Back by the popular demand of pretty much only myself, it’s the second annual edition of Around the NBA in 15 Trades. We’re taking all 30 teams in the lead up to the Feb. 7 trade deadline and finding a happy middle ground for prosperous barterdom.
The Milwaukee Bucks currently own the best record in the NBA. The addition of Mike Budenholzer as head coach drew out their potential and pulled them into the conference’s elite. Giannis Antetokounmpo is an MVP frontrunner and balled out so much this year he even grabbed the attention of Barack Obama.
This might be the scariest Bucks team since guys named Alcindor and Robertson brought them a championship. #FearTheDeer.
Sacramento’s also experiencing an uprising of sorts. As of Jan. 26, they sit at 25-24, a revelation considering the Kings haven’t finished a season above .500 since 2005-06. For historical perspective, Mike Bibby, Peja Stojakovic, Metta World Peace, and Brad Miller headlined that team. For the arithmetically declined, it’s been 13 years of ineptitude since.
If they continue developing and adding the right pieces, the future shines brightly in California’s capital.
SF, Justin Jackson; 2020 2nd round pick
C, Thon Maker
Why the Bucks do it:
Thon maker wants out of Milwaukee for a destination where he’ll get more playing time. His role dwindled to 11.7 minutes per game, down from 16.7 last season. That’s the wrong trend for someone considered a unicorn not even two years ago.
Perhaps Russell Westbrook dunking Maker into an alternate dimension is the reason for the fall off. Regardless, he’s playing behind guys like Ersan Ilyasova and D.J. Wilson. If Maker’s not part of their future, Milwaukee should grant his wishes.
Grabbing a second round pick and Justin Jackson — a former ACC Player of the Year and someone who could be a solid backup forward — along with a second-rounder wouldn’t be a bad haul.
Why the Kings do it:
For Sacramento to make leaps in improvement, these are the types of swings they need to take. Jackson is a line drive single while Maker has the upside of being a bases-clearing double in the gap.
The Kings can add Maker to the ring of young players they’re building a core around (assuming Maker’s actually 21). If they give him the playing time he wants and he cashes in on his towering potential, Sacramento would take a massive step in becoming a legitimate team again.
After 13 seasons in the wilderness, the Kings are finding their way. The cost of a rotation forward and a second rounder would be well worth a season and a half of Maker to find out if he’s a unicorn or just a horse with a fake horn tied to its head.