Offseason In Review

2018 NBA Offseason In Review Series

Over the last month and a half, Hoops Rumors has been examining the 2018 offseason moves for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and other key news and transactions. Our Offseason in Review pieces for each of the league’s 30 teams are linked below, sorted by conference and division.


EASTERN CONFERENCE

Atlantic Division

Central Division

Southeast Division


WESTERN CONFERENCE

Northwest Division

Pacific Division

Southwest Division

2018 Offseason In Review: Golden State Warriors

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Golden State Warriors.

Signings:

  • Standard contracts:
    • Kevin Durant: Two years, $61.5MM. Second-year player option. Re-signed using Non-Bird rights.
    • DeMarcus Cousins: One year, $5.34MM. Signed using taxpayer mid-level exception.
    • Jonas Jerebko: One year, minimum salary. Signed using minimum salary exception.
    • Kevon Looney: One year, minimum salary. Re-signed using minimum salary exception.
  • Two-way contracts:
  • Non-guaranteed camp contracts:
    • Alfonzo McKinnie: Two years, minimum salary. Initially signed a one-year contract, which was converted into a two-way contract before he negotiated a new deal.
    • Will Cherry: One year, minimum salary (waived).
    • Deyonta Davis: One year, minimum salary (waived).
    • Danuel House: One year, minimum salary (waived).
    • Kendrick Nunn: One year, minimum salary (waived).
    • Tyler Ulis: One year, minimum salary (waived).

Trades:

  • None

Draft picks:

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

  • Signed head coach Steve Kerr to contract extension.
  • Hired Mike Dunleavy Jr. as pro scout.

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $145MM in salary.
  • Projected tax bill of $50.33MM.
  • No cap exceptions left besides minimum salary exception.

Check out the Golden State Warriors’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

For the defending champions, the summer was quite eventful, as several key role players were replaced and one big name was added. Of course, that big name is DeMarcus Cousins, the six-time All-Star. Cousins joins the Warriors as he continues to rehab from the torn Achilles that he suffered in January, which will likely keep him out of action for at least the first couple of months of the season.

When he returns, Cousins adds an interesting dynamic to a team that has cruised to back-to-back championships. Throughout this current run, the Warriors have never had a dominant forecourt presence like Cousins can be when healthy. Unlike more traditional back-to-the-basket bigs, Cousins fits with the Warriors’ style of play as someone who can handle the ball and hit 3-pointers. Before going down with the injury last season, Cousins was averaging 5.4 assists and was knocking down 2.2 threes per game.

While Cousins’ skill set fits with how the Warriors are looking to play, there are underlying concerns regarding his ability to accept a small role on a team that knows it can be successful without him. How will Cousins deal with not closing games if the Warriors go small? How does he manage a smaller workload when on the floor with Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and the team’s other All-Stars? The questions surrounding Cousins’ fit with the Warriors add another storyline to the season for the champions.

Underneath the flashy addition of Cousins, the Warriors replaced several role players from last season’s squad, with Jonas Jerebko absorbing frontcourt minutes and Jacob Evans potentially carving out a role in the backcourt. Gone are veterans such as David West, Nick Young and Zaza Pachulia as the Warriors re-tooled around their core.

However, there are still concerns regarding the team’s depth. Behind Curry and Klay Thompson are relatively unproven Quinn Cook, aging Shaun Livingston and the aforementioned Evans. On the wing there really is no depth behind Durant and Andre Iguodala, who will turn 35 years old in January. Up front there are several options to fill the gap until Cousins is ready, but inconsistency has continued to plague the young bigs on the roster.

Regardless, all eyes will be on Golden State when Cousins returns to action. By then, the Warriors may be on cruise control and have a firm grasp on the Western Conference. On the other hand, perhaps the lack of depth and motivation will have them closer to the pack as they approach the best ways to work Cousins into the mix. Regardless, it will surely make the regular season more interesting than it has been in previous years for the Warriors.

