US Sports Veteran
Publish Date: 11/17/2020
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
On Nov. 16, the Milwaukee Bucks showed Giannis Antetokounmpo that they’re committed to winning a championship. Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Milwaukee put together trade packages for former All-Star Jrue Holiday and three-point extraordinaire Bogdan Bogdanović. The two guards give the Bucks outside shooting the team previously lacked and some extra playmaking help.
Rumors swirled earlier this offseason about Antetokounmpo potentially leaving the Bucks after his contract ends following the 2020-21 season. The two-time MVP heard his name linked to the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat, both of which have recently shown championship-caliber mentalities. If all the chatter was a ploy to make Milwaukee get serious about winning a title, it worked.
In a bid to keep their generational superstar and win sooner rather than later, the Bucks acquired Bogdanović and Holiday. The additions came with hefty prices. New Orleans, which parted ways with Anthony Davis for a king’s ransom last season, got significant assets in return for their veteran combo-guard. Holiday netted the Pelicans Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, three future first-round picks, and two pick swaps.
Ordinarily, even a player of Holiday’s caliber and character wouldn’t have cost that much. However, the Pelicans had little reason to part with one of their most experienced and successful players. The Bucks were also desperate to find an All-Star-caliber player to satisfy Antetokounmpo and encourage him to sign a long-term extension.
Bogdanović proved easier to pry away from the Sacramento Kings. The 28-year-old shooting guard was preparing to enter free agency, but he’s now headed to Milwaukee in a sign-and-trade. In return for the promising Serbian, the Bucks sent Donte DiVincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova, and D.J. Wilson to the Kings. DiVincenzo is by far the most promising of those assets, but he’s not as far along as Bogdanović and doesn’t possess game-changing three-point shooting.
Overall, the Bucks traded away their third, fifth, and sixth-leading scorers from last season in a few hours. Bledsoe served as a full-time starter while DiVincenzo started over a third of Milwaukee’s games last year. Hill primarily came off the bench, but the 34-year-old still averaged 21.5 minutes per game. However, the Bucks believe they improved by trading depth for proven talent last night.
Milwaukee traded away its future in draft picks, hoping to secure a better one with Antetokounmpo and possibly an appearance in the NBA Finals. Holiday offers defensive capabilities not far below Bledsoe’s, and the former Pelican is a career 35.4% shooter from three. Over his past three seasons in New Orleans, Holiday averaged roughly 20 points, seven assists, and five rebounds per game.
Bogdanović offers his own unique traits. The 6-6 Serbian is tall enough that he can shoot over most other guards. In his three seasons with the Kings, Bogdanović averaged 28.2 minutes per game and made 37.4% of his three-point shots. The Bucks ranked 17th among teams in three-point percentage last season, despite attempting the fourth-most threes per game. Bogdanović fills an immediate need and should operate well within Milwaukee’s offense.
The Bucks made some daring moves last night, sacrificing depth for stardom. However, if adding Bogdanović and Holiday means Milwaukee keeps Antetokounmpo and vanquishes its playoff ghosts, it’s all worth it.