The Bucks currently project to be a little over the luxury tax line, and Henson’s contract, which will pay him about $31.73MM over the next three years, is the most noteworthy albatross on the club’s books. Moving Henson without taking back much salary would give Milwaukee more flexibility to use the rest of its mid-level exception, perhaps on a point guard like Derrick Rose.
Meanwhile, a trade could give Henson an opportunity to take on a larger role with another team. The 26-year-old started 39 games for the Bucks last season, but barely played down the stretch or in the postseason. With bigs like Greg Monroe and Spencer Hawes exercising player options to return, and Thon Maker poised for a larger role, Henson may be expendable.
Of course, a trade won’t be easy. The Bucks would likely have to attach a first-round pick to convince another club to take on Henson’s contract, which has a cap hit of $11.4MM this season. For comparison’s sake, the Raptors had to attach a first- and second-round pick to clear $11.8MM in salary in their DeMarre Carroll trade with the Nets — Toronto was in an over-the-tax position similar to Milwaukee’s.
There also aren’t many teams left with the cap flexibility to take on a contract as large as Henson’s. Brooklyn would be one possibility, and Philadelphia and Phoenix could be other options. However, the length of Henson’s contract, which runs through 2019/20, makes it more unappealing, even if his salary declines to $9.7MM by the final year of the deal.