After making a splash for guard Jrue Holiday, the Bucks continued their offseason makeover by agreeing to a sign-and-trade for Kings swingman Bogdan Bogdanović, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Milwaukee will reportedly send Donte Divencenzo, D.J. Wilson, and Ersan Ilyasova to Sacramento and also receive Justin James to complete the deal. As required by rules for sign-and-trade deals, Bogdanovic’s contract will be at least three years in length. Bogdanovic was set to become a restricted free agent this summer before the trade. Let’s grade the deal for each side.
Divencenzo is a solid player on a rookie deal, but Bogdanovic is an upgrade and should be a key part of Milwaukee’s new starting lineup. In Bogdanovic, the Bucks are acquiring a lethal shooter—37.5% on threes last season, including 40.7% on catch-and-shoot attempts—as well as a capable defender who won’t cost Milwaukee its identity. The Bucks’ new-look starting five of Holiday, Bogdanović, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez is a clear step up over last year’s group. For a team that needed to make significant changes after a disappointing playoff exit, Milwaukee has done a good job infusing talent without giving up any great players.
There is, however, another side to this trade. Acquiring Bogdanovic in a sign-and-trade means Milwaukee is hard capped for the rest of the season. Functionally, that means outside of the starting five, James, and Giannis’s brother Thanasis, the Bucks will have to fill out the roster exclusively with minimum contracts to stay under their salary limit. Are the Bucks confident they can attract enough ring-hungry veterans to round out the rotation? There weren’t necessarily better options available for the Bucks, but the Bogdanović trade has locked their roster construction in an interesting way.
The Kings took a huge step back last season after looking like an upstart at the end of 2019. Now Bogdanović is gone, and while Divencenzo is a fine rotation piece, he has a much lower ceiling than the player he was dealt for. Couple the loss of Bogdanović with Buddy Hield’s growing dissatisfaction, and it looks like the Kings’ brief ray of sunshine was nothing more than a mirage. I’m no general manager ... but what’s the plan here? Is it to win? Is there going to be another rebuild? How do you not get a better piece in return for Bogdanović? Why not match an offer sheet for him and shop the already disgruntled Hield instead? Somebody please make the Kings make sense. When De’Aaron Fox wants out one day and thrives on a competent team, remember how mind-numbing this trade was.