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2018 Offseason In Review: Minnesota Timberwolves

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Signings:

  • Standard contracts:
    • Anthony Tolliver: One year, $5.75MM. Signed using mid-level exception.
    • James Nunnally: Two years, minimum salary. First year partially guaranteed ($350K). Second year non-guaranteed. Signed using minimum salary exception.
    • Luol Deng: One year, minimum salary. Signed using minimum salary exception.
    • Derrick Rose: One year, minimum salary. Re-signed using minimum salary exception.
  • Two-way contracts:
  • Non-guaranteed camp contracts:

Trades:

  • None

Draft picks:

  • 1-20: Josh Okogie — Signed to rookie contract.
  • 2-48: Keita Bates-Diop — Signed to three-year, minimum salary contract. First two years guaranteed. Signed using minimum salary exception.

Extensions:

  • Karl-Anthony Towns — Signed five-year, maximum salary rookie scale extension. Starts at 25% of the cap. Projected value of $158.05MM. Starts in 2019/20.
    • Note: Starting salary will be worth 30% of the cap if Towns earns All-NBA honors in 2018/19 (projected value of $189.66MM).

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $121.2MM in salary.
  • Hard-capped at $129.82MM.
  • Approximately $2.05MM of mid-level exception available ($6.59MM used on Anthony Tolliver and Keita Bates-Diop).

Check out the Minnesota Timberwolves’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

Everything else that happened for the Timberwolves during the offseason was overshadowed on September 19 when Jimmy Butler issued a trade request to the front office. The move spawned a stream of chaos, some of it orchestrated and some of it legitimate, but the result was that Butler was in the lineup when Minnesota opened the season, regardless of his wishes.

Butler has expressed a desire to play for a contender and has clashed frequently with younger teammates Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, but ultimately the dispute is motivated by money. Butler wants a five-year max deal next summer that would pay him around $190MM. The Wolves have his Bird Rights and are the only team that can extend that offer as long as he stays; everyone else is limited to four years at roughly $140MM. Butler is hoping to be traded during the season to another organization willing to make that commitment.

The Heat and Rockets have been the strongest suitors for Butler since his trade request became public, and Miami reportedly had an agreement in place before the Wolves asked for additional assets. That incident, along with sky-high requests from other teams that pursued Butler, have led many to question whether Minnesota has ever been serious about making a deal. Trade talks have been called “mostly dormant” for now, but Butler has maintained his desire to leave and there’s a strong chance something will materialize before the February deadline.

The Butler soap opera dwarfed a piece of good news that may have a greater impact on the Wolves’ future. Towns agreed to an extension last month that could pay him up to $190MM over the next five seasons. He is already among the league’s best centers at age 22 and should provide a cornerstone for the franchise to build around once Butler is gone.

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2018 Offseason In Review: Phoenix Suns

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Phoenix Suns.

Signings:

  • Standard contracts:
    • Trevor Ariza: One year, $15MM. Signed using cap space.
    • Jamal Crawford: One year, minimum salary. Signed using minimum salary exception.
  • Two-way contracts:
    • None
  • Non-guaranteed camp contracts:

Trades:

Draft picks:

  • 1-1: Deandre Ayton — Signed to rookie contract.
  • 1-10: Mikal Bridges — Signed to rookie contract.
  • 2-31: Elie Okobo — Signed to four-year, $6.12MM contract. First two years guaranteed. Signed using cap space.
  • 2-46: De’Anthony Melton — Signed to two-year, $2.37MM contract. Fully guaranteed. Signed using room exception.
  • 2-59: George King — Signed to two-way contract.

Extensions:

  • Devin Booker — Signed five-year, maximum salary rookie scale extension. Starts at 25% of the cap. Projected value of $158.05MM. Starts in 2019/20.
    • Note: Starting salary will be worth 27.5% of the cap if Booker makes All-NBA Third Team, 28.5% for Second Team, and 30% for Third Team.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

Salary cap situation:

  • Used cap space; now over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $105.5MM in salary.
  • $3.5MM of room exception still available ($949K used on De’Anthony Melton).

