The Milwaukee Bucks further bolstered their starting five by acquiring the talented playmaker from the Sacramento Kings.
Milwaukee wasted no time trying to appease Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Hours after dealing three first-round picks, two pick swaps, and two solid players (Eric Bledsoe and George Hill) to the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Jrue Holiday, the Bucks acquired free-agent-to-be Bogdan Bogdanovic in a sign-and-trade from the Sacramento Kings.
The Bucks are racing to put a championship-caliber team around Antetokounmpo with the hopes that he will sign a five-year supermax extension before the 2021-21 season tips off.
The Bucks made two major statements to the Antetokounmpo camp within the first 12ish hours after the league’s trade moratorium was lifted. Let’s examine and evaluate the Bogdanovic deal.
As with the Holiday trade, an ultimate grading of the Bogdanovic acquisition is incomplete until we see how Antetokounmpo reacts. But unlike the Holiday swap, the Bucks didn’t overpay.
Bogdanovic should be an ideal fit within Mike Budenholzer’s offense. He’ll infuse the Bucks with elements of play-making and shot creation from the wing that Milwaukee has sorely lacked since letting Malcolm Brogdon go.
Bogdanovic shot 37.5 percent on nine 3s per 36 minutes in 2019-20, including 40.7 percent on catch-and-shoot looks. He’s adept in isolation and pick-and-roll situations, which helped him supplant Buddy Hield in Sacramento’s starting lineup. He can run off-screens for dribble handoffs or three-point looks. Crucially, he isn’t a sieve on the defensive end, either — far from it.
Budenholzer’s offense has hummed along just fine in the regular season but has consistently stalled in the playoffs. Bogdanovic — who averaged 15.1 points per game in 2019-20 — and Holiday will provide desperately needed diversity to the offensive attack around Giannis.
Furthermore, the Bucks acquired the 28-year old wing at an exceedingly reasonable cost (the terms of his deal are unknown, but it must run at least three years, per sign-and-trade rules). DiVincenzo, 23, is an attractive piece who could blossom into, well, a Bogdanovic-caliber player in a best-case scenario. But he’s a long way from that point, especially as a dependable shooter.
Amid an impressive lineup with Holiday, Khris Middleton, Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez, Bogdanovic will become the best fourth-option in basketball. Hopefully, Budenholzer will stagger Bogdanovic and allow him to be a go-to guy against second units.
On the downside, Monday’s moves depleted Milwaukee’s depth, and, due to sign-and-trade rules, the Bucks will be hard-capped at $139 million in 2020-21 — meaning only minimum deals can be used to fill out rest of the roster.
With a De’Aaron Fox extension looming and Hield’s four-year, $94 million contract just kicking in, Sacramento was likely going to let Bogdanovic walk in restricted free agency. To that end, leveraging a trade with an organization as thirsty for talent as Milwaukee for an outgoing player is smart thinking.
DiVincenzo is a respectable, if not franchise-altering, return package. After an injury-plagued rookie campaign, DiVincenzo showed considerable promise in his sophomore season and ended up as a key cog in the Bucks playoff rotation. He offers high-energy perimeter defense, surprisingly good rebounding, and a mature understanding of the game. He averaged 14.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, and two steals per 36 minutes in 2019-20.
He’ll need his jump shot to become more consistent to take his game to the next level, though he did improve his 3-point percentage from 26.5 to 33.6 from his first to second seasons.
Theoretically, Wilson, 24, has intriguing upside as a stretch-5, but it simply didn’t pan out in Milwaukee. His minutes were halved last season from 2018-19, and he averaged 3.6 points per game as a bit player. It’s worth a flyer just in case a change of scenery is welcome for Wilson – if he doesn’t get buried in Sacramento’s crowded frontcourt.
Ilyasova carries a $7 million expiring contract which can be flipped to a contender for a second-round pick.
DiVincenzo, on a rookie contract, has a chance to become a highly useful two-way wing for Luke Walton — not a bad replacement for an impending free agent. On the other hand, the Kings looked to be on the verge of becoming a playoff team one year ago with Bogdanovic as a potential building block. Now? Who knows.