The Milwaukee Bucks have the same goal as always heading into 2024: win the NBA Finals. Their quest to capture a second ring during the Giannis Antetokounmpo era led to a massive shakeup this past offseason that sent out Jrue Holiday to acquire Damian Lillard.
So far, that deal’s worked out pretty well for Milwaukee, which is No. 2 in the Eastern Conference and just trails Holiday’s new team, the Boston Celtics.
No matter what happens this year, the Bucks are sure to make some changes on the margins to best prepare this core to contend. With that in mind, here are the most likely players to leave town in 2024.
Bucks Most Likely Gone in 2024
1. Pat Connaughton
With a clear-cut, highly paid core consisting of Antetokounmpo, Lillard, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, Milwaukee doesn’t have a ton of flexibility when it comes to filling out its roster. That’s made getting contributions from players on modest contracts, like guard/small forward Pat Connaughton, essential to competing.
However, Connaughton’s continued decline puts him on the chopping block for this Finals hopeful.
The Notre Dame Product has seen his PPG, minutes and 3-point percentage each trend downward since his career year in 2021. The latter is the biggest concern, considering he’s supposed to be one of this squad’s reliable floor-spacers to open things up for Antetokounmpo.
Connaughton is the kind of smart player who makes an impact beyond the box score, but his drop-off in production chips away at his standing as one of this team’s top reserves.
In order to add better complementary talent at this point, parting with Connaughton (two years, around $19 million guaranteed remaining on his deal after this year) or Bobby Portis (two years, about $26 million remaining) will likely be necessary. Most would prefer to keep Portis' more consistent offensive output, which makes Connaughton the obvious trade bait.
Milwaukee could sell teams on how he helped the Bucks win the NBA title, his 3-and-D contributions in a bigger role, and his moderate pay. It’d be no surprise at all if his name pops up around this year’s trade deadline.