Bucks ‘Keeping a Close Eye’ on $90 Million Wing: Report

De'Andre Hunter

Getty De'Andre Hunter

Entering February 2, the Milwaukee Bucks have started the season 32-16. That’s good for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference. Still, the Bucks want more help. Hoops Wire’s Sam Amico reported that one player the Bucks have targeted is Atlanta Hawks wing De’Andre Hunter.

“Milwaukee has also been keeping a close eye on Hawks guard/forward De’Andre Hunter ahead of the deadline, sources told Hoops Wire,” Amico wrote in a February 2 story.

Hunter is in the first year of a four-year, $90 million contract. In 25 games with the Hawks, Hunter has averaged 14.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 0.8 steals. He’s also shooting 40.3% from three. The Hawks owe him $20 million for the 2023-24 season. For the Bucks to acquire him without messing with their starting lineup would require Bobby Portis and Pat Connaughton.

The Hawks also may want some assets in exchange for Hunter. That’s something the Bucks may not be able to provide since they’ve exhausted their assets getting Jrue Holiday and then Damian Lillard.

De’Andre Hunter Among Available Hawks: Report

Whether the Bucks can afford to trade for De’Andre Hunter or not, Yahoo Sports Jake Fischer reported that the Hawks will be active before the deadline as sellers. Among the Hawks’ players available for trade is Hunter himself.

“The remaining trade deadline activity, to this point, is expected to focus on nearby cities Atlanta and Charlotte,” Fischer reported in a February 2 story. “The Hawks continue to be described by rival executives as the most active and aggressive team in the marketplace, motivated to discuss the majority of its veteran players, highlighted by All-Star guard Dejounte Murray — arguably the best player known to be available. Elsewhere on the roster, Atlanta has held its most notable discussions on Clint Capela, De’Andre Hunter, and AJ Griffin, according to league sources, dating back to the offseason.”

The Hawks are 21-27. They are the No. 10 seed in the Eastern Conference, which would qualify them for the play-in if the season ended today. However, they acquired Murray in 2022 hoping to be a better team than how they’ve performed with him. Because the experiment has more or less failed, they are now going back to the drawing board.

Things have fallen off the rails for them ever since they faced the Bucks in the 2021 Eastern Conference Finals.

Bucks Called About Marcus Smart: Report

In Fischer’s same report, he reported that the Bucks have called about former Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart. However, the Memphis Grizzlies have signaled that Smart is not available.

“While several clubs — including the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers, sources said — have phoned Memphis about obtaining defensive stalwart Marcus Smart, the Grizzlies have shut down any overtures for the veteran guard, sources said.”

Between De’Andre Hunter and Marcus Smart, it’s clear the Bucks want more defensive-oriented personnel. However, it’s far from guaranteed that they can make a deal since, again, they’re out of first-round picks to offer. If they are willing to part with some of their more well-known players, then they could theoretically get better defenders, but that would depend on who they would be willing to trade.

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