Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s super-max decision has put him in the center of the NBA universe.
The Bucks are trying to show he can hitch his star to their wagon.
Milwaukee is not only trading for Jrue Holiday, but also – as rumored – landing impending Kings restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic in a sign-and-trade.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
The Bucks are trading Donte Divincenzo. Ersan Ilyasova and DJ Wilson in the deal to the Kings, sources said. https://t.co/Vrho6gZQhH
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 17, 2020
Entering the offseason with major roster issues, Milwaukee has built a heck of a lineup:
That might be the optimal blend of shooting defense surrounding Antetokounmpo. After a two straight great regular-seasons and disappointing postseasons, this overhaul could put the Bucks over the top in the playoffs.
On a certain level, it better.
Milwaukee sent a haul of draft picks to the Pelicans for Holiday, and adding Bogdanovic further depletes the Bucks’ flexibility.
By acquiring a player in a sign-and-trade, the Bucks will be hard-capped at $138,928,000. They also lose their most promising young player in Donte DiVincenzo.
Milwaukee still has the mid-level exception to upgrade depth. The exact amount that can be used will depend on Bogdanovic’s salary. Maybe Milwaukee will try to re-sign Wesley Matthews, a veteran defender who could set a tone as starting shooting guard.
Bogdanovic, a talented all-around player, could come off the bench. But this is a marquee acquisition that suggests Bogdanovic will hold a large role.
In the likely event Bogdanovic’s starting salary is more than $10,235,263 (a 20% raise from last season), base-year-compensation rules would apply. That’s why Justin James is in the trade. Sparing you all the salary-cap minutiae, James’ salary ensures no third team – a common feature of trades involving base-year compensation – must be involved.
If the Kings – under new management – no longer wanted to match a big offer for Bogdanovic, this is a reasonable return. DiVincenzo is productive, cheap and under team control two more seasons before his restricted free agency.
Absorbing the expiring contracts of Ersan Ilyasova ($7 million) and D.J. Wilson ($4,548,280) is part of Sacramento’s cost. But Ilyasova can be a helpful veteran, and there’s a tiny chance Wilson (the No. 17 pick in 2017) develops into a keeper.
Lastly, this is an egregious case of tampering. Free agency doesn’t open until Friday. The Bucks and Kings can talk trade, but Milwaukee agreeing to a contract with Bogdanovic is a clear violation. We already knew teams and free agents were getting a head start, but now the NBA can’t pretend otherwise. The league just talked about cracking down. Has that initiative already fallen by the wayside? Or is this a new era of enforcement?