On an eventful night as far as NBA transactions go, there was significant movement across the league – namely with the Milwaukee Bucks going all in to secure more firepower with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo still considering whether he’ll sign their super-max offer. Chris Paul has a new home in Phoenix, while Trevor Ariza returns to Houston and more besides.
Suns secure chris paul’s services from Thunder
Last week, the trade speculation returned surrounding Chris Paul’s future. He was happy to stay in Oklahoma and was purely letting the talk do its thing, when interviewed by multiple sources.
I wrote this piece saying a Suns trade was in the works and despite interest from elsewhere, it’s done: Paul will team up with Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton in Arizona this coming season.
Talk about cryptic…
Booker, a first-time All-Star in 2020, has been open about his desire to finally reach the postseason. Despite their monster 8-0 run in Orlando, other results saw them fall short. Paul was key for OKC as they pushed Houston all the way to a Game 7, so where do they go from here?
Unsurprisingly some players and fans will not be too happy with the deal. Most didn’t share their thoughts on social media like Ricky Rubio did, though:
There was a lot of surprise and frustration surrounding Kelly Oubre Jr’s future, with many Suns fans hoping he’d stay for at least another year – even though speculation hinted he wouldn’t.
Paul is Valley bound
Suns get Chris Paul and Abdel Nader
Thunder get Kelly Oubre Jr, Ricky Rubio, Ty Jerome, Jalen Lecque and 2022 first-round pick
Bucks’ brave signal of intent
After a disappointing 4-1 series defeat by Eastern Conference champions Miami Heat in the second-round of the 2020 playoffs, it was clear Milwaukee needed to strengthen their case if they were going to stay firmly ahead of the pack as far as the Giannis sweepstakes are concerned.
They’ve traded away five players with varying degrees of promise and ability to gain three back, though two are excellent shooting guards able to provide a more consistent scoring punch.
Jrue Holiday is lauded as the league’s best defensive guard and won the Teammate of the Year award over this past summer, while Bogdanovic averaged 15/3/3 in 29 minutes on a less-than-average Sacramento Kings team – with respectable shooting improvements in his third year.
Jrue’s production slowed down slightly in 2019-20, which was understandable as the New Orleans Pelicans had multiple new pieces who needed to mesh together: first-time All-Star Brandon Ingram, first-overall draft pick Zion Williamson and 2017 #2 pick Lonzo Ball just three.
He turned 30 in June, Bogdanovic is already 28 and Giannis’ All-Star teammate Khris Middleton turned 29 during their eight-seeding game stint in the Orlando bubble three months ago.
If ever there was a sign Milwaukee are all-in on keeping their franchise player long-term, this certainly shows that. They’ve relinquished plenty of quality assets to do so – George Hill was quietly among their best and most consistent players last season, particularly from deep range.
He led the league in 3PT% (46%) and contributed plenty, despite a largely second unit role from the substitutes’ bench. The same could be said for Donte DiVincenzo (23), a first-round pick (#17) during the 2018 draft who continues improving after injury issues disrupted his first NBA season.
Both have been traded in different directions to two Western Conference teams targeting an unlikely playoff push themselves – New Orleans and the Sacramento Kings. The trades in full:
Bucks to acquire Holiday for multiple picks
Bucks get Jrue Holiday and 2020 second-round pick (no.60)
Pelicans take Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, three R1 picks (2020, 2025, 2027) and two swap rights
Bucks to capture Bogdanovic via sign-and-trade
Bucks get Bogdan Bogdanovic and Justin James
Kings get Donte DiVincenzo, Ersan Ilyasova and DJ Wilson
There’s plenty to unpack and it seems too early to tell who won these deals but as you can tell by just looking at the trade information, Milwaukee gave up a lot to bolster their supporting cast.
Other deals are as follows:
Rockets earning picks as Covington joining West rival
Portland Trail Blazers get Robert Covington
Houston get Trevor Ariza*, 2020 first-round pick (no.16) and 2021 protected R1 pick
Since writing this story, Ariza has again been traded – this time to the Eastern Conference in a package to join the Detroit Pistons.
Nets acquire Brown for Musa and a pick
Brooklyn get Bruce Brown
Detroit Pistons get Dzanan Musa, 2021 second-round pick (via Toronto)
Lakers bolstering creative options with Schroder
Los Angeles Lakers get Dennis Schroder
Oklahoma City Thunder receive Danny Green, 2020 first-round pick (no.28)
Pictures’ source: Getty Images / indystar.com