The Milwaukee Bucks had a busy first day of NBA free agency. The team re-signed fan-favorite Bobby Portis on a four-year deal worth $49 million. In addition, the Bucks agreed to contracts with veteran guards Jevon Carter and Wesley Matthews, bringing them in for the second consecutive year.
Finally, Milwaukee used their tax payer mid-level exception (TPMLE) to sign forward Joe Ingles to a one-year contract worth $6.5 million. As exciting as these moves were for the team, there is still work to do if their goal is to get back to the NBA Finals.
Reviewing Milwaukee Bucks moves thus far in 2022 offseason
As is the case with all NBA teams, Milwaukee had a busy offseason before NBA free agency even began. In the weeks following the 2021-22 NBA season, the Bucks had two players (Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Pat Connaughton) with options and decided to exercise them and return to the team for 2022-23.
Of course, the Bucks added three players on draft night as well. The team used the 24th pick in the 2022 NBA Draft to select MarJon Beauchamp of the G League Ignite. Milwaukee also traded for the 58th overall pick to select Hugo Besson from France. Finally, the Bucks signed Iverson Molinar as an undrafted free agent following the draft.
3 best remaining Milwaukee Bucks offseason moves
As important as all of these moves are, the Bucks must do more to return to the NBA Finals. The issue is that the Bucks are already in the luxury tax, limiting their options in the free-agent market. That being said, there are three moves Milwaukee should make after the first day of NBA free agency.
Retain Jordan Nwora
Jordan Nwora is a restricted free agent and, therefore, a player Milwaukee could easily bring back despite being in the luxury tax. A second-round pick by the Bucks in 2020, Nwora is a raw talent that oftentimes is frustrating to watch. However, he also has the potential to be a dynamic scorer and three-point shooter.
In two seasons, Nwora is averaging 7.2 points per game while shooting 42/37/81 from the floor. Joe Ingles averaged 7.2 points on 40/35/77 last season shooting and may still miss significant time due to recovery from a torn ACL. Retaining Nwora despite the growing pains just makes sense for the team.
Trade George Hill
The re-signing of Jevon Carter gives the Bucks s a solid backup point guard behind starter Jrue Holiday. That role was supposed to be George Hill’s, but his poor play last season contributed to the team’s early playoff loss. Hill shot just 30% from behind the three-point arc last season, easily the worst mark of his career. He was also a liability on defense and could not create shots for himself. The fact that coach Mike Budenholzer played him over Carter in the Boston series is still baffling.
With a 2022-23 salary of about $4 million, Hill could be combined with another player (Grayson Allen, perhaps) to bring in a more consistent scorer. Milwaukee has several young players with the Wisconsin Herd that are capable of filling in as third-string point guards if need be.
3. Sign one more veteran for the minimum
Milwaukee can sign one more player using the veteran minimum. Given the current makeup of the roster, it might be wise to get a backup center. Two of the better options for the Bucks are two players that previously played for them: DeMarcus Cousins and Robin Lopez.
Cousins played in 17 games for the Bucks last season and averaged 9.1 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Despite his short tenure, he was an immediate fan favorite in Milwaukee. However, after he was waived by the team, Cousins revealed that he was not thrilled with how his time in Milwaukee came to an end.
Robin Lopez is the brother of Bucks’ starting center Brook Lopez. The former Lopez played with Milwaukee during the 2019-20 season. He averaged 5.4 points and 2.4 rebounds per game in his lone season with the Bucks. Lopez played for the Orlando Magic last season and averaged 7.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.