The Milwaukee Bucks’ current situation with Giannis Antetokounmpo is eerily similar to the Cleveland Cavaliers’ situation in 2009 with LeBron James. Let’s quickly review some history:
The Heat matched up well with the Bucks and booted them out of the playoffs. The Magic matched up well with the Cavs in 2009 and booted them out of the playoffs.
The Cavaliers committed themselves to finding their reigning 24-year old MVP help that offseason, so they… traded for a a 37-year old Shaquille O’Neal. Yup.
The Bucks have committed themselves to finding their reigning 25-year old MVP help this offseason. What they do is still to be determined. We just know it probably won’t be trading for Chris Paul.
The Bucks reportedly had interest in Paul, who is coming off an All-Star season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, but The Athletic’s Eric Nehm reports that there isn’t really much there. He’s just too expensive for them.
“As for the reported prospect of the Bucks pursuing Oklahoma City point guard Chris Paul as a possible solution to the roster deficiencies, sources with knowledge of ownership’s thinking said it is highly unlikely. The cost of bringing him aboard — Paul is owed $41.3 million next season and has a player option worth $44.2 million in the 2021-22 campaign — and the potential difficulty of bringing Paul onto a roster already led by a strong personality in Antetokounmpo seems to limit the chances of the Bucks moving to pair the two All-Stars. All indications are that the Bucks would rather look elsewhere.”
Whew boy. Here we go again.
Look, there are good reasons to not trade for Chris Paul. It all starts with his age — he’s 35-years old. It’s hard to tell if he’ll be able to repeat his All-Star performance again. There’s also a question of what they’d have to give up to get him.
But Chris Paul being too expensive is absolutely not a good reason for Milwaukee not to trade for him. If they can make the salaries work to get another All-Star next to Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, they should absolutely do it.
This is exactly what the Cavaliers did with LeBron James. They refused to spend whatever it took to get James help. They refused to trade whatever it took to bring in another star. It sounds like the Bucks might be doing the same thing – and it could cost them Antetokounmpo in the long run.
Hopefully, the Bucks don’t make the same mistake. If they do, Antetokounmpo’s days in Milwaukee may be numbered.