After falling short of their goals in the 2020 postseason, the Milwaukee Bucks are in a state of flux as they determine how they can make their team better this offseason.
Among a number of rumors and trade suggestions, Danny Cunningham of Complex proposed a deal for the Bucks that could pair Giannis Antetokounmpo with 9x All-Star, Russell Westbrook
“Is Westbrook a perfect fit in Milwaukee? Absolutely not. He’s not a great shooter from the outside and not a great defender, either. But what Westbrook does represent is Milwaukee going all in on winning this year with Giannis Antetokounmpo. This offseason Antetokounmpo has the opportunity to sign a supermax extension with the Bucks, and if he doesn’t he will become a free agent next summer. The Bucks need to exhaust everything in their power to win a championship in 2021, and if they don’t it could mean bad news for their hopes of retaining the two-time MVP.”
Westbrook, who turns 32 this November, is coming off a very complicated season with the Rockets. He averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7 assists per game on 47% shooting — great statistical numbers that prove his capabilities on the offensive end. Unfortunately, his shooting limitations, questionable decision making, and poor defensive efforts got exposed in the playoffs and the Rockets were unable to make very much noise when it mattered most.
In Milwaukee, one has to wonder if those same flaws will lead to similar results.
Still, if you’re the Bucks, it might be worth the risk for the sake of proving to Giannis you’re serious about surrounding him with All-NBA level talent, especially if they’re able to keep Khris Middleton.
In Houston, so long as they have James they’ll always be relevant in the West. Though they wouldn’t get a star back in this scenario, a return of Eric Bledsoe, Ersan Ilyasova, the Lopez brothers, and a 2020 first-round pick would be enough to keep them afloat and help replenish some of the assets they lost in the trades they made last season.
The Rockets are able to get off a chunk of Westbrook’s money and grab a first-round pick in the process of doing it, which is a win for the front office. Brook Lopez is going to cost a bit more than Houston would probably like, but he does have value if the Rockets wanted to flip him. Eric Bledsoe’s contract isn’t a very good one right now, but Houston should go into next season with an outlook similar to that of Oklahoma City with Chris Paul last season. If he has a great year and that contract becomes one year shorter, he suddenly has a positive value.
As, arguably, the best long-distance shooting big in the league, Brook Lopez would be an ideal fit next to James Harden and would also add some size to a roster that desperately needs it. The addition of Bledsoe, Robin, and Ilyasova would add much-needed depth.
In the end, nobody knows what is in store for these teams this offseason, only that it’s a certainty they make some big splashes on the trade market. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out.