Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, Milwaukee Bucks aim for NBA title
3 reasons the Milwaukee Bucks will win the 2022-23 NBA championship and 3 reasons they will not.
Lou Saldivar, Wochit
The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 9, and since taking over as the general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks in 2017, Jon Horst has made some in-season moves via trade and free agency to bolster the roster:
This season, with the team deep into the luxury tax and with all 15 roster spots filled with guaranteed contracts, Horst may need to be more creative than ever if he wants to add personnel.
Click here to see who has no-trade clauses and what cap restraints the Bucks have.
Bookmark this page for the latest on Bucks trade rumors and analysis as the deadline approaches:
The Athletic reported the 33-year-old center and the Bucks have agreed to try and find a place to trade him, and because Ibaka is on board with this idea it makes things easier because he has a no-trade clause. Ibaka re-signed this offseason after the Bucks traded for him in February when Brook Lopez was recovering from back surgery, but Ibaka has appeared in just 16 games and played only twice since Nov. 21 due to illness and personal reasons.
Analysis: Ibaka’s $1.8 million salary is palatable for other teams to absorb but is there enough on film from his last 70 games from 2021-23 in Los Angeles and Milwaukee to make a team feel he can contribute? And how do other teams feel about him essentially asking out of a backup role on a title contender? If the Bucks cannot find a trade partner that Ibaka will approve of, the team could cut him at his full salary as Ibaka would have to give up money on a buyout.
The Bucks have been linked to the 32-year-old former Marquette University player since Crowder and the Phoenix Suns agreed he would not join the team this year. Crowder has not played yet this season. The rumors of Milwaukee’s interest began at the start of the season and have persisted.
Analysis: It makes sense for the Bucks to have interest in Crowder. He’s a 6-foot-6, 235-pound forward who the Bucks would believe still can defend some of the bigger wing players in the Eastern Conference (think Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum). Crowder made 34.8% of his three-pointers last season and is a career 34.6% three-point shooter, though he did knock down 38.9% of his threes during the Suns’ NBA Finals run in 2020-21. The question would be how long it takes Crowder to get into game shape after such a long time off, and then being able to transition into new roles in limited minutes off the bench.
The 23-year-old New York Knicks wing has been linked to the Bucks since December and the interest has persisted. The Knicks reportedly have been seeking second-round draft picks to move Reddish, who has not been able to consistently get minutes for the Knicks.
Analysis: On paper, Milwaukee’s plethora of second-round picks matches up with what the Knicks reportedly want for Reddish – but the Bucks would still have to move a player off the roster to accommodate him. Reddish’s contract ($5.9 million for this year only) would fit the financial parameters the team is working with provided other players are moved off the team. The Bucks would have to think Reddish would be willing and able to defend at a high level in limited minutes off the bench while rediscovering his three-point stroke from his 34 games in Atlanta in 2021-22, when he made 37.9% of his triples on 4.5 attempts per game. Reddish is a career 32.3% three-point shooter but has made just 28.7% of his threes in parts of two seasons with the Knicks.
Hoops Hype, a USA TODAY property, linked the Bucks to the Knicks guard in early January.
Analysis: The 23-year-old is averaging a career-high 27.2 minutes per game off the bench as a top reserve for the Knicks, who are in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff race. The No. 25 pick out of Kentucky in the 2020 draft, Quickley is averaging a career-high 12.5 points per game but is shooting a career-low 32.9% from behind the three-point line. The Bucks would have to think more open looks around their Big Three would return Quickley to his career mark of 35.6% – or even his rookie-year performance of 38.9% from deep.
Quickley is making $2.3 million this year and is under contract through the 2023-24 season at a reasonable number ($4.1 million), so the actual price tag fits with the Bucks’ tax situation as well. An, he would provide a youthful infusion to a veteran roster that will have heavy turnover after this season. The question is if Quickley is indeed available, would the Knicks want the Bucks to move their 2029 first-round pick?