Trade Deadline Marathon: Day 8.2
WAS receives: E. Bledsoe, T. Maker, D. DiVincenzo, M. Brogdon, MIL 2023 First Round Pick, MIL 2023 Second Round Pick, DEN 2019 Second Round Pick (31-55 Protected)
MIL receives: B. Beal
In their quest to hoist their first championship banner since 1971, and in turn convince resident superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo to make Milwaukee his forever home, the Bucks are searching for any and all avenues of improvement. Despite their 29-12 record and league-leading Average Point Differential (9.1), the Milwaukee Bucks face stiff competition for the Larry O’Brien Trophy this season, both from its neighbouring contenders in the Eastern Conference and from whatever super-squad emerges out West.
Milwaukee faces a roster-building conundrum in the shape of Khris Middleton’s impending free agency (he has a $13 million player option for 2019-2020 that he will undoubtedly turn down in seeking a much larger, secured paycheque). They will be unable to keep Middleton (averaging 18/6/4 on splits of 44/38/85) if they re-sign Eric Bledsoe and Malcom Brogdon (two other rotation stalwarts that will soon be demanding new contracts).
The Washington Wizards, meanwhile, are a team toiling in mediocrity. The entire basketball world has been clamouring for them to aggressively reset their talented roster ever since John Wall’s decision to undergo season-ending surgery on his left Achilles tendon. Despite the obvious talent on the roster, the Wizards have been unable to achieve success in the post-season, and are due for a complete makeover.
With Wall’s value at an all-time low (and secured to one of the worst long-term contracts in the league), they cannot move him at this point in time. While Otto Porter Jr. might bag them a return significant enough to justify his departure, he is still young, and has both the requisite time and skill to prove the value of his own recently signed contract.
That leaves them with Beal, whose trade value has never been higher, and is therefore an ideal candidate to be moved by the deadline for an incredible return.
With this Beal trade, the Wizards land an enormous haul that positions them well for a roster reset, while remaining fairly competitive in the short term. Maker, Brogdon, and DiVincenzo are nice young pieces to build around and can fill out a playoff roster in a few years, while Bledsoe (averaging 15/5/5 in his age-29 season) can command their depleted backcourt in the present. The incoming picks add draft ammunition with which the Wizards can secure young prospects or package with Wall to expedite his departure.
Milwaukee circumvents their free-agency decision making via this trade, essentially committing themselves to a Big 3 of Beal, Middleton, and Antetokounmpo. They can roll out a starting five of George Hill-Bradley Beal-Khris Middleton-Giannis-Brook Lopez, while still being able to rely on reserves such as Tony Snell, Pat Connaughton, Sterling Brown, Ersan Ilyasova, and D.J. Wilson come playoff time. The Bucks would become prohibitive favourites to emerge from the Eastern Conference and surge into the NBA Finals.