In his latest piece for The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor takes a deep dive into the new-look Bucks, with a specific focus on their defense. As O’Connor outlines, Milwaukee has been one of the NBA’s best defensive teams in the 11 games since they acquired Eric Bledsoe, after ranking 29th to open the season.
Still, the Bucks’ recent schedule has been somewhat soft, and the club’s defensive rating takes a major hit when Bledsoe isn’t on the court. Adding another defensive stopper may help stabilize the lineup on that side of the ball and ensure that the club’s defensive improvements stick, O’Connor writes. Here’s more from the Ringer scribe on the Bucks and some of their possible targets:
- The Bucks are on the lookout for a big man, multiple NBA executives tell O’Connor. The team is also trying to create some cap flexibility by moving some of their pricier multiyear contracts, such as the ones signed by Mirza Teletovic, John Henson, and Matthew Dellavedova.
- One notable trade candidate who has been linked to the Bucks is DeAndre Jordan, and league executives expect the Clippers to listen to inquiries on the veteran center, per O’Connor.
- One complicating factor on Jordan is the fact that he doesn’t currently have an agent, but multiple execs and agents who spoke to O’Connor believe the Clippers center will end up signing with Rich Paul and Klutch Sports. If that happens before the trade deadline, Paul could get involved on any Jordan trade talks and influence where he lands. It’s worth noting that both the Bucks (Bledsoe) and Cavaliers (LeBron James, Tristan Thompson, and J.R. Smith), who have been cited as potential suitors for Jordan, have Klutch clients. (Update: Jordan has reportedly hired Jeff Schwartz of Excel Sports Management for representation.)
- Marc Gasol is another player who would make sense as a trade target for the Bucks, but three execs who talked to O’Connor don’t expect the Grizzlies to deal him. One of those execs suggested that even if Gasol were to request a trade, Memphis may wait until the offseason to make a move.