Monday night, the Milwaukee Bucks made two trades acquiring All-Star guard Jrue Holiday and guard/forward Bogdan Bogdanovic. The Bucks traded away guards Eric Bledsoe and George Hill, along with three first-round draft picks to the New Orleans Pelicans for Holiday. There are also pick swaps involved in the deal.
Since Monday night, the sign-and-trade deal between the Bucks and Sacramento Kings has fallen through as Bogdanovic never agreed to join Milwaukee and will enter restricted free agency on Friday. General Manager Jon Horst and the Bucks made it a priority to get superstar, Giannis Antetokounmpo, more star power; and, they delivered by adding Holiday.
The addition of Jrue Holiday is big for the Bucks. They added a third star to create a trio of Giannis, Khris Middleton, and Holiday. Holiday averaged over 19 points and six assists per game last season. He makes a drastic impact on defense, averaging 1.6 steals per game, ranking him sixth in the league. Holiday has two years remaining on his five year/$131 million deal he signed with the Pelicans in July of 2017. Holiday is now eligible for a contract extension as well.
This move was made for the Bucks to sway their superstar to sing long term. There have been rumors of Giannis leaving the Bucks following this upcoming season to join the Golden State Warriors to form a new “super-team”; however, Horst and the Bucks have no intention of losing Giannis, so they are making moves to add pieces around him to make them even stronger to reach the NBA Finals and win the O’Brien trophy.
The Bucks also dump two big contracts with Bledsoe and Hill. Bledsoe has three years remaining on his 4 year/$70 million contracts that he signed before last season. In the next three years, he will be making $16.785 million, $18.125 million, and $19.375 million, respectively.
For Hill, he has two years remaining on the three year/$28.7 million deal he signed with the Bucks the last offseason. In the next two years, Hill will be making over $9.5 million and $10 million, respectively.
Looking at the picks in the trade, it seems like the Bucks gave up a lot for Holiday. However, the theory and mindset around this have to be that there is no price to winning a championship.
If the Bucks win the championship in the 2020-2021 season, then the trade was worth it as it helped put them over the hump to become champions. The Western Conference is deep with multiple title contenders, including the champion Los Angeles Lakers, and the Eastern Conference has multiple threats as well, including the Miami Heat and 2019 Champions: the Toronto Raptors. The Bucks had to make a move and improve the team to keep them at the top of the Eastern Conference and the entire NBA. They did that with the Holiday trade, but don’t expect them to be done. Look for them to add a shooter in free agency or via trade.
With the pending free agency of Giannis following the 2020-2021 season, the team looked to improve the roster to keep the superstar long term. The Bucks look more dangerous than ever. Will this move be enough to win them a championship and keep Giannis long term?