The Milwaukee Bucks have wrapped up about a quarter of the 2023-24 NBA season, and something feels…off. Despite a 15-7 record, good enough for second in the Eastern Conference, a future trade could be in the cards.
When Adrian Griffin was hired as the head coach, he made it clear he wanted his team to pressure the ball, force turnovers and attack in the open court. However, according to Cleaning the Glass, Milwaukee ranks 26th in opponent turnover percentage and 25th in the frequency of their transition possessions.
Griffin’s primary issue has been trying to build an aggressive defense with a roster that doesn’t have the personnel to implement his philosophy successfully. A trade could better mold the Bucks into Griffin’s vision. If that’s the case, here’s a ranking, starting with number one, of the 13 best players who are both attainable and potentially available in December.
A ranking of the 13 best potentially attainable trade assets for the Milwaukee Bucks following their first 20-plus games of the NBA season.
I’ll admit, Caruso is the most unattainable player on this list due to the Chicago Bulls’ reported asking price (two first-rounders) and how many contenders want his services. Although I think the Bulls’ front office is delusional to ask for that much in return, there’s no denying Caruso’s game-changing defensive abilities. He’d be the perfect fit in Milwaukee, starting alongside Damian Lillard and kicking Malik Beasley to the bench. His addition would solve a ton of issues for the Bucks.
Smart had long-tormented Bucks fans in Boston, but there’s no denying his defensive chops. He can guard 1-4 and do it at an elite level. He’d be a great locker-room guy who could quickly flip the Bucks’ defensive woes.
The Brooklyn Nets are worth monitoring, as they have a plethora of potential trade candidates if they decide to build for the future. O’Neal and Finney-Smith bless this list, but they have a few other trade candidates on their roster as well.
Quickley’s relationship with the New York Knicks appears to be souring quickly (pun intended). He’s not the defensive stopper the Bucks need, but he’d be an excellent fit for them long-term. He’s only 24 years old and has gotten better every single year. He’b be a tremendous injection of youth and athletics into an aging Bucks’ roster.
The Bucks don’t necessarily need a backup point guard, but players like Mitchell and Carter appear because of their defensive ability and rumored availability.
Wouldn’t it be ironic if the Bucks traded for Holiday just months after trading away his brother? Holiday isn’t an offensive threat, but would bring a great defensive wing to Milwaukee’s current roster.