Diving Deep into Friday’s Bucks-Cavaliers-Wizards Trade

Aaron Gosh/Associated Press

The Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to deal Matthew Dellavedova, John Henson, a future first-round draft pick, and a future second-round draft pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for George Hill and Sam Dekker. Milwaukee then traded Dekker to the Washington Wizards in exchange for Jason Smith and a future second-round pick.

On the surface, this deal looks pretty simple. The Bucks are getting a veteran point guard George Hill and Jason Smith in exchange for some bad contracts and two draft picks. Delly and Henson were on massive contracts and with this trade, the Bucks have cleared an extra $18 million in cap space to sign back soon-to-be free agents Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, Brook Lopez, and Malcolm Brogdon.

From Cleveland’s point of view, their season is in the trash can already anyways, and using George Hill as a piece to get an extra pick or two seems like the smartest move possible. They’ll pay big bucks for Dellavedova’s homecoming, but it might be a move that in the end sells them a few extra tickets.

The Wizards steal away hope for a Wisconsin reunion between Bucks fans and hometown star Sam Dekker, who is a talented young role player that still has time to figure out his place in the NBA.

Where things get really interesting is the timing of the trade. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Friday was the last day that traded players would be eligible for contract aggregation by the February 7 trade deadline.

This means that because the deal happened before 6 pm ET, the Bucks and Cavaliers can now use the aforementioned players to combine contracts and essentially make more trades at that Feb. 7 deadline.

Woj also reported in the same tweet that there was an “urgency to get the deal done” by the deadline. This likely means that one of these teams, most likely Milwaukee, will be looking to make another, potentially more impactful deal when the deadline comes around.

Could it be one of those soon-to-be free agents? Khris Middleton was benched for the 4th quarter and overtime during the December 1st Bucks-Knicks thriller, and missed their last game against the Pistons for “Personal Reasons.” Is it possible Middleton and the Bucks are experiencing some tension? Could John Horst and Mike Budenholzer be evaluating who is the better point guard to go forward with between Bledsoe and Brogdon?

It’s most likely just Milwaukee trying to give themselves a little more flexibility around the heat of NBA trade season, