The Milwaukee Bucks want to trade Eric Bledsoe, according to Kevin O’Connor. Bledsoe has proven to be an underwhelming postseason performer, and the Bucks are desperate to show themselves as legitimate title contenders to Giannis Antetokounmpo.
This is an offseason when Antetokounmpo can sign the supermax. An offseason that could define the short, medium and long-term future of the Bucks. O’Connor’s reporting suggests a big move is coming.
Per O’Connor, the Bucks have interest in Houston Rockets duo Robert Covington and P.J. Tucker. Covington is one of the most desirable trade assets around, a three-and-D wing who can slot alongside any star. Tucker could space the floor for Giannis and guard anyone.
A Bledsoe for Covington and Tucker trade works, but it doesn’t make much sense. The Bucks need more ball handling rather than less, and why would the Rockets take Bledsoe? Houston would surely ask for picks in such a trade, and maybe try to take Donte DiVincenzo.
Covington and Tucker can both fit on the Bucks, but they shouldn’t be what the Bucks are looking for in a Bledsoe trade. Ersan Ilyasova‘s salary could be used to get Tucker if that’s an avenue Milwaukee wants to explore.
The same names come up in Bucks trade rumours. Chris Paul, Victor Oladipo and Jrue Holiday were all suggested as targets in a Bledsoe trade by Behind The Buck Pass. Each proposed trade involves another asset or two (either DiVincenzo or picks). Even then, it might be optimistic to assume any of those teams would want Bledsoe.
The Pacers have seen what a Malcolm Brogdon and Bledsoe backcourt looks like. Oklahoma City have Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as their future point guard. Bledsoe would take the ball out of his hands. New Orleans have ball handlers in Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram – Bledsoe’s so-so three-point shooting doesn’t fit well with Zion Williamson.
Milwaukee should be swinging big for a player of that calibre. The question is about Bledsoe’s trade value. He’s still an elite defensive player, and a decent secondary playmaker, but teams will wince at that contract. Bledsoe celebrates his 31st birthday next month – he’s under contract through 2022-23, owed nearly $20 million in the final year.
Maybe Milwaukee can get Oladipo by sending Robin Lopez, George Hill and Donte DiVincenzo. Bledsoe’s trade value is minimal – his salary would be useful in a trade for a big contract like Paul’s, but even then, teams are committing to several more seasons at a sizeable number.
If the Bucks are desperate to get off Bledsoe’s deal, could they tempt the Hornets could swap him for Terry Rozier? While it’s unclear if that would make Milwaukee better, it’s a trade that could happen. That might be closer to where Bledsoe’s value is, rather than using him to get an All-Star calibre player.
Perhaps a call with Sam Presti doesn’t get anywhere for Paul, but Dennis Schroeder could be a good fit. The salaries match straight up, though it’s again dependent on Presti being willing to take Bledsoe’s remaining years without wanting further assets for the expense.
The dream scenario is the Raptors re-tooling and putting Kyle Lowry on the market. Strangely, though, Masai Ujiri picking the current roster apart is more likely if Antetokounmpo commits to the Bucks long-term. Bledsoe, D.J. Wilson and Robin Lopez gets the salaries right, but Ujiri would surely ask for DiVincenzo and/or picks.
Bledsoe is still a good player, particularly in the regular season. That has value, but the length of his contract is a problem. Trading Bledsoe and getting players in return who make the current team better will not be easy.