Please note that this story has been updated on Feb. 8 to reflect the latest rumors and reporting surrounding the Milwaukee Bucks trade deadline.
MILWAUKEE — Just one game behind the Boston Celtics for the No. 1 spot in the NBA standings, the Milwaukee Bucks‘ depth has been tested this season.
Two years removed from a championship run, the Bucks have dealt with unrelenting injury woes that forced them to dig deep into the rotation in order to compete with the league’s best. However, the rumor mill has been active surrounding the Milwaukee Bucks as we draw closer to the NBA Trade Deadline on Thursday, Feb. 9.
While the big three of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton is likely untouchable, the Bucks will need to give up something of substance in order to bolster the bench and build toward a Playoff run in the Spring. So which players on the Bucks roster might be made available in trade talks this season?
What are the Milwaukee Bucks’ most coveted trade chips?
When Milwaukee traded two first-round picks and two pick swaps for Holiday, the team tied up much of its trade flexibility when it comes to draft picks. This becomes especially tricky when considering the Stepien Rule, which restricts NBA teams from trading their first-round draft picks in consecutive years.
However, the Bucks have eight second-round draft picks to maneuver with. Although these picks aren’t as enticing as first-rounders, they aren’t irrelevant either. Most recently, the Los Angeles Lakers acquired forward Rui Hachimura from the Washington Wizards by trading an expiring contract and three second-rounders.
It has been reported that several teams are expressing interest in shooting guard Grayson Allen — a 27-year-old who has shot over 40% from 3-point land in his two seasons with the Bucks (more on that later). The team has also agreed to find a new home for big man Serge Ibaka, who has drawn interest from several teams.
Some of the team’s young players who would have noteworthy value in trade discussions include Jordan Nwora, MarJon Beauchamp and Jevon Carter — though there has not been any formal reporting on their availability or interest from other teams besides a nod from Brian Windhorst on Nwora.
While it may not be the most alluring war-chest to deploy, general manager Jon Horst has options while navigating the Bucks trade deadline.
NEW REPORT: Former Racine Journal Times sports reporter and columnist Gery Woelfel published a story claiming that Khris Middleton could be the subject of a trade. He spoke to an anonymous Eastern Conference executive who cited the three-time All-Star’s murky injury history and age as factors that would contribute to this decision.
Which Milwaukee Bucks players have been involved in trade rumors?
Advisory: WTMJ is not reporting any of these rumors. Each of these rumors has been vetted and reported by well-established publications.
Hoops Hype’s Michael Scotto reported on several occasions that the Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks have held preliminary discussions about 2019 lottery pick Cam Reddish. However, his Jan. 23 report suggested that the Knicks are interested in Allen as a piece in that deal.
He wrote that Allen has been brought up in trade discussions with several teams hoping to offload veteran talent that would help the Bucks in a championship run. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports also reported that the Bucks are shopping a package of Allen and multiple second-round picks for a veteran.
However, Scotto concluded that if Allen were to be traded, it would more likely be for a veteran instead of a young player like Reddish.
In the same report, Scotto suggested that the Bucks would trade Serge Ibaka for a second-round draft pick. The teams who reportedly expressed interest were the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, and Atlanta Hawks. The Los Angeles Clippers, Washington Wizards and New York Knicks have also been mentioned.
The names Jordan Nwora, George Hill and Wesley Matthews have been included in conversations from national media members as they speculate about which players combine for the salary and value to bring in a solid veteran.
Which players have the Milwaukee Bucks reportedly expressed interest in?
Milwaukee has been linked to many impactful veteran players through the course of this season — though none have been mentioned so profusely like Suns forward Jae Crowder, who was a member of the 2021 Suns’ Finals team that Milwaukee defeated.
The 32-year-old has held out the first half of the season with a trade request due to a soured relationship in Phoenix. This has been reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, The Athletic’s Shams Charania and numerous reputable outlets since the beginning of the season. However, Vince Goodwill of Yahoo Sports reported that the Bucks will be prepared to pivot if Crowder is dealt elsewhere.
Fischer also reported that a three-team framework that would’ve sent Crowder to the Bucks, Hachimura to the Suns and a package of second-round picks and cash considerations to the Wizards fell through.
NBA Analyst Ric Bucher spoke with anonymous front-office executives who named the Bucks as one of three title contenders vying for veteran depth. He also said the Bucks would prefer to add “an athletic wing scorer.”
Bucher listed six players who were identified by NBA front office staffers as ‘gettable’ around the trade deadline: F Bojan Bogdanovic (Pistons), G Eric Gordon (Rockets), G Terrence Ross (Magic) and three Utah Jazz guards: Mike Conley, Malik Beasley and Jordan Clarkson.
Coincidentally, we identified three of these players in our Dec. 28 article entitled Milwaukee Bucks: 5 trade targets who would make a difference in a title run.
Longtime NBA Insider Marc Stein reported on his personal Substack that the Bucks offered four second-round picks to the Rockets in exchange for Gordon. He later reported that the Bucks have also expressed trade interest in former MVP Derrick Rose.
Scotto has reported that the Bucks are interested in two-time All-Defensive selection Matisse Thybulle.
National sports media personality Chris Vernon stated that Wizards wing Will Barton might be bought out and if so, the Bucks are expected to be interested. This was shared on his podcast, ‘The Mismatch.’
So what’s next ahead of the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline?
For now, Milwaukee Bucks fans needs to sit tight and focus on the team that’s currently been deployed. None of these deals have come to fruition just yet — though with the Hachimura trade off the board, many more deals should begin to unfold now two weeks out from the Bucks Trade Deadline.
With or without a deal, the Milwaukee Bucks rightfully view themselves as a 2023 NBA title contender. The team will focus on rebuilding momentum and chemistry on the court while Horst and the front office remain active to position the Bucks for another championship run later this year.
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