The arrival of Mike Budenholzer is expected to make the Milwaukee Bucks a better team in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season. In the ESPN Summer Forecast, panelists predicted the Bucks to finish as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 47-35 win-loss record. However, in order to be considered as a legitimate title contender, the Bucks still need to make a huge upgrade on their roster.
According to Zach Lowe of ESPN, the Bucks are one of the NBA teams who called the Minnesota Timberwolves about trading for Jimmy Butler. In the proposed trade deal, Lowe suggested that the Bucks could send a trade package centered on Khris Middleton to the Timberwolves for Butler.
“The Bucks placed a courtesy ‘keep us in the loop’ call with Minnesota, sources say, and a package built around Khris Middleton (also set to be a free agent) and one future asset — a pick, Thon Maker, something — makes some sense. I just don’t see it. Milwaukee has a better chance retaining Middleton than they’d have with Butler.”
If the trade becomes a reality, it will definitely help both teams in filling up the needs to improve on their roster. The Bucks will finally have a legitimate NBA superstar that will play alongside the face of the franchise, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Despite his health issues, Butler is still considered as one of the best two-way players in the league. He will not only give the Bucks another reliable scoring option but also someone who can be tasked to defend the opposing team’s best player.
In 59 games he played with the Timberwolves last season, Butler averaged 22.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 2.0 steals on 47.4 percent shooting from the field and 35.0 percent from beyond the arc. A starting lineup featuring Eric Bledsoe, Malcolm Brogdon, Butler, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Brook Lopez will undeniably give the Bucks a strong chance of beating other Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Toronto Raptors in a best-of-seven series.
Meanwhile, in exchange for their disgruntled superstar, the Timberwolves will receive a player who can help them remain competitive in the deep Western Conference. When healthy, Khris Middleton can replicate Butler’s performance on the offensive end of the floor. In 82 games he played with the Bucks last season, Middleton averaged 20.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 1.5 steals on 46.6 percent shooting from the field and 35.9 percent from beyond the arc. With his experience playing alongside a younger superstar like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Middleton could be a better fit with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins.