It was evident after Miami bounced top-seeded Milwaukee in five games that the Bucks need to do something to make themselves better prepared for playoff basketball. Being willing to pay for those changes is a good sign, but what changes should be made?
Don’t bet on a Bucks trade for Chris Paul being one of them.
That rumor had bounced around the league after the Bucks were eliminated, about the same time it became clear the Thunder are moving toward a rebuild. Don’t expect it to happen, reports Eric Nehm and Sam Amick at The Athletic.
As for the reported prospect of the Bucks pursuing Oklahoma City point guard Chris Paul as a possible solution to the roster deficiencies, sources with knowledge of ownership’s thinking said it is highly unlikely. The cost of bringing him aboard — Paul is owed $41.3 million next season and has a player option worth $44.2 million in the 2021-22 campaign — and the potential difficulty of bringing Paul onto a roster already led by a strong personality in Antetokounmpo seems to limit the chances of the Bucks moving to pair the two All-Stars. All indications are that the Bucks would rather look elsewhere.
There are good reasons the answers to Milwaukee’s questions may not be CP3, but the questions remain.
The Milwaukee Bucks have to find ways to score when a good defensive team can wall off Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks’ threes become harder to find. Eric Bledsoe is an outstanding defensive point guard, but neither he nor All-Star Khris Middleton are the secondary shot creators the Bucks need. (Antetokounmpo needs a 15-foot pull-up jumper, too, but that’s a different discussion.) Coach Mike Budenholzer also needs to be willing to bend to make this all fit.
Antetokounmpo and Milwaukee co-owner Marc Lasry sat down (with a few others in attendance) and talked about the future of the franchise, what went right last season, what went wrong, the bubble and more. They talked about future directions. Does that mean Antetokounmpo will sign the five-year, $222+ million supermax contract with the Bucks when it’s presented to him this offseason? Who knows. He may choose to wait, keeping pressure on the organization.
However, The Athletic report said everyone left the big meeting in good spirits and on the same page. That’s a very good sign for Bucks fans. Even if the roster questions still hang out there.