Check out the Phoenix Suns’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

Devin Booker is still around. In fact, Booker signed a rookie scale max five-year extension this summer, which will make him a franchise cornerstone for years to come.

Beyond Booker and his sweet shooting stroke, the Suns look a whole lot different than they did last season. In fact, Phoenix had the biggest roster turnover of any team this offseason.

The Suns made some history in May by hiring Igor Koskokov, the first European-born head coach in NBA history. Koskokov spent 18 years in the league, most recently with the Jazz, before finally getting his big chance.

Draft night was guaranteed to be a pivotal moment in franchise history since the Suns had the top pick. They opted for center Deandre Ayton, who got his NBA career rolling with an 18-point, 10-rebound, 6-assist performance in his regular-season debut. Ayton could quickly develop into the one of the league’s premier big men, which would give the Suns a formidable inside-outside duo.

They swung a deal for another lottery pick, No. 10 selection Mikal Bridges, whom they project as their long-term solution at small forward. In the interim, Phoenix made a splash by signing Trevor Ariza to a one-year, $15MM contract.

Ariza’s contributions as a leader and winner will have a greater long-term impact than anything he does on the court this season. A sage, respected voice was needed in the locker room and they met Ariza’s price to provide it.

Ariza gave up a chance to play for a contender but he can re-enter the market next summer after cashing some big checks. He’ll put up some big numbers along the way and provide his usual solid defense, something the coaching staff can point out in the film room to the younger players.

Perhaps the most surprising personnel moves were made by owner Robert Sarver. During the latter stages of training camp, Sarver abruptly fired GM Ryan McDonough and several other executives. Typically, these types of decisions come right after a disappointing season rather than October in order to let the new regime shape the franchise as it sees fit. McDonough wasn’t going to win any popularity contests but the decisions he made this summer before clearing out his office will be felt for many years.

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2018 Offseason In Review: Boston Celtics

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Boston Celtics.

Signings:

  • Standard contracts:
    • Marcus Smart: Four years, $52MM. Includes likely incentives. Re-signed using Bird rights.
    • Aron Baynes: Two years, $10.65MM. Second-year player option. Re-signed using Non-Bird rights.
    • Jabari Bird: Two years, minimum salary. Second year non-guaranteed. Re-signed using minimum salary exception.
    • Brad Wanamaker: One year, minimum salary. Signed using minimum salary exception.
  • Two-way contracts:
  • Non-guaranteed camp contracts:

Trades:

Draft picks:

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $126.75MM in salary.
  • Projected tax bill of $6.03MM.
  • Full taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.34MM) still available.

Check out the Boston Celtics’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

During the 2016 and 2017 offseasons, no NBA team added more All-Stars to its roster than the Celtics, who signed Al Horford and Gordon Hayward before trading for Kyrie Irving. For good measure, the club used a pair of third overall picks to draft Jaylen Brown in 2016 and Jayson Tatum in 2017.

However, the Celtics never really got to see that five-man core in action during the 2017/18 season. Hayward went down with a gruesome season-ending ankle injury during the club’s first game of the year, and Irving’s season ended early due to knee issues.

For the Celtics then, the 2018 offseason wasn’t about going out and getting another All-Star — it was about making sure that their current ones got back to full health to see what the entire group looks like on the court.

Boston’s front office was hardly dormant during the summer of 2018. Restricted free agent negotiations with Marcus Smart were tough, Aron Baynes needed to be re-signed, and the team made a few other tweaks around the edges of its roster before also securing a verbal commitment from Irving, a 2019 free-agent-to-be.

However, the Celtics enter the 2018/19 as the Eastern Conference favorites not because of which players they added over the offseason, but rather because of which players they’re bringing back. With Hayward and Irving healthy and Tatum and Brown continuing to develop, this roster has far more upside than last year’s group, even without any significant changes.

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2018 Offseason In Review: Los Angeles Clippers

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Los Angeles Clippers.

