By: Bill Tewes
One of the first major trade rumors of the 2016 NBA Draft involves none other than the Milwaukee Bucks and shooting guard Khris Middleton. Boston Celtics GM Danny Ainge is kicking the tires on a potential trade that would send their 3rd overall pick as well as their 16th pick in this years’ draft and an expiring contract for Middleton and our 10th. Hoopshype tweeted Charles Gardner on John Hammond’s reaction to this rumor:
This trade would be highly problematic for Milwaukee. The issue here, is that outside of the first two picks (which barring a catastrophic change of heart, will be Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram) there is no real guarantee that the Bucks will get a player they can groom into a star.
Khris Middleton has made major strides since being drafted in the second round of the 2012 draft by the Detroit Pistons. The Milwaukee Bucks got a steal by trading an underwhelming Brandon Jennings to get Brandon Knight and Khris Middleton. Middleton has become an incredible two way player for Milwaukee and easily their best defender. The Bucks would have to be less than thrilled with Middleton’s progression as a potential leader for this team in order to cut ties with a budding star to take a gamble on an unknown at 3rd overall.
I think it would be another huge mistake in a long line of mistakes that Bucks management has made over the years, by trading players before we can see what they truly offer. While the 3rd overall pick is certainly intriguing, I’m not certain it is worth giving up on Middleton and the chemistry he brings to the table.
Ainge knows Middleton’s value and the Boston Celtics desire a dynamic scorer that can help them win now. Adam McGee of Behindthebuckpass.com stressed Middleton’s importance to this team by noting his relatively cheap contract and that he lead the league in steals post All-star break. As of right now, Middleton is really the only player on this roster that can consistently knock down the three and it would be difficult to replace that production of an established two way player with a rookie if we trade away Middleton.
When the dust settles from all of these rumors and we get to draft night, I cannot see the Milwaukee Bucks parting with a key piece of our current Big 3. But seeing as how the Bucks have made some big splashes via the trade market, I could very well be in for a shock Thursday night.