2021 is the year that Giannis Antetokounmpo is set to hit free agency. The Milwaukee Bucks are going to have to keep Giannis if they want to stay championship contenders. After a second round exit in the playoffs, it seemed like the chances of Giannis testing the market were quite high. The Bucks needed a big splash in the offseason, that shows Giannis that they are completely dedicated to the championship run. Those big splashes have started to appear as the NBA opened trades on Monday.
With one of the first blockbuster trades of the offseason, the Bucks shipped George Hill, Eric Bledsoe, and multiple first round picks to the New Orleans Pelicans for Jrue Holiday. Holiday is an immediate upgrade at guard over anyone that the Bucks had, and he will give the Bucks another dynamic two way player that can take the load of Antetokounmpo. The second trade that the Bucks are projected to make(has not officially happened yet) is to bring Bogdan Bogdanovic over from the Sacramento Kings. This gives the Bucks two new scorers, that they desperately needed during the postseason where there were difficulties getting the ball into the bucket. Ever since the Bucks started contending for championships in the past couple of years, they never had a solid guard to run with Antetokounmpo. Holiday is more than just a solid guard who facilitates Giannis, but is a scoring threat in his own right that can get the ball to Giannis or score himself. The other piece that the Bucks got is Bogdanovic, who is a good passer, just like Holiday, and creates great spacing with his three game and ability to cut and find open holes. Both of these players are offensive upgrades from the assets that the Bucks gave up, but they also do not give up anything on the defensive side of the floor where the Bucks are so good.
These moves are improvements, and should give them a slight edge they might not have had in past years. Giannis Antetokounmpo is great but it is up to the Bucks if they can fit the new pieces around Giannis to get this team to the Finals. This is the season where the Bucks can show that Milwaukee is the place where Giannis should stay, or if he should start looking for homes elsewhere.
Top Image: Jeffrey Phelps/ Associated Press