Signings:

  • Standard contracts:
    • Avery Bradley: Two years, $24.96MM. Second year partially guaranteed ($2MM). Re-signed using Bird rights.
    • Montrezl Harrell: Two years, $12MM. Re-signed using Bird rights.
    • Luc Mbah a Moute: One year, $4.32MM. Signed using mid-level exception.
    • Mike Scott: One year, $4.32MM. Signed using mid-level exception.
    • Tyrone Wallace: Two years, $2.94MM. Partially guaranteed ($300K). Matched Pelicans’ offer sheet. Re-signed as restricted free agent using Non-Bird rights.
  • Two-way contracts:
  • Non-guaranteed camp contracts:

Trades:

Draft picks:

  • 1-11: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander — Signed to rookie contract.
  • 1-13: Jerome Robinson — Signed to rookie contract.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $119.6MM in salary.
  • Hard-capped at $129.82MM.
  • Full bi-annual exception ($3.38MM) still available.

Check out the Los Angeles Clippers’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

Armed with a pair of lottery picks and a desire to land a star player, the Clippers were the subject of a number of trade rumors this summer. Considering the Spurs wanted to acquire an impact scorer in any trade involving Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers were a realistic suitor, as they could have put together a package headlined by Tobias Harris. However, if they made a strong push for Leonard, that push ultimately fell short, with the Spurs sending the former Finals MVP to Toronto instead.

The Clippers explored ways to package their two late-lottery picks to move up in the draft, and multiple reports, both early and late in the pre-draft process, indicated that they had eyes for Luka Doncic. In the end, the franchise didn’t have enough ammunition to realistically move into the top three, and it was the Mavericks who traded up for Doncic.

While it’s possible that the Clippers were discouraged in the short term by their failed runs at impact players, the long-term outlook for the franchise remains promising. They may not have acquired any stars this summer, but by preserving cap room and other assets, the Clippers are well-positioned for 2019 to go after those top-tier targets, including at least one or two that they missed out on this year.

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2018 Offseason In Review: Houston Rockets

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Houston Rockets.

Signings:

  • Standard contracts:
    • Chris Paul: Four years, maximum salary ($159.73MM). Fourth-year player option. Re-signed using Bird rights.
    • Clint Capela: Five years, $87.5MM. Includes likely and unlikely incentives. Re-signed using Bird rights.
    • James Ennis: Two years, minimum salary. Second-year player option. Signed using minimum salary exception.
    • Carmelo Anthony: One year, minimum salary. Signed using minimum salary exception.
    • Gerald Green: One year, minimum salary. Re-signed using minimum salary exception.
    • Michael Carter-Williams: One year, minimum salary. Partially guaranteed for $1.2MM. Signed using minimum salary exception.
  • Two-way contracts:
  • Non-guaranteed camp contracts:

Trades:

Draft picks:

  • 1-52: Vince Edwards — Signed to two-way contract (converted from Exhibit 10 contract).

Draft-and-stash signings:

  • Isaiah Hartenstein (2017 draft; No. 43): Signed to three-year, minimum salary contract. First year guaranteed. Second year partially guaranteed for $708K. Signed using taxpayer mid-level exception.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

  • Exercised 2019/20 option on Mike D’Antoni‘s contract.
  • GM Daryl Morey rebuffed Sixers’ efforts to hire him.
  • Associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik announced retirement.

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $131.14MM in guaranteed salaries.
  • Projected tax bill of $14.66MM.
  • $4.5MM of taxpayer mid-level exception still available ($838K used on Isaiah Hartenstein).

Check out the Houston Rockets’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

It happened a year later than expected, but Carmelo Anthony is finally in Houston. He tried to get there for most of the summer of 2017, telling Knicks management that the Rockets were the only team he was willing to waive his no-trade clause to join. However, no deal could be worked out and Anthony expanded his list to include the Thunder shortly before training camps opened.

