Despite not making any major roster upgrades this summer, the Milwaukee Bucks are still considered as one of the top favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals next season. It’s definitely not a surprise at all since the Bucks currently have reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and most of the core players that helped them finish with the best regular-season record in 2018-19. However, the Bucks are expected to face tougher competition on their road to winning a championship, especially with the emergence of numerous powerhouse teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences.
The outcome of the 2019-20 NBA season would be vital for the Bucks as it could affect their chances of convincing Antetokounmpo to sign a massive contract extension next summer. If they don’t want Antetokounmpo to follow the footsteps of other NBA superstars, the Bucks should continue to find ways in improving their current roster. According to Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, one of the NBA players that the Bucks could target before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline is Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Since the blockbuster deal between the Thunder and the Rockets became official, rumors have continued to swirl around Paul. The veteran point guard may be expected to start the 2019-20 NBA season in Oklahoma City but with the Thunder heading into an inevitable rebuild, he’s clearly an odd fit on their roster. At this point in his career, Paul may be better off being traded to a legitimate title contender like the Bucks than wasting his remaining years in the NBA mentoring young players in Oklahoma City.
Though they are not one of the top favorite landing spots, Buckley believes that the Bucks are regarded as a “dark horse” destination for Chris Paul.
“Though rarely, if ever, mentioned in the Chris Paul sweepstakes, Milwaukee has reasons to be considered a dark horse. This club could use a third shot-creator to slot alongside Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, and Paul’s career 37.0 three-point percentage would help him add value off the ball. Not to mention, putting Paul with George Hill would give the Bucks last season’s top two finishers in defensive real plus-minus at point guard, per ESPN. This would also make Milwaukee an active participant in the nearly Association-wide arms race.”
Paul may already be on the downside of his NBA career, but his potential arrival would still enable the Bucks to create a real “Big Three” with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton. Though he’s older, Paul is still a better point guard than Eric Bledsoe, giving the Bucks a very reliable scorer and three-point shooter. In the proposed trade deal by Bleacher Report, the Bucks would be sending a trade package including Eric Bledsoe, Ersan Ilyasova, Robin Lopez, D.J. Wilson, and Donte DiVincenzo to the Thunder in exchange for Paul and a 2020 first-round pick.
If the trade becomes a reality, it would not only be beneficial for the Bucks but also for the Thunder. Aside from successfully unloading Chris Paul and his massive contract, the Thunder would be acquiring two young and promising talents in Wilson and DiVincenzo, who could be part of the next title-contending team that they will try to build in the post-Russell Westbrook era.