Victor Oladipo is now linked in various trade rumors. Some are unrealistic while others are rooted in reality. For the Milwaukee Bucks, though, this is a move the franchise needs to think about. More on that in a second.
There’s no point in denying that the Milwaukee Bucks are a piece and a half away from being a championship caliber squad. And, they have been for the past few seasons. Even after back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo being the dominant force that he is for the past few seasons, the Bucks have only gone as far the Conference Finals.
In the hopes of switching things up and potentially beefing their backcourt, the Bucks have come out as a surprise contender to land one of the hottest names in the free agency market – Indiana Pacers’ Victor Oladipo. Though Oladipo isn’t a piece and a half, he has proven that he can be a solid addition to any team. Him joining Giannis and swingman Khris Middleton could form a potentially scary medium three in Milwaukee that could give the Miami Heat and the rest of the Eastern Conference a run for their money.
But, do the Bucks have what it takes to legitimately pursue the two-time All-Star? Let’s take a look on three of the best trades Milwaukee can offer to Indiana for Victor Oladipo. It should be noted, while one person is named in the subheading, there’s more moving parts than just the single current member of the Bucks.
3. Robin Lopez
Journeyman Robin Lopez is seemingly on his way out of Milwaukee after just one year with the Bucks. As a solid reserve player coming off the bench, Lopez wasn’t able to really shine and prove his worth as a backup to his twin brother Brook. His production plummeted during the 2019-2020 playoffs as he was only able to play in just three games for Milwaukee. In just a total of 20 minutes, Lopez was a non-factor which pushed the coaching staff to simply move on and leave him on the bench to watch the Bucks put on a disappointing show against the Heat.
But, the 32-year old still has a lot of good years ahead of him and a team like the Pacers could find a good use for a solid option off the bench. As a 12-year veteran in the league, Lopez could also provide enough experience to help mentor the Pacers’ young frontcourt tandem of Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner. And, if you add another valuable piece like up and coming Donte DiVincenzo into the mix, this deal might end up being a win-win for both parties involved. An experienced back-up big and a young shooter in exchange of Victor Oladipo who clearly wants out might do some good for the Pacers.
2. George Hill
If Robin Lopez proves to be too small of name for the Pacers to even consider trade talks for Dipo, then the Bucks’ next option might have to be point guard George Hill. Hill, another seasoned vet, should be a considerable option for the Pacers which can be a viable option for them moving forward. With the imminent departure of Oladipo, the point guard duties will be solely given to Malcolm Brogdon and having a reliable back-up like Hill could be good for Brogdon.
Hill has proven in his time in the league that he’s more than willing to come off the bench but still be able to provide some much needed court stability every time he gets called up. The Indiana-native has also been a reliable shooter and even led the league in three-point shooting percentage last season (46%).
Since a Hill-Oladipo might not be a like-for-like deal, the Bucks might again have to throw in DiVincenzo into the package which should make the trade attractive enough for the Pacers to ponder on.
1. Eric Bledsoe
The shiniest piece the Bucks can offer to the Pacers would be none other than Eric Bledsoe. The stocky old point guard is undeniably the biggest trading asset of Milwaukee coming into free agency and his expensive contract might just further convince the Bucks front office that it may be time to move on from the 30-year old.
Bledsoe has been huge for Milwaukee since coming in from the Phoenix Suns in 2017. He has managed to start all his games for the Bucks and has been the pilot for the Bucks’ offense for the past few seasons. Sadly, with Bledsoe controlling the ship, Milwaukee has gone nowhere and a change of scenery might be beneficial for him at this point of his career.
If he does end up coming to Indiana, Bledsoe will get a chance to team up again with Brogdon and give Indiana some much-needed teeth in the defensive end. Bledsoe and Brogdon also spent some time together in Milwaukee as backcourt partners in 2017. Both point guards are known for their defense and having them both manning the backcourt with a guy like Myles Turner waiting in the paint could make Indiana one scary defensive team. Though their previous partnership only got them as far as a first-round playoff appearance, familiarity could prove to be pivotal if they want to some fluidity and grit in their backcourt.