Everybody knows what happened. The Miami Heat upset them and eventually went on to face the Lakers in the Finals. The Bucks couldn’t figure out how to top the Heat, and Head Coach Mike Budenholzer’s job status was in flux.
Then in the offseason, Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a huge contract extension, tying himself to Milwaukee for another few years. They acquired Jrue Holiday for Eric Bledsoe, and they took a gamble on Bobby Portis on a reserve role (a move that’s worked out well).
Nonetheless, the Bucks need to find a way to make a trade to better their chances of fighting for supremacy in the East.
The Milwaukee Bucks Need to Make a Trade
The Bucks are fresh out of the All-Star break with a 22-14 record, good for third in the Eastern Conference. That’s good news.
The bad news is that they are chasing the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets, both of whom have been cemented at the top for some time. The Nets just added Blake Griffin and the Sixers have been linked to other players such as Will Barton from the Denver Nuggets.
With that being said, the Bucks need to make a trade if they want to compete for a conference title. Their bench is, well, not very good.
Portis has been a nice surprise this year, but that’s about it for the Bucks’ bench unit. Bryn Forbes filled in nicely for Holiday, but when it comes down to it, that’s not a scary option.
Pat Connaughton is a half-way decent player that does a lot of little things right. Besides Connaughton, there is only D.J. Augustin and Torrey Craig. That’s not sustainable as they get into the playoff stretch.
Here are three players the Bucks should target on the trade market as the deadline approaches.
This one makes the most sense for a number of reasons. J.J. Redick can score, shoot, defend, and can easily slide into the starting lineup as a two or three guard.
More importantly, Redick is itching for a title opportunity and has been a fixture in the playoffs more often than not. The New Orleans Pelicans are fading quickly in the Western Conference and are better off getting rid of Redick for whatever they can get back in return.
36 years old and JJ Redick hasn’t slowed down one bit. pic.twitter.com/Ge1yU20PqN
— BlueDevilStop (@BlueDevilStop) December 25, 2020
He’s shooting a career-low 36.4 percent from beyond the arc, although that can be blamed for the Pelicans’ lack of floor spacing. He can still play and wants to go back to the playoffs. It’s the best for both sides.
This one makes a lot of sense for the Bucks. Brook Lopez is currently manning the center position and has taken a significant step back on the year.
As for P.J. Tucker, his time with the Houston Rockets is nearing an end in the middle of a fire-sale. Tucker is the perfect small-ball center for the Bucks, especially given his ability to defend and score.
Sure, he’s only averaging a touch north of four points per game, but make no mistake: he can still produce. He can rebound, pass, defend at a high level, and can start or provide bench depth for the Bucks.
He proved worthy down the stretch for the Rockets in the Orlando Bubble and could help the Bucks immensely as they look to fiend off the Nets and Sixers.
In addition, the Nets have discussed playing Griffin at the small-ball five and Tucker could matchup up rather well with him.
This would take a lot for the Bucks to pull off, but it would be worth it.
The Bucks need scoring options besides Antetokounmpo, Holiday, and Khris Middleton. Barnes is also having one of the best seasons of his career.
Harrison Barnes with the big layup to seal the win over the Lakers 😤
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) March 4, 2021
He’s shooting a career-high 49.2 percent from the field and has a 39 percent clip from three-point territory. Barnes is averaging 16.7 points with 6.1 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game for the Kings.
While his name’s been linked to the Boston Celtics mainly, the Bucks make sense here, too. It might cost a good amount for him to go to the Milwaukee Bucks. However, they need to add somebody, and quickly.