The Milwaukee Bucks won the 2021 NBA Finals, defeating the Phoenix Suns in six games. The team celebrated their first championship in 50 years but had to get going on their preparation to defend that title almost instantly.
The 2021 NBA Draft took place on July 29th and the Bucks made some moves. They traded their first-round pick earlier in the year to the Houston Rockets in the P.J. Tucker deal but did land some prospects.
They traded away the No. 31 selection they had received from the Rockets to the Indiana Pacers. In that deal, the Bucks acquired the draft rights to Sandro Mamukelashvili, the 54th pick in the draft out of Seton Hall and draft rights to Georgios Kalaitzakis, the 60th and final pick of the draft out of Greece. They received two more future second-round picks as well in the deal.
Neither of those players is likely to help the Bucks immediately but could offer something down the road. As for the 2021-22 season, Milwaukee will need some veterans to help fill out the roster.
Bryn Forbes and Bobby Portis both declined their player options, opting to enter unrestricted free agency. Tucker also had an expiring deal and will be a free agent.
Milwaukee could face some challenges in bringing them all back, so they may have to dip into the free-agent market to replace them. The team doesn’t have much cap space to use, but the allure of challenging for a title could be enough to draw some players in.
Here are three veterans that the Bucks should target in free agency this summer.
The Milwaukee Bucks aren’t going to be in the running for any of the top free-agent targets this offseason as their core is locked in. But, if they want to swing for the fences for a potential impact-free agent, they should target Victor Oladipo.
Oladipo is recovering from his second ruptured quadriceps tendon in three years, as he underwent surgery again this year after playing in only three games with the Miami Heat. He could be sidelined through December but would make for a great target for the Bucks.
Milwaukee would be afforded the chance to bring him along slowly as they have plenty of depth currently on the wings. Victor Oladipo wouldn’t have to return to the court until he is 100 percent healthy.
Upon his return, he could be worked slowly back into rotation minutes. There would be no pressure on him to produce right away as the Bucks are already one of the best teams in the NBA. Oladipo also wouldn’t be relied upon as a franchise cornerstone or savior, he would just be a rotation player for the defending champions.
If healthy, Victor Oladipo provides Milwaukee with another playmaker and slasher offensively that has experience carrying an offense. Defensively, he would give them yet another versatile weapon to deploy in multiple positions.