Milwaukee Bucks general manager Jon Horst recently joined Eric Nehm of The Athletic for a wide-ranging interview. Amid their discussion, Nehm asked Horst about Milwaukee's decision to trade Malcolm Brogdon to the Indiana Pacers.
Prior to this year's draft, Horst stated that the Bucks were willing to enter the luxury tax threshold to compete for a championship in the coming season. Letting Brogdon go, however, seems to go against that philosophy.
Trading Brogdon allowed the Bucks to save some money, but Horst says the decision wasn't based solely on financial concern:
The Athletic: Before the draft, you said this ownership group is willing to pay the luxury tax for a team that can compete for a championship. By not retaining a restricted free agent (in Brogdon) who would have helped you compete for a championship, it appears that may not be true. How did avoiding the luxury tax play into this decision?
Horst: I would say the luxury tax was only part of the consideration for not matching or not being willing to pay Malcolm the market that he was able to get from Indiana. Whether or not he had that market from anywhere else besides Indiana, I don’t know. The decision on Malcolm was much more about our internal evaluations, the roster fit, the ability to be flexible and have options going forward and just building a team that, as I always say, can sustain success over a long period. And we decided that that contract or a contract in that range vs. the assets we were able to acquire, that we’d go with the assets that we were able to acquire and be more willing to talk about a sign-and-trade versus matching an offer that would potentially be in that range.
So, for us, I think the luxury tax was part of it, but as I said a few weeks ago, this is an ownership group that is willing to invest the resources necessary to win a championship. There is nothing that will prevent us from a mechanism standpoint that will keep us from being a luxury tax team or even a significant luxury tax team at some point in the build of this team over the next five to seven years. Not saying that that is a goal. I don’t think it’s a goal to spend as much money as we can, but we have the flexibility and the options with some of the picks we acquired, with some of the valuable contracts I think we’ve created.
We love the group that we have right now. We feel very confident in the group we have right now. It’s a great place to be and to have a team that we think can be a top team in the conference, one of the best teams in the NBA and not be a luxury tax team at this point. So, I think it’s a great spot to be in, but it’s not that we have to be in that spot.
The Bucks extended Brogdon a qualifying offer on June 29, making him a restricted free agent. However, less than one month later, he was on his way to the Pacers by way of a sign-and-trade.
Brogdon, now 26 years of age, enjoyed a fine 2018-19 campaign. In 64 regular season appearances with the Bucks (all starts), the former University of Virginia standout racked up averages of 15.6 points on 50.5 percent shooting from the field (42.6 percent from beyond the arc), 4.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 28.6 minutes per outing.