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#pounditSaturday, July 20, 2024

Bucks could trade one key starter this offseason?

The Milwaukee Bucks logo at center court

Mar 30, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; The Milwaukee Bucks logo on the floor prior to the game against the Phoenix Suns at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee won 105-94. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

With PJ Tucker and Jrue Holiday already wearing other jerseys, a third starter on the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2021 title team could be the next to go.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported this week that there are rumblings that the Bucks would like to play a more versatile style of defense next year. That, in turn, raises the question of whether center Brook Lopez will still have a future in Milwaukee, O’Connor adds.

The former All-Star Lopez has been a very important piece for the Bucks ever since arriving in 2018. As a seven-footer, his ability to space the floor for Giannis Antetokounmpo drives with his three-point shooting has been massive, and he remains one of the top interior defenders in the league as well (making an All-Defensive First Team in 2023).

But Lopez’s defensive impact is primarily confined to the paint as the anchor of the Bucks’ drop coverage scheme. That scheme has its limitations since it can concede quality looks to potent off-the-dribble scorers. The East has no shortage of those either as Jayson Tatum, Donovan Mitchell, Jalen Brunson, Tyrese Maxey, and Tyrese Haliburton are among those who fit that category.

Lopez is 36 years old now and doesn’t have the foot speed to switch onto the perimeter off the pick-and-roll, a skill that Milwaukee appears to be trying to pivot to. Entering the final year of his contract in 2024-25 as well, Lopez may now be a prime trade candidate for the Bucks. He did draw interest from a notable team in the West not too long ago.

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