The Milwaukee Bucks entered this offseason with the understanding that changes needed to be made. Last year’s embarrassing second round collapse against the Miami Heat was a wake-up call. The team, as presently constructed, cannot legitimately compete for an NBA championship.
In order to change their fortunes and ensure that Giannis Antetokounmpo does not leave in free agency, a big move needs to be made. According to Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, that big move could come in the form of acquiring one of three high-level point guards.
“[The] Bucks are looking to add a high impact player at the guard position depending on cost [and] availability,” he wrote. “I’m told: [the] Bucks are inquiring about Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chris Paul [and] Toronto Raptors icon Kyle Lowry.”
Milwaukee Bucks are looking to add a high impact player at the guard position depending on cost & availability.
I’m Told: Bucks are inquiring about Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, Oklahoma City Thunder’s Chris Paul & Toronto Raptors icon Kyle Lowry. pic.twitter.com/nkQYXm7DY2
— 👑📍Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, M.A. (@ScoopB) October 30, 2020
Shortly after the Bucks were eliminated by Miami, reports surfaced that the front office was looking to move on from Eric Bledsoe. Although he is a superior defender, he lacks the prowess necessary to lead an offense and take some of the scoring pressure off Antetokounmpo. Any one of Oladipo, Paul or Lowry would be better in that regard.
Realistically, it’s hard to see a scenario where the Raptors agree to move Lowry to Milwaukee. One, he is a franchise legend and they need him. Two, the team is still very much in the thick of the Eastern Conference title race – why help out a rival?
Rajon Rondo is having himself an offseason. https://t.co/d6cYZNLga9
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 29, 2020
Oladipo and Paul seem like far likelier options in a potential trade.
Oladipo played in 19 outings this season after suffering a ruptured quad tendon injury in his right knee that kept him out of action for more than a year. Although he slowly worked himself into shape as the Indiana Pacers’ first round series against the Heat progressed, he was still visibly not the player he was at his peak in 2017. That year he put up 23.1 points and led the league in steals with 2.1 per outing. Along the way, he earned All-NBA team and All-Defensive team honors.
Dwight Howard responds. https://t.co/1YLknXUz1m
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 29, 2020
Currently, Oladipo is entering the final year of his four-year, $85 million deal. If the Pacers don’t want to soon reward him with a new max contract, trading him away now could make sense.
Paul is another intriguing option. A month ago, ESPN NBA insider Brian Windhorst observed that “Chris Paul to Milwaukee is going to become a conversation” – and it definitely appears as though he was right. The main sticking point as it pertains to the 35-year-old is his massive contract. He is owed $41.4 million in 2020-21 and $44.2 million in 2021-22, which is obviously a lot.
That said – his run with the Oklahoma City Thunder this past season speaks for itself. He took a group that most figured was lottery-bound and carried them within a single victory of the second round of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs.
The beef is real. https://t.co/R7VdyWaJT8
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 28, 2020
Paul would immediately alleviate Antetokounmpo of some of the offensive pressure that has consistently been on his shoulders and add a high-caliber pedigree to the Bucks that has been otherwise lacking.
One way or another, it seems like Milwaukee realizes that moves need to be this offseason. The organization can’t just stand pat and hope that Antetokounmpo doesn’t leave. It’s time to go all in, and that comes in the form of betting big on a meaningful trade.
Will it happen? Time will tell. Should it happen? Absolutely.