The deals to acquire both Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic took practically every asset the Bucks had left, but the team now projects to have one of the NBA’s best starting lineups, according to Eric Nehm of The Athletic, who notes that Milwaukee’s new additions will join Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Brook Lopez in the starting five.
As Nehm writes, the Bucks’ aggressive roster overhaul should eliminate any doubt that the franchise is serious about getting Antetokounmpo the help he needs to win a title. However, the acquisitions will leave the club hard-capped and with little flexibility to fill out the rest of the roster.
Because Holiday has a series of likely and unlikely bonuses that count toward the hard cap, the Bucks will probably be limited to minimum-salary contracts as they look to fill out their roster and keep team salary below $138,928,000, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
By my rough calculations, Milwaukee would have about $27.3MM in room below the hard cap to fit in Bogdanovic’s starting salary and minimum-salary contracts for seven players. That would get the Bucks to 14 players, not counting two-ways, though they could carry just 13 for parts of the season in order to create a little more cap flexibility.
Here’s more on the two deals the Bucks agreed to on Monday night:
- While former Kings general manager Vlade Divac likely would’ve been willing to match offers in the $15-18MM range for Bogdanovic, it was never clear how enthusiastic new GM Monte McNair was about retaining the swingman, whose camp signaled a “willingness to play hardball” with Kings management, writes Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee.
- The Pelicans‘ decision to move Holiday in a package that includes three first-round picks and a pair of pick swaps is the latest indication that the organization is prioritizing its long-term goals over shortcuts to contention, says Scott Kushner of NOLA.com. Even with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram on the brink of stardom, New Orleans is preaching patience and wants to build its roster through the draft, as Kushner explains.
- The Pelicans could theoretically flip Eric Bledsoe or George Hill to another team immediately after acquiring them, but they won’t be able to aggregate either player for salary-matching purposes until December 8, tweets Marks. Typically, there’s a two-month gap before a player can be aggregated, but that has been adjusted to account for the shortened offseason. For instance, the Thunder will be able to aggregate the players they acquired for Chris Paul as early as December 5, Marks notes (via Twitter).
- Speaking of Paul, the Bucks never engaged in any trade talks for the veteran point guard, according to Chris Mannix of SI.com (Twitter link).