Rumor: Bucks open to trading Eric Bledsoe
Only a year ago, the Bucks gave Bledsoe a four-year, $70 million deal, but several NBA executives believed that deal would make it easier to trade him at some point — something they could try again with weeks left before the Feb. 6 deadline.
“They would do that, definitely,’’ said an Eastern Conference executive when asked if he thought the Bucks would consider trading Bledsoe.
“Sure. Publicly, they (the Bucks) say all the right things about him but I know that’s not the case,” said a league player personnel director of the situation.
The Bucks reportedly had an interest in acquiring Dennis Smith Jr. last season, who had been rumored to be unhappy with the Dallas Mavericks after Luka Doncic soaked up a vast part of the ball-handling duties. The Mavs eventually bundled Smith alongside a few veterans to trade for Kristaps Porzingis, nixing any promise of a potential trade with Milwaukee.
Yet something that is stirring the Bucks toward this conversation is Bledsoe’s shaky perimeter shooting, something head coach Mike Budenholzer inherited at the start of last season. Bud is reportedly more comfortable with George Hill, a less imposing defender but a much better outside shooter than Bledsoe.
Hill is connecting on 53% of his triples this season, while Bledose is hitting them at a 35.4% clip — the best mark of his past five seasons. To add to that premise, Bud believes he can make second-year guard Donte DiVincenzo into a quality point guard, which only bolsters the prospect of trading Bledsoe with merely over two weeks left.
“Bud is really high on that kid,’’ a source close to the Bucks said of DiVincenzo.
The Villanova product is a natural shooting guard, but he has developed into a capable playmaker with an above-average defensive capability. While he’s hitting only 33.3% of his treys, he’s showing plenty of potential in clutch situations to gain the coach’s trust.
Furthermore, Eric Bledsoe’s playoff disappearing acts in recent years have been problematic, which could push the Bucks to make a deal despite his overall stellar play in 2019-20.