Giannis Antetokounmpo wanted the Bucks to add Bogdan Bogdanovic. So, of course, Milwaukee tried to oblige its superstar who’s eligible for a super-max contract extension. The Bucks and Kings even reportedly agreed to a sign-and-trade for Bogdanovic.
Then, suddenly, the deal was off.
Because the NBA, which is investigating the involved teams for tampering, quietly vetoed the impending transaction? Or because someone in the purported agreement – Milwaukee, Sacramento, Bogdanovic – backed out?
It seems the Bucks’ other big move – trading Eric Bledsoe, George Hill and picks to the Pelicans for Jrue Holiday – didn’t sit well with Bogdanovic.
Sam Amick of The Athletic:
When the Holiday move happened, that ripple effect was this: Bogdanovic then became, for all intents and purposes, a fourth option, which my reporting had beared out that he wasn’t necessarily feeling that. And then secondly, the money – I don’t know the specific numbers – but the money was impacted potentially in terms of once they got Holiday what they could offer Bogdan. And it seems as if whatever agreement was in place before – and Bogdan’s camp certainly, all the way through, said there was never an agreement from him. But he was talking to Giannis on a fairly routine basis. Giannis pushed very hard, wanted Bogdan on that team. As an aside – and I mentioned George Hill a second ago – I was told that George Hill had been recruiting Bogdan before the Holiday trade. And there was a little bit of a sense of, “Wait a minute, man. I thought I was coming to play with you. What happened here?”
What a disaster for the Bucks. Unless Antetokounmpo signs his extension anyway, which he might. But this is an awful development as he mulls his decision.
Acquiring Bogdanovic in a sign-and-trade would’ve hard-capped Milwaukee. Holiday’s contract includes significant unlikely incentives – which count toward the hard cap. The hard cap is hard. No matter how unlikely those incentives are, the Bucks couldn’t have even the potential of exceeding the hard cap. That limits the money left for Bogdanovic.
Did Milwaukee not properly count Holiday’s unlikely incentives, which don’t count toward the salary cap but do count the hard cap? That’d be a colossal blunder. But this is also the team that seemingly screwed up Pat Connaughton‘s contract.
It’s also understandable Bogdanovic would hesitate to play with Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Holiday. Maybe the Bucks felt Bogdanovic should accept a lesser role for the good of the team. But that’s the type of thing to run by the the free agent you’re making an under-the-table preemptive agreement with before assuming he’ll follow through.
Bogdanovic was a coveted player, as shown by the four-year, $72 million offer sheet he signed with the Hawks. He didn’t have to settle for whatever money and role Milwaukee offered.
I suspect Bogdanovic would’ve gotten over not playing with George Hill, a respected veteran but still a marginal player. Some of this appears to be laying it on thick.
But the major consequences still fall on the Bucks. They tempted their superstar with the player addition he wanted then bungled it just before he decides on his super-max extension.