We’ll now be watching a new-look Milwaukee Bucks squad, at least to some extent. While the team’s trade to acquire George Hill from the Cleveland Cavaliers wasn’t earth-shattering, it was still a big move for a variety of reasons. It not only added some additional depth in the form of a reliable veteran guard but helps clear up some cap space in the near future as well.
While the deal added Hill, it also brought Washington Wizards veteran forward Jason Smith, along with a 2021 second-round pick. In exchange, the Bucks sent guard Matthew Dellavedova, center John Henson, and 2021 first- and second-round picks to the Cavaliers. The Wizards picked up Sam Dekker in the deal while swapping second-round picks with Cleveland.
As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst detailed, a key aspect is that the Bucks could save roughly $19 million next season if they don’t keep Hill. This is due to the one year remaining on both Dellavedova and Henson’s contracts. There was quite a bit to take in from the trade, and we’ll break down the Bucks’ new-look roster.
Milwaukee Bucks Roster & Starting Lineup After Trade
C: Brook Lopez*, Jason Smith, Thon Maker
PF: Giannis Antetokounmpo*, Ersan Ilyasova, D.J. Wilson, Christian Wood
SF: Khris Middleton*, Tony Snell, Sterling Brown
SG: Malcolm Brogdon*, Pat Connaughton, Donte DiVincenzo, Jaylen Morris
PG: Eric Bledsoe*, George Hill, Trevon Duval
It’ll be interesting to see how the Bucks deploy their new-look lineup, but it’s expected that Hill will handle the backup point guard duties. The 32-year-old has played in 13 games this season for the Cavaliers and averages 10.8 points, 2.8 assists and 2.1 rebounds while shooting 51.4 percent from the field.
The Bucks have a solid amount of depth and obviously felt comfortable making this deal and sticking with the core above, at least for the time being. It also helps the longterm outlook for Milwaukee and could give them a chance to retain one or two of their key free agents in the 2019 offseason. Eric Bledsoe, Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon are among the players set to potentially hit the open mark.
One other topic worth monitoring for the Bucks will be how they utilize their big men. Ersan Ilyasova is one of the first forwards off the bench, but Thon Maker has seen very sporadic playing time this season. Although he’s averaging 5.3 points per game (a career best), it’s come over just 12.4 minutes, down from the 16.7 he averaged last season. There’s a chance the addition of Smith could lead to Maker getting the backup center minutes which Henson previously played.