The Milwaukee Bucks quickly pivoted in free agency to shore up their depth, but the Bogdan Bogdanovic saga still haunted over their moves this offseason.
It was far from graceful at times, but the Milwaukee Bucks’ moves in free agency have quieted down from over the weekend and less than a month out to the start of the 2020-21 season.
There’s no question the Bucks had to pivot from their original grand plans in light of their blockbuster addition of Jrue Holiday and looking to shore up the top end of their roster around their cornerstones. Those plans changed in light of their unsuccessful pursuit of Bogdan Bogdanovic amid plenty of questions and now with an ongoing tampering investigation lurking in the background.
That provided the messy backdrop with which the Bucks had to fall back to their ‘Plan B’ of reshaping their roster after moving on from Bogdanovic.
There was the matter of retaining Pat Connaughton on a three-year deal, the lone Bucks free agent to have been retained by Milwaukee so far this offseason.
There have also been the free agent additions between D.J. Augustin, Torrey Craig, Bryn Forbes and Bobby Portis, all of which will reshape the Bucks’ bench. And that goes along with the Bucks’ pair of second round selections through the draft, Sam Merrill and Jordan Nwora.
Certainly, the Bucks have been as aggressive as they can be in terms of not running it back following their dismal showing in the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat and with Giannis Antetokounmpo keeping his cards close to the vest with his supermax extension.
Just as was the case with Malcolm Brogdon last season, the pursuit of Bogdan Bogdanovic will linger over the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2020-21 season.
Under any scenario that Bucks fans had been preparing for going into the start of the trade season and the offseason, coming away with someone like Holiday would have left the fanbase over the moon for the future, even at the exorbitant price the Bucks paid. That may look better if Holiday were to extend and Antetokounmpo ends speculation by signing his supermax extension before the 2020-21 season starts.
Yet how the sordid Bogdanovic saga played out has certainly left a sour taste behind, especially when it was very possible the Bucks had assembled the most talented five-man unit in franchise history under that potential foundation.
Under all intents and purposes, Milwaukee thought as big as they could have to ensure their title hopes and signaling to Antetokounmpo to stay long-term. That may very well still happen after landing someone like Holiday, but the fact that the two-time MVP had been reportedly been recruiting Bogdanovic to come to Milwaukee as The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Eric Nehm ($$) reported late last week adds a layer to all of the intrigue swirling around Antetokounmpo.
There’s a reason why Bogdanovic was worth practically what had been left of the Bucks’ depth at the time and they would have been hard pressed in being able to patch together a quality bench unit. The latter is certainly a first world problem for a team like the Bucks that had no choice but to roll the dice with the future of the franchise at stake with Antetokounmpo’s decision.
Now, the Bucks have recovered, albeit after stumbling around for some time there, and have replenished their depth as they could have after churning over their roster and nearly parting ways with their lone piece of the future, Donte DiVincenzo. Meanwhile, Bogdanovic’s fate will soon be revealed after signing a four-year, $72 million offer sheet with the Atlanta Hawks, which the Sacramento Kings will have to match to keep him in Sacramento.
Will it all prove to be as successful had the Bucks being able to land Bogdanovic in the end? Time will tell, but the Bucks’ grand plans being dashed by an unseemly set of circumstances leaves them with quite the ‘What if?’ scenario at such a critical point in the franchise’s trajectory.