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Milwaukee Bucks May Move On From Former Champion

Dec 11, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks mascot Bango waves flag with the Milwaukee Bucks logo prior to the game against the Chicago Bulls at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Milwaukee Bucks are potentially changing up their defensive playstyle. In a recent article for the website, O’Connor mentions that “there are rumblings” about Milwaukee wanting to “play a more versatile style of defense next season.” Because of this, O’Connor notes that Bucks starting center Brook Lopez could be on his way out. Furthermore, he mentions that the Bucks could acquire wing Bruce Brown from the Toronto Raptors to help achieve their goal on defense.

“There are rumblings that the Bucks would like to play a more versatile style of defense next season, which raises the question of whether Brook Lopez has a future there. Trading Brook Lopez for Brown is a perfect match of salaries, and then the Raptors could flip Lopez elsewhere. The amount of screening and cutting Brown could do in support of Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard would be glorious to watch.”

Lopez has spent the last six seasons with the Bucks. In that time, he has averaged 13 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game. With Milwaukee, Lopez won his first NBA title against the Phoenix Suns during the 2020-21 season. Furthermore, Lopez has enjoyed a successful run with the Bucks overall. During the 2019-20 season, the big man finished No. 10 in Defensive Player of the Year voting and was selected to the All-Defensive Second Team. This was the first time he received the honor. Additionally, last season, Lopez finished as the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year behind Memphis Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr.

Milwaukee Bucks May Move On From Former Champion

What Brook Lopez Brings

Lopez has evolved his game tremendously over time. Initially with the then New Jersey Nets, Lopez was a more traditional big man who never stretched the floor. However, the 36-year-old has become one of the more reliably perimeter-shooting big men in the league. Additionally, his defensive game has improved drastically since joining the Bucks. He is a great shot-blocker and is tremendous in guarding down low. Lopez may not have too many years left in the tank. However, it is clear he can still provide value to a contender. Plus, his championship experience will always make him a desirable acquisition for the remainder of his career.

Additionally, Lopez is a great veteran leader and locker-room presence. Kyle Kuzma, who played one season with Lopez on the Los Angeles Lakers, talked about what it meant to have Lopez as a mentor.

“Someone that really showed me about work ethic. … Really showed me about how it is to be professional in this league. And then also, he’s such a sweet guy.”

The Last Word on Brook Lopez

Last season, despite having high expectations, the Bucks failed to advance past the first round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season. Therefore, changing the defensive playstyle may be the right call for the team. If so, trading Lopez could make sense. The California native should generate lots of interest in the trade market if the Bucks decide to move on from him.

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