Trade Deadline 2023: Milwaukee Bucks Mock Deadline

  • GM: Wojtek Kowalik, @wojtek_kowalik1

    Salary Cap: $176,699,631

    Luxury Tax: -$26,432,631

    GOAL: Title pursuit. Assess market for upgrades. Dangle mid-tier salaries like Grayson Allen, Joe Ingles, George Hill, Jordan Nwora, Pat Connaughton, etc. In search of versatile 3 & D players that can help you take the next step to championship contention

    Priorities

    We already saw it in purported rumors that they were attempting to acquire Jae Crowder in a three-team deal for Grayson Allen + four second round picks, but try to acquire those 3&D guys that can play alongside Giannis

    Probably try acquiring a backup ball handler in addition to a bigger wing

    Trade target ball handlers:

    o   Patty Mills
    o   Terry Rozier would be a pretty sweet get for Milwaukee
    Grayson Allen, Ingles, George Hill, & a first round pick?
    o   Coby White
    o   Ish Smith
    o   Cory Joseph
    o   TJ McConnell
    o   Devonte’ Graham
    o   Derrick Rose/Immanuel Quickley
    o   RJ Hampton
    o   Jordan Clarkson

    Trade target wings:

    o   Could Bogdan Bogdanovic finally make his way to Milwaukee? He’d be the perfect fit for them, as he can be the secondary creator next to Giannis and can play on the wing as well

    Grayson Allen would certainly be in the deal, so would Hawks take on next year’s money if they have tax problems coming up?

    o   Justin Holiday
    o   Joe Harris – would BKN want to shed some salary towards the tax next year?
    o   Kelly Oubre Jr.
    o   Alex Caruso (I feel like Caruso is every contender’s dream this deadline)
    o   DeMar DeRozan to Milwaukee would be fun too
    o   Derrick Jones Jr. for Nwora swap if Milwaukee wants to add athleticism?
    o   Tim Hardaway Jr. or Reggie Bullock but I don’t know if Dallas will want to trade away a rotation guy without an upgrade
    o   Alec Burks
    o   Could the Bucks offer a lightly protected 2028 1st + Nwora to nab Saddiq Bey away from Detroit?
    o   Eric Gordon/KJ Martin
    o   Buddy Hield’s shooting next to Giannis would be a dream
    o   Oshae Brissett
    o   Luke Kennard/Robert Covington/Amir Coffey
    o   Evan Fournier/Cam Reddish
    o   Gary Harris/Terrence Ross
    o   Jae Crowder/Cam Johnson
    o   Gary Trent Jr.
    o   Malik Beasley
    o   Will Barton

    If possible, try to get a bit younger, as the core around Giannis is getting up there in age, but not at the expense of winning

    Players to Dangle

    Grayson Allen (2/$17)

    o   Salary: $8,500,000

    o   Can match up to $10,725,000 in a deal

    o   This seems to be the guy the Bucks have been dangling in trade offers the most, probably mostly because of his salary

    Pat Connaughton (4/$34.2)

    o   Salary: $5,728,397

    o   Can salary match up to $7,260,496

    o   Just signed an extension, so odds are they don’t have plans to trade him, but if they needed the extra salary for a deal, I don’t think he’s completely off the table

    Joe Ingles (1/$6.5)

    o   Salary: $6,479,000

    o   Can salary match up to $8,198,750

    o   He’s far more likely to be added to a deal involving Allen for a higher priced guy than Connaughton is, but his shooting next to Giannis should prove to be pretty valuable once he gets his sea legs under him

    George Hill (1/$4)

    o   Salary: $4,000,000

    o   Can match up to $5,100,000

    o   They desperately need a backup ball handler, but those can always possibly be retained in the buyout market, so Hill can be thrown into a deal for salary purposes, which he may be the odd man out along with Grayson Allen.

    Jordan Nwora (2/$6.2)

    o   Salary: $3,000,000

    o   Can match up to $3,850,000

    o   He’s really the only young trade chip the Bucks have (maybe Allen too), and I expect teams to be interested. He’s definitely a sweetener for an asset poor franchise right now.


