Milwaukee Bucks notebook: Trade deadline, Serge Ibaka, and spare parts

The Milwaukee Bucks are entering the 2023 NBA trade deadline riding an eight-game win streak and looking better than ever.

Khris Middleton has returned the last eight games, and, although he’s still ramping up, has provided an excellent spark off the bench. He’s opening up the game for his teammates and making it easier for everyone involved (except for opposing defenses).

Meanwhile, general manager Jon Horst has to decide what to do at the deadline. As we not so patiently wait for any moves, here are some thoughts I have about the Bucks.

The Milwaukee Bucks have some decisions to make about the 2023 NBA trade deadline, including how to move veteran Serge Ibaka.

Serge Ibaka

The Ibaka acquisition continues to be unproductive for either party. After barely playing last season after being acquired at the trade deadline, he re-signed in the offseason for the same role. However, he’s now unhappy, presumably for not playing very much, and has requested a trade. I’m not sure what he was expecting to be different.

Ibaka has only appeared in 16 games for the Bucks and hasn’t played since January 1st. He wants a change of scenery and Milwaukee is motivated to make that happen. The Athletic’s John Hollinger reports the Bucks could save close to $10 million in tax and salary by shipping him to another team AND including $2 million in cash. That’s motivation enough for ownership to ensure Horst trades him. I say it’s only a matter of time until he’s dealt.

Bobby Portis

As soon as Middleton returned, Portis went out. The Sixth Man of the Year candidate has missed the last seven games due to an MCL sprain in his right knee, but he should be returning soon. Adrian Wojnarowski initially reported he’d be out for at least two weeks. Wednesday marks two weeks so I’m sure Mike Budenholzer will give a detailed and transparent injury update with specific timelines for his return (that’s the sarcasm font, in case you missed it).

Spare Parts

Milwaukee is trying to trade a bunch of spare parts to upgrade the roster. That combination includes Jordan Nwora, George Hill, Ibaka and second-round picks. That’s a bold strategy and one I often use in NBA2K. I hope it pays off in real life.

Jae Crowder

Speaking of spare parts, the Bucks have reportedly offered that exact combination of players to the Suns for Crowder. Phoenix is smartly holding out for a better deal, but it doesn’t look like one has come yet. I’d be happy to make that deal (with a maximum of two second-rounders) for Crowder. He’d be a nice addition to Grayson Allen on the wing and a much better option than replacing the sharpshooter.

Bojan Bogdanovic

Yahoo Sports Jake Fischer also just linked the Bucks to Bogdanovic, a confusing move to say the least. His salary ($19.4 million this year) doesn’t match very easily with what Milwaukee can offer. Detroit also wants at least one unprotected first-round selection for the veteran. I’d avoid the deal it would take to make this move happen.

Derrick Rose

What is going on here? This is where you have to call bologna on some of the rumors out there. Marc Stein reported the Bucks expressed interest in Rose ahead of the trade deadline. For starters, Rose makes $14.5 million this year, making any deal for him very complex from the matching salaries standpoint. Secondly, he’s not very good anymore. Thirdly, he has a complicated past that makes him difficult to root for. No thanks.