The NBA Trade Deadline reaches its conclusion this Thursday, February 6 at 2 p.m. CT.
The Milwaukee Bucks currently sit with the best record in basketball at 41-7, the best start in franchise history. Because of that, it’s hard to imagine the Bucks as a team in the search for a move at the deadline. However, the trade deadline has shown to give teams an opportunity to acquire a player significant to a championship run. Milwaukee suffered from that just a season ago in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Toronto Raptors acquired Marc Gasol from Memphis and his impact can’t be overlooked. That move allowed Toronto to add depth to their frontcourt which significantly impacted League MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo as a force in the paint. The Bucks may be interested in making a move which could put them over the edge this NBA season. Here are three players which could help the Bucks do just that.
Davis Bertans – Forward for the Washington Wizards
The Bucks have shown interest in surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo with as many three-point shooters as possible to provide floor spacing. Bertans is shooting 42.2% from three-point range which currently would be the fourth best on the Bucks current roster.With a fully healthy Bucks roster using Head Coach Mike Budenholzer’s usual starting five, Bertans would add another shooter to the second unit. They would have the potential to put three players that shoot above 40% from beyond the arc with George Hill (51.1%), and Kyle Korver (42.9%). Bertans also played under his first three seasons in San Antonio under championship Head Coach Gregg Popovich, giving him a good understanding of ball movement and making the right plays.
The Wizards made a claim stating they “wouldn’t discuss a deal for Bertans” – Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. However, Washington has shown the willingness to trade their expensive contracts away to free up cap space. The Wizards traded Otto Porter Jr. to Chicago last season primarily due to the big contract he had with the team. Bertans is in the first year of a 2-year $14.5 million contract on a team that seems destined for a rebuild. The right package of draft picks and young talent could prompt Washington away from Bertans.
DeAndre Jordan – Center for the Brooklyn Nets.
While the veteran center may seem to be the opposite of what the Bucks want to put around Giannis, having his presence could pay dividends in a seven game series. Jordan spent his first ten years in the league on the Los Angeles Clippers playing alongside Chris Paul and Blake Griffin who were known famously as “Lob City.” This nickname referred to the intense presence in the paint by two imposing big man with a dominant floor general to put the ball in perfect spots for them to succeed. Jordan’s role on the Clippers had significantly increased as the years went on, so much he was honored as an All-Star in 2017 for his elite rebounding and rim protection. Jordan’s rebounding is without question his most significant strength as he has led the league in rebounds twice in his career.
The question then to be asked is – “How does a player like this help the Bucks win a title?” Last season in the Eastern Conference Finals, the frontcourt trio of Pascal Siakam, Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol were able to cause problems for the Bucks gameplan by matching the physicality of Giannis. Brook Lopez at center is not known for great rebounding by only averaging 4.6 per game, which the Bucks are going to need if they are to compete with the emerging frontcourts of the East. Toronto still has the same three in-tact from last season, Philadelphia has paired Joel Embiid with Al Horford, and Bam Adebayo has emerged as a rising star alongside Jimmy Butler in Miami. With an innovative Head Coach in Mike Budenholzer, Jordan would provide a spark on both ends of the floor by second chance points, freeing up shooters with screens, and help equalize the strong frontcourts of the other contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Jordan is in his first year with the Nets who made a splash in the offseason by signing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Because of injuries to both stars, it has made it difficult for the Nets to display themselves as contenders sitting in 7th place in the East with a record of 21-26. There is no doubt the future is bright in Brooklyn, however with the injuries, they may be looking to add some more youth to their roster instead of hanging onto a 31-year-old center who isn’t in the starting lineup.
Delon Wright – Guard for the Dallas Mavericks
In his career, the 27-year old has shown to be a promising spark plug off the bench for the teams he has played for. Wright spent his first five seasons with the Toronto Raptors where while much promise was shown, playing time was an issue for him considering he was sitting behind two All-Star Guards in Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan. Last season, Wright was traded to Memphis in the Marc Gasol deal at the deadline. During the offseason, he was traded to Dallas where he currently plays a significant role off the bench for them shooting an efficiant 47.8% from the field. However, Dallas has suffered multiple injuries in their frontcourt. The team lost their Starting Center Dwight Powell to an achilles tendon tear last week, and Kristaps Porzingis has missed 12 games with a lingering knee injury. The Mavericks traded for Center Willie Cauley-Stein in the immediate aftermath of losing Powell, and with the trade deadline looming, it’s possible they would want to acquire some size to add depth to a fragile frontcourt. While Wright has an impressive field goal percentage, Dallas has used guards Luka Doncic, Tim Hardaway Jr, Jalen Brunson and Seth Curry as their primary backcourt lineups.
Wright would have a more significant role with the Bucks as he adds a ball handler and efficient shooter to go along with the bench which has shown the ability to take over games. Pairing him with George Hill off the bench would add more shooting and versatility to a fast pace offense.
There is no doubt teams are looking at the trade deadline as an opportunity to make a run at a title, patch some holes in their lineups, or build for the future. Milwaukee looks like the best team in basketball at the moment and should be the favorites to take home the title. Can the Bucks use the trade deadline to their advantage in capturing this ultimate goal?