    Assets Owned

    2024 1st (NO has swap rights)
    2026 1st (NO has swap rights)
    2028 1st
    2029 1st
    2023 2nd
    2023 2nd (less favorable of CLE and GSW)
    2024 2nd
    2024 POR 2nd
    2025 IND 2nd
    2027 2nd
    2028 2nd
    2029 2nd

     

    Mock Trades to Date (Feb 2 Deadline)

    Bucks add depth

    Please note that this trade was expanded to a four-team deal: The Milwaukee Bucks trade Jordan Nwora and George Hill to the Charlotte Hornets for Cody Martin and Nick Richards

     

    This was a cheap way for the Bucks to add wing depth. As I’ve reiterated countless times on the Bird Rights Podcast, there is no such thing as too much wing depth in today’s NBA. Here, the Bucks gave up Nwora and George Hill for Cody Martin and took on Nick Richards. They were able to retain all of their draft capital and are trying to make a subsequent move involving Grayson Allen and some of those picks. Hill is not a rotation player for Milwaukee at this point, and Nwora always felt like he was bound to be traded once he signed that contract this summer. Cody Martin, meanwhile, has two more years on his deal after this year with a non-guaranteed season in 2025-26 at a very manageable $7-$8.6 million per year. As long as the Bucks are competitors, they seem willing to pay the tax, and if things change, Martin has a very tradeable contract. 

    For Charlotte, they get Cody Martin off their books. They also get a 1.5 year flier on Jordan Nwora, who fits in well with their core. This deal saved the Hornets at least over $16 million in long-term committed money. While Charlotte could’ve pushed for some sort of draft capital, they’ve already added multiple picks through other trades and were content getting off the money.

     

    Bulls blow it up

    Bulls receive: Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Nick Richards, MarJon Beauchamp, 2027 Lakers 1st, 2029 Lakers 1st, 2029 Bucks 1st, 2028 Bucks 1st-round swap, and Trailblazers 2024 2nd 

    Bucks receive: DeMar DeRozan, Cody Martin, Damian Jones, Goran Dragic, Javonte Green

    Hornets receive: George Hill and Jordan Nwora

    Lakers receive: Zach LaVine, Joe Ingles, Grayson Allen, Wesley Matthews

     

    SportsEthos has already posted a trade involving the Hornets and Bucks where the Bucks received Cody Martin and Nick Richards for George Hill and Jordan Nwora. For financial reasons, this trade had to be expanded to a four team deal to make it work.

    The last day of our mock trade deadline and the Bulls decided to blow it up. They traded LaVine and DeRozan for major cap flexibility, a former first-round pick, three unprotected firsts and a swap. However, the firsts are in 2027, 2028, and 2029, so this could potentially be a long rebuild for Chicago. Unfortunately, Chicago will likely lose their 2023 first round pick, as Orlando owns it top-four protected so the Bulls don’t exactly have incentive to lose this year. However, with DeRozan aging and LaVine’s knees not getting younger, they executed on a deal that helps their future, financial flexibility and they got decent value. Russell Westbrook’s $47 million deal is expiring after this season, so the Bulls could theoretically become a cap space team this summer and add pieces around guys like Ayo Dosunmu, Alex Caruso, Patrick Williams, and the newly acquired Obi Toppin. Additionally, they still have Nikola Vucevic and his expiring deal on the books and can let him walk or sign-and-trade him this summer to a contender. Either way, the Bulls have major financial flexibility now with newly found draft compensation. 

    For the Bucks, they saw they struck out on finding a third team in their pursuit for Jae Crowder, and they were dangling Grayson Allen to everybody. When Chicago said they were willing to move both DeRozan and LaVine in one fell swoop, Milwaukee pounced. Their 2029 first is their only first they were able to trade, and of course they added the swap in 2028. They acquired DeRozan to pair with Giannis, Middleton, and Holiday and in addition to Brook Lopez, that’s a very formidable starting lineup. However, Milwaukee does not have much wing or guard depth outside of Cody Martin and Connaughton. Bobby Portis will be the first big off the bench to spell either Lopez or Giannis, and Dragic will be the backup ball-handler. However, Milwaukee has two open roster spots after this move, so they can always acquire a buyout guy before March 1st. 

    For the Lakers, first of all, Zach LaVine is a Klutch client. Secondly, he played his college ball at UCLA. Third of all, when LaVine was first a restricted free agent after he was traded to Chicago, he signed an offer sheet with Sacramento that was subsequently matched. This summer, the Bulls were the only team that were really able to pay LaVine. I mention this because things may not be as peaches and cream in Chicago for LaVine as they appear, and LA is a place he can call home between his connections to Klutch and his previous experience playing college ball in LA. The Lakers also did not want to give up those highly coveted 2027 and 2029 unprotected firsts for just LaVine, so they demanded role players back as well. In total, they netted LaVine, Grayson Allen, Joe Ingles, and Wesley Matthews. The Lakers suddenly are a force to be reckoned with. 

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