It’s typically what happens every year when a franchise is no longer in-season. However, for the Bucks, this particular offseason is unlike any other. There’s a sense of urgency in Milwaukee and it’s for a very good reason.
This winter, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo will be entering the final year of his whopping four-year, $100 million contract. His future with the Bucks hangs in the balance. Within the next few weeks, Bucks general manager Jon Horst will do everything in his power to bring in talented guys who will make his team better, this much we know.
Still, to keep The Greek Freak around he needs to make a significant splash. Horst has to reel in a star. Free agency is out of the question, the Bucks do not own their first-round pick in next week’s NBA Draft and outside of Antetokounmpo and All-Star shooting guard Khris Middleton – who, for the right deal, could be dealt – they don’t have a whole lot of tradable contracts.
Horst is going to have to get creative but here are two point guards the Bucks should have on their radar this offseason and how Milwaukee can acquire one via trade.
1. Chris Paul
Thunder Get: Khris Middleton, George Hill
Bucks Get: Chris Paul
One of the most-discussed players destined for a change of scenery is also a future Hall of Fame point guard who some consider one of the greatest to ever play in the NBA. Adding Chris Paul to the mix would not only bolster Milwaukee’s offense with a versatile score-first facilitator but he would also give the league’s best defense another scary weapon in the backcourt.
But to gain a great asset the Bucks much part ways with another and in this case that asset is their sharpshooter in Middleton. On paper, this isn’t a landslide victory in favor of the Bucks, however, in the long run; this precursor could be what ultimately keeps Antetokounmpo in town.
It’s difficult to put a price on veteran leadership, especially when we’re discussing Hall of Fame talent and when it comes to Paul; he’s a vocal force that Giannis and the Bucks desperately need right now. With Paul, who’s under contract through 2022, steering the ship, and a new wave of shooters in Pat Connaughton and Donte DiVincenzo taking on an increased role, you’ll surprisingly see a similar winning percentage (.767) at the end of the 2021 season.
2. Russell Westbrook
Rockets Get: Khris Middleton, Eran Ilyasova, D.J. Wilson
Bucks Get: Russell Westbrook, Ben McLemore
Whelp, matters between Russell Westbrook and the Rockets escalated quickly in Houston but don’t let that discourage you from trading for a perennial All-Star point guard, Horst. Also, try not to magnify Westbrook’s ugly performance in the bubble. Things got weird.
However, months of isolation and forced quality time with newfound teammates can take a toll on anyone; just ask Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George. It wasn’t easy but if Westbrook saw everything he needed to know about playing for the Rockets and isn’t feeling it, Milwaukee would be foolish to not make an offer.
These opportunities don’t always present themselves this way and the clock is ticking. For the first time in his career, Antetokounmpo would have a teammate who’s capable of scoring 30+ points on any given night, can close out a game if he needs him to, and will be playing in a weaker Eastern Conference, where Westbrook’s shooting number could skyrocket.
Coming off of the best scoring season of his career, he averaged 27.2 points while shooting at a 47.2% clip from the floor this year. Westbrook, 31, also has a lot to prove to his critics and I think his approach to the upcoming season will be unlike any other if he’s granted a new opportunity to compete for a title in Milwaukee.
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