The Bucks likely will not sign a “big money” external free agent this summer, “big money” defined as greater than 4.7 million. The Bucks are prioritizing their big three free agents, Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, and Brook Lopez. Which seems logical, considering their options to replace those guys are so narrow. So assuming the Bucks can retain those three what type of holes are on the roster.
The Bucks would presumably start the following:
PG: Eric Bledsoe
SG: Malcolm Brogdon
SF: Khris Middleton
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo
C: Brook Lopez
They also would have Ersan Ilyasova, DJ Wilson, Sterling Brown, Donte Divincenzo, and Pat Connaughton off the bench. So they have about 5 spots to fill on their roster and a bit of coverage everywhere. I would specifically try and target PG, SF, and C if I were Jon Horst.
So who are some potential cheap names that could fit those needs? Let’s dive in.
George Hill, PG
Hill makes a ton of sense to return for the Bucks. He was great for them last season and expressed an interest in returning. There is a chance he could price himself out of what the Bucks could afford though, and that would be the only reason I’d move on from him.
Darren Collison, PG
Collison makes a ton of sense as a guy who could shoot and reasonably defend his position. Shouldn’t be overly expensive either, but he is a fringe starter so if someone offers him good money he should take it.
Tyus Jones, PG
Jones is not quite what Bucks fans would like as a shooter, but he can run an offense and make good decisions. He has been a better shooter in the past and is young enough to theoretically develop elsewhere. Someone might take a bit of a gamble him and his youth at a price the Bucks can’t quite match.
Dewayne Dedmon, C
Dedmon is a guy Bucks fans love because he can shoot and provides a lot of similar traits to Brook Lopez. I’m not sure the Bucks can get him here on the room exception (4.7m), but if they can he’d be my first choice amongst centers. Although I would probably rather grab a point guard.
Trevor Ariza, SF
Ariza looked a step slower last year, which might sound like a dig, but it just means that instead of a quality starter he is more of a rotation guy. He can still shoot pretty well and plays solid defense when it matters. He got 15m as a free agent last year, I think he gets less this summer, just not sure how much.
Jeff Green, SF/PF
Jeff turns 33 this summer, he is no longer a guy that people talk themselves into playing a big role for them. He can shoot it and somewhat defend, would give the Bucks another forward behind Khris, that could also play up in smaller lineups.
Reggie Bullock, SG
Bullock can shoot, he is another guy that might price himself out of the Bucks range, but definitely does not hurt to try right?
Morris Brothers, PF
I lumped them together, because that is what everyone seems to do. They could be really interesting in the front court next to Giannis.
Corey Joseph, PG
Good defensive guard, could be a better shooter, but could start in a pinch will give you consistent play.
Garrett Temple, SG/SF
Temple can do a lot of things for the Bucks, and would make a lot of sense on a cheap deal. Could play multiple positions and knock down shots which is all the Bucks can reasonably ask for at this price.
Vince Carter, SF
It is Vince Carter.
Mike Scott, PF
Stretch big, who brings a level of swagger the Bucks do not currently have. Only makes sense if they move on from Ersan this summer.
Tomas Satoransky, PG/SG
6’7” guard who can play both backcourt spots and knock down threes. Good facilitator, would be a great fit for Milwaukee on both ends off the bench.
Jared Dudley, PF
Solid team defender who was well liked in his first go around in Milwaukee, can still knock down open threes. Hates Ben Simmons.
James Ennis, SF
Two-way wing who can guard multiple spots and will be playable in the playoffs. Has the size and strength to be solid Middleton backup.
All of the aforementioned could help Milwaukee out this year to varying degrees, some will sign for a price the Bucks cannot match. Once we start reaching Mid-July though the money in free agency will start to dry up and coming to Milwaukee for the veteran minimum or room exception will look more and more appealing. Last summer the Bucks got Connaughton at the minimum and Lopez for 3.4m, now they are coming off a 60 win ECF finish, something that Horst will be sure to note in his pitch.