DeAndre Jordan‘s change of heart has officially affected the Milwaukee Bucks.
After missing out on the Los Angeles Clippers free agent, the Dallas Mavericks have traded for Milwaukee Bucks center Zaza Pachulia for a future second-round pick, according to multiple reports. But given the price the Mavericks paid, it’s likely the Bucks would have traded Pachulia to another team if the spot didn’t open up in Dallas.
Sources say the Bucks had been trying to move Pachulia since beating out the Knicks and other teams for highly coveted free agent Greg Monroe.
In dumping both Pachulia and Dudley for basically nothing, the Bucks have taken a rather drastic step in guaranteeing minutes for younger players. Monroe, Henson, Plumlee, Jabari Parker, Giannis Antetokounmpo and potentially Damien Inglis are the players most likely to see increased playing time without the two veterans on the roster. Plumlee is the oldest in that group at 26-years-old and Monroe has the most NBA experience, heading into his sixth season.
Milwaukee must be confident that some of those players can take on a vocal leadership role. Along with O.J. Mayo, Pachulia and Dudley were seen as very strong leaders in Milwaukee’s locker room last season.
“I think I help them out defensively, putting them in the right places,” Dudley said of his younger teammates after Tuesday night’s win over the Knicks. “For me, those guys (Jabari, Giannis, young players in general), they gotta learn, so you gotta put them in the fire.”
In the fire they will go. But Milwaukee won’t only lose out on the leadership those two provided. They were actually pretty good! I wrote extensively about Pachulia when breaking down Monroe earlier this week, so I won’t rehash all of it here. Simply put, Pachulia was a very important cog in Milwaukee’s defense last season and seemed like an ideal mentor for Monroe. He also provided Milwaukee with terrific ball movement and some jump shooting from the center position.
Dudley’s season had its peaks and valleys, but his ability to transition to the power forward position at times and his 47% 3-point shooting in the month of December helped Milwaukee battle through a very difficult schedule and emerge on the other side around .500.
Pachulia is owed $5.25 million next season. Between trading him and Dudley, the Bucks have cleared $9.5 million in salary for next season, which allowed them to sign Monroe and re-sign Khris Middleton without exceeding the salary cap.
Since the Bucks re-signed Middleton already, they’ll take him into their cap space that was available/opened up rather than exceed the cap to sign him. Teams are allowed to exceed the salary cap to re-sign their own players in certain circumstances. Since the Bucks have already signed Middleton, they can’t fit more players in under the salary cap and then re-sign him. They won’t be able to exceed the salary cap to sign new free agents. As Frank Madden tweeted earlier today, this indicates they are virtually done in free agency.
Khris signing means Bucks don’t have any cap space, though they could’ve had ~$12 million if they delayed it. Clear sign they’re done w/FAs.
— Frank Madden (@brewhoop) July 10, 2015
They still could sign veterans minimum type free agents.
No word on whether or not the Bucks will refer to these future second-round picks as “own the” future second-round picks when discussing them in the months to come.