He never seemed fully comfortable in Oklahoma City, forming an awkward Big Three with Russell Westbrook and Paul George. His scoring averaged dipped to a career-low 16.2 points per night and he sat through the closing minutes of playoff games as OKC opted for a stronger defensive lineup.

An offseason trade to Atlanta and subsequent buyout cleared the final hurdles that kept him from Houston. Now Anthony is being asked to assume a reserve role and become a complementary shooter rather than a primary ball-handler. Playing alongside elite passers in James Harden and Chris Paul should provide plenty of open opportunities and help him improve on a shooting percentage that hit a career-low .404 in Oklahoma City.

Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni appreciates Anthony’s willingness to become a sixth man after starting all 1,054 of his previous games. “I know it’s not the ideal situation for him, because he’s a Hall of Famer and all that,” D’Antoni told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon (Twitter links). “I know it’s a big adjustment, but you know what? He’s true to his word. He said he’d do anything for the team. We think that’s best today. It might not be best later – we don’t know – but having him is something that we didn’t have last year. Obviously, it’s really good.”

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2018 Offseason In Review: Miami Heat

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Miami Heat.

Signings:

Trades:

  • None

Draft picks:

  • None

Contract extensions:

  • Justise Winslow: Signed three-year, $39MM extension. Third-year team option. Starts in 2019/20.

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $130MM in guaranteed salaries.
  • Projected tax bill of $9.72MM.
  • Full taxpayer mid-level exception ($5.34MM) still available.

Check out the Miami Heat’s full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

Although trade rumors surrounded players like Hassan Whiteside, Dion Waiters, and Tyler Johnson for much of the offseason, the Heat’s summer was ultimately a quiet one.

Pat Riley and his front office didn’t have any draft picks and didn’t make any trades. The only four NBA free agents the Heat signed (Wayne Ellington, Dwyane Wade, Udonis Haslem, and Derrick Jones) were under contract with the team last season, and of those four players, only one (Jones) will earn noticeably more than he did last season, getting a bump from a two-way contract to the NBA veteran’s minimum.

Given the Heat’s relative inactivity, it was a move that didn’t get made that turned out to be the story of the team’s summer — or, more accurately, the fall. When Jimmy Butler‘s trade request went public in September, Miami quickly emerged as his top suitor, reportedly dangling a package that included Josh Richardson, a protected first-round pick, and Waiters for the All-NBA swingman.

The Heat and Timberwolves appeared multiple times to be on the verge of a deal, even exchanging medical information on the players involved in the proposed swap. However, Tom Thibodeau and the Wolves reportedly got cold feet, and Butler remains in Minnesota with each team’s regular season schedule now set to get underway.

The Wolves know that Butler doesn’t plan to re-sign with them next season, meaning it’s virtually inevitable that a deal will happen before the 2019 deadline. If and when it does, the Heat are in prime position to be the team on the other end of that trade. If Miami can land Butler, it won’t technically be an offseason move, but it would represent a significant roster shakeup for a club that essentially stood pat over the summer.

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2018 Offseason In Review: Sacramento Kings

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Sacramento Kings.

Signings:

Trades:

  • Acquired either the Timberwolves’ or Lakers’ 2019 second-round pick (whichever is more favorable), the Heat’s 2021 second-round pick, and cash ($1.5MM) from the Trail Blazers in exchange for the draft rights to Gary Trent Jr. (No. 37 pick).
  • Acquired Ben McLemore, Deyonta Davis, the Grizzlies’ 2021 second-round pick, and cash ($1,544,951) from the Grizzlies in exchange for Garrett Temple.
    • Note: Davis was later waived.

Draft picks:

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

Salary cap situation:

  • Used cap space; still under the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $90.84MM in guaranteed salaries.
  • Slightly under $91.68MM salary floor.
  • Approximately $11.02MM in cap room still available.
  • Full room exception ($4.45MM) still available.

