Yesterday the Bucks traded Miles Plumlee to Charlotte for Spencer Hawes and Roy Hibbert. Steve Novak was cut as part of it to free up roster space (maybe we’ll see him as a coach?).
The trade itself is not really worth getting into too deep. Hibbert can’t play anymore and Hawes is a “stretch 5” currently shooting 27% on wide open 3’s. They won’t likely help the team. More than likely, they just give some options when the Thon/Moose rotation doesn’t work (due to defense, foul trouble, etc.).
What’s good about it though, is that it fixes a disaster of a signing from the summer. Miles getting 4 years $50 million deal when seemingly nobody was offering him anything on that same continent was terrible. He shows flashes of usefulness when he can roll to the rim and occassionally make some athletic blocks, but he can only do that. If he doesn’t roll, teams can just trap the ball handler and kill the offense. Also, 4 years, $50 million.
So Hibbert is on a one year deal. Hawes has a $6 million player option for next year. Hopefully he shows signs of usefulness so he can be encouraged to opt out.
After this move, here’s what the salary situation is like going forward.
Reminder, the cap is projected at $102 million for 2017/18. So if Moose/Hawes opt in, the Bucks won’t be able to sign free agents.
The best case is Moose & Hawes both opt out, leaving the team with about $82 million on the books for nine players. That would leave the team some room to sign a few low level free agents plus their rookies.
There’s also the Jabari Parker situation. Parker has been a mess lately, but still is likely to get a max extension (since there’s a new CBA, he’s much less likely to get the Giannis style near-max).
We don’t have any reliable info (at least I don’t) on the salary cap for 2018/19 and beyond, so I just threw in a $25million figure for the first year of a likely Jabari extension. Also including some estimated rookie deals. Here’s what we get.
I left Tony Snell out, but I assume he’ll get signed and that could add another $5-8 million per year.
They also have a Middleton deal coming after next year, since he’ll likely opt out if he’s playing like his old self. Expect that $13 million number to go up.
So even with this move and even with the Moose contract being up after next year (if not sooner), the Bucks likely do not have any cap room going forward. Part of that is the reality of having a team with three all-star caliber players. But part of it is their own doing. The Delly contract still bothers me. They couldn’t have predicted Brogdon being this good, but here we are. We don’t know if he’ll develop enough to be the primary point guard, but if he does we’ll have $61 million committed to two bench players over the next three years (Henson and Delly). Next year alone there is $31.8 to Henson, Dellavedova, Teletovic. Over the last 15 games that trio combined is averaging 55 minutes per game. That’s a lot of money tied up to guys who only play part-time.
Going into this year, it would be easy to think that it would be 2018 and beyond to really be worried about. And it is, but the early part of this season may have accelerated the timeline a bit. With Middleton back and healthy (knock on wood), this team could be pretty serious next season. They played like a 4 seed for much of this year, still have a positive net rating (for now… it’s at 0.2) and are just behind the Thunder with a -0.3 point differential. That’s after losing 9 of their last 10 in pretty embarrassing fashion.
So let’s say the Bucks legitimately compete next year. By that, I mean they are going for home court in a playoff series and have a good shot at winning a round. They’ll expect to keep climbing from there and giving the ages of Giannis & Jabari, 2018/19 would be the year to make the big step forward, contend for an East finals (and a TON can change, but think about it, the Cavs may not be the Cavs, Lowry & the Raptors could be broken up or at least much older, the Celtics… who knows). You’d like to add pieces to support that push. But it looks like they won’t have any hope of doing that unless they’re able to unload more contracts before next year’s trade deadline.
This doesn’t even get into what all this means for Kidd. I assume his extension gives him safety. But the defense continues to be a disaster, the offense can’t put together multiple games of competency, and they just traded away his guy (Miles) after giving him what I can only assume was a contract that Kidd pushed for (and don’t forget, another Kidd guy in Vaughn flat out can’t play). I don’t think he’s on the hot seat, but with so little room to maneuver and the prime-Giannis era fast approaching, the Bucks are going to want to get this figured out fast.
I’d imagine more is to come.