- Bogdan Bogdanovic was Giannis Antetokounmpo’s “preferred addition” of the offseason.
- The Bucks traded for Bogdanovic but the transaction was botched after tampering allegations.
- Milwaukee has added Bobby Portis and Torrey Craig after that failed trade.
The Bucks’ master plan to make Antetokounmpo stay in Milwaukee may have taken a hit after the team’s botched move to trade for restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic from the Sacramento Kings.
Milwaukee was one of the busiest teams when the league’s moratorium on transactions was lifted last November 16th. First, the Bucks announced the acquisition of Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans. Shortly after, they announced a trade that would’ve send Bogdanovic to Milwaukee for Donte DeVincenzo, D.J. Wilson, and Ersan Illyasova.
The reports said that the teams had agreed in principle to that deal and Bogdanovic wanted to play for the Bucks because he is friends with Giannis Antetokounmpo and the two envisioned playing together in the NBA. However, since Bogdanovic was a restricted free agent, the Bucks were not allowed to contact him or his representatives until November 20th. There were no indications that they did, but the league launched a tampering investigation based on reports from rival teams.
Milwaukee ended up waiving Illyasova who was needed in the trade for salary matching purposes. With Illyasova gone, the trade was basically dead and Bogdanovic ended up signing a $72M offer sheet from the Atlanta Hawks which the Kings didn’t match. While the Hawks got a big fish, the Bucks came out empty-handed. And according to a report from BleacherReport, this failed trade may have shook up the Bucks’ effort to keep their two-time MVP.
Bogdan was Giannis’ “preferred addition” this offseason.
He admired the European’s toughness and swagger and viewed him as someone you “could go to war with in the postseason.”
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 26, 2020
Bogdanovic was supposedly Antetokounmpo’s preferred addition during the offseason. It can be recalled that after the Bucks were eliminated from the playoffs, rumors of Antetokounmpo leaving Milwaukee started to come forward. But Giannis shut down those talks, telling reporters that he’d rather plow right through a wall rather than go to another direction.
Last month, Giannis changed tones and said that his decision to stay or leave the Bucks will depend on the team making the “right decisions”. Obviously, he meant that Milwaukee needed to make the right upgrades so that he can have a better team around him. Not that the Bucks don’t becauseMilwaukee has been the best regular season team in the NBA during the last two seasons. However, they have not shown the fortitude to succeed in the playoffs.
According to the BleacherReport article, Giannis viewed Bogdanovic as someone that he “could go to war with in the playoffs”. Antetokounmpo isn’t just friends with Bogdanovic. The Greek Freak is also a fan of the Serbian basketball star’s toughness and swagger and you can’t blame him.
Bogdan Bogdanovic earns the NBA Rising Stars Challenge MVP after finishing with 26 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 1 steal in Team World’s 155-124 victory over Team USA. pic.twitter.com/KxU5GRgysD
— TSN (@TSN_Sports) February 17, 2018
Bogdanovic’s star has been on the rise since he was drafted 27th overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2014 NBA Draft. The Serbian national team mainstay didn’t join the league until 2017. Prior to his arrival in the United States, Bogdanovic set Europe on fire with his brilliance.
After winning Serbian league titles from 2011-2014, he played for Fenerbache and led the team to two Turkish League titles. He led the team to the 2017 Euroleague title and won Finals MVP honors just before setting foot in the NBA. He was named to the 2018 NBA All-Rookie second team and was the MVP of the 2018 Rising Stars Challenge.
Bogdanovic played a limited role during the 2018-19 season because he was rehabilitating from a slight medial meniscus tear he suffered the previous campaign. Last season was his contract year and he averaged 15.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game. Bogdanovic entered the offseason as one of the top free agents.
Bucks Moving On
Almost THAT time. pic.twitter.com/qDSqw7IYGJ
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) November 27, 2020
Since that bungled deal, the Bucks have moved on and added forwards Bobby Portis and Torrey Craig to their fold. Overall, the Bucks have made several moves that are aimed at making the team better. However, whether these additions will help them get over the hump next season remains to be seen.
The Giannis Antetokounmpo situation is the most monitored in the league right now. The Bucks hope that they made the right moves to make their superstar stay. Their rivals are waiting for them to make a mistake. Its not clear right now if the failure to sign Bogdanovic is viewed as an error by Giannis himself. But it also remains to be seen if he will sign a contract extension this season.
LeBron James asked for Anthony Davis and he got AD. They are coming off their first title together. James Harden asked for Tyron Lue to be their next coach. The Rockets hired Stephen Silas and now Harden wants to be traded. Giannis is not LeBron or Harden and his character is built differently from the two. However, this is an era in the NBA where superstars act like GMs to fast track their championship aspirations. Milwaukee can only wait to know if they have done enough to keep their star.