30-year-old guard is eligible for a contract extension, which colleague Yossi Gozlan previously wrote about on HoopsHype. Given the massive trade to land Holiday, it’s expected Milwaukee will try to convince him to sign an extension at some point.
“I thought they were solid moves but did give up a lot in the Holiday trade,” another Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “I hope they have a commitment from Giannis to stay long term. Not sure Giannis commits this offseason or if he waits to see how things play out. The deal will be available at the end of the season, so better to have the ability to apply pressure to the front office by not signing until later.”
Bogdanovic is also reportedly a player Antetokounmpo is fond of. At 28, the 6-foot-6 shooting guard is in the prime of his career and will provide floor spacing for the Bucks. He’s shot 37.4 percent from beyond the arc for his career. The Serbian guard has started and come off the bench during his three seasons with the Kings. In Milwaukee, he’s expected to become a full-time starter.
“He’s a well-rounded offensive player,” the scout said. “He can really shoot the ball and be a secondary ball-handler who can create for others. I really like his offensive versatility.”
Heading into next season, the Bucks have made it clear they have championship expectations led by their back-to-back MVP. Horst will need to add several bench pieces for depth looking ahead, but he’s got an improved starting lineup and core now.
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