Former Grizzlies: Kyle Korver (kind of)
Offseason in Review:
The fact that the Bucks are currently coming off one of the best seasons in the history of the franchise is little solace to most Bucks fans. A number one seed, the Coach of the Year, and Giannis Antetokounmpo winning the MVP over a certain bearded guard for the Rockets are bittersweet takeaways for a team that accomplished much, but not all that they wanted. This was a team with real championship aspirations and were up 2-0 over the eventual champion Raptors before they fell in six games.
A fun season full of big wins and major accomplishments turned into an offseason of real uncertainty for the Bucks. Major contributors Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Malcolm Brogdon were all up for new deals, with most expecting Middleton to command max money. All three guys got paid, but only two stayed in MKE, as Brogdon was traded to the Pacers and signed a lucrative 4 years, $85M deal. It was a big blow to the Bucks, but they just didn’t have the money to realistically keep all three guys. These are part of the struggles of being a small-market team (we can relate).
The Bucks stayed busy in the offseason, retooling around Giannis to gear up for another postseason run.
They signed Kyle Korver, who was a Grizzly for about five minutes after he was waived by the Suns as a result of the Josh Jackson trade. They also picked up Giannis’ older brother, Thanasis, with the hopes that he could be a solid three-and-D player. After his solid postseason performance, backup PG George Hill was rewarded with a new three-year deal. After re-signing Brook Lopez, the Bucks figured that twins must be twice as fun, because they went and added Brooks’ twin brother Robin Lopez as a backup big. All in all the Bucks had a big offseason focused on the goal of winning a championship.
The Bucks will perhaps be even more locked in than they were last year. After getting so close to the Finals, and now with Kawhi Leonard moving to Los Angeles, Milwaukee might be thinking that the Raptors have gone from the team to beat to somewhat of an afterthought. The Sixers figure to be good, and perhaps the Celtics too, but the rest of the East is so-so for now, especially with Kevin Durant out for the year. This could lead the Bucks to think that they are still the top dog out East, and having the reigning MVP and Coach of the Year certainly helps that line of thought.
As someone who lives in Wisconsin and follows the Bucks closely, believe me when I tell you that this is a team worth paying attention to. Expect big things in MKE this year.
Larry O’Brien trophy big.