Check out the Sacramento Kings’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

Sacramento’s front office knew none of the top-level free agents would seriously consider signing with its downtrodden franchise. So it tried to make a big splurge in the restricted free agent market. The Kings made an offer to shooting guard Zach LaVine that they hoped the Bulls would refuse. Instead, Chicago bit the bullet and matched the offer sheet, denying the Kings a player they viewed as a difference maker.

LaVine played 24 games last season after recovering from an ACL tear, yet Sacramento was willing to give him a fully-guaranteed four-year contract worth $78MM. Sacramento figured it could pair up a prolific scorer with De’Aaron Fox, giving it a dynamic backcourt under team control for the next few seasons.

Once they lost their bet that the Bulls wouldn’t want to retain LaVine at that price, the Kings went the bargain basement route. They signed backup forward Nemanja Bjelica to a three-year contract worth a little over $20MM.

Bjelica landed in Sacramento under an odd set of circumstances. He entered the market as a restricted free agent but became unrestricted after the Timberwolves withdrew their qualifying offer. He then agreed to a one-year contract with the Sixers, only to back out of the agreement. It was originally presumed that Bjelica was headed to Europe.

Instead, the Kings swooped in with the multi-year deal that Bjelica had been seeking. He’ll get minutes at both forward spots with his ability to stretch the floor.

Bjelica established himself as a rotation player with Minnesota the past three seasons. He averaged 6.8 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 67 games last season, including 21 starts.

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2018 Offseason In Review: Milwaukee Bucks

Hoops Rumors is breaking down the 2018 offseason for all 30 NBA teams, revisiting the summer’s free agent signings, trades, draft picks, departures, and more. We’ll evaluate each team’s moves from the last several months and look ahead to what the 2018/19 season holds for all 30 franchises. Today, we’re focusing on the Milwaukee Bucks.

Signings:

Trades:

  • None

Draft picks:

Departing players:

Other offseason news:

Salary cap situation:

  • Remained over the cap.
  • Carrying approximately $113.9MM in guaranteed salaries.
  • Hard-capped at $129.82MM.
  • No cap exceptions left besides minimum salary exception.

Check out the Milwaukee Bucks’ full roster and depth chart at RosterResource.com.


Story of the summer:

When analyzing the most important offseason additions, one can’t overlook the change at head coach for the Bucks, who brought in Mike Budenholzer to replace Joe Prunty following Jason Kidd‘s in-season dismissal. Budenholzer established himself as one of the elite coaches in the league during his tenure with the Hawks, using a combination of ball movement, modern floor-spacing, and tough defense to win games.

Beyond the move to bring in Budenholzer as head coach, the Bucks went out and added two veterans who can space the floor and soak up frontcourt minutes around Giannis Antetokounmpo in Ersan Ilyasova and Brook Lopez. Ilyasova is coming off a season in which he averaged 10.9 points and 5.9 rebounds per game while knocking down 36% of his 3-pointers. Meanwhile Lopez is coming off a down year with the Lakers, but he still averaged 13 points and 4 rebounds per game while hitting 34.5% of his shots from beyond the arc.

Both players are tested veterans that can hit 3-pointers at a league average rate. Now Budenholzer has several options as he looks to space the floor for Antetokounmpo to attack the basket and find open teammates.

Lopez projects to round out the starting lineup alongside Eric Bledsoe, Tony Snell, Khris Middleton and Antetokounmpo. Such a lineup boasts several solid defenders, ball-handlers and shooters. While the Bucks have struggled defensively in recent seasons, they should be able to improve now that Budenholzer is running more traditional defensive schemes.

As the Bucks look to take a jump on that end of the floor, it will be their refined and improved offense that captivates on a nightly basis. After Milwaukee finished 25th in the league in 3-pointers attempted per game last season (24.7), that number jumped up to 40.3 attempts per game throughout the preseason, highlighting the club’s new emphasis on shooting and floor-spacing.

While other teams made big splashes in free agency, don’t let the Bucks fool you with their modest additions of Lopez and Ilyasova. Coupling those signings with the addition of Budenholzer as coach creates a recipe for a much-improved team on both ends of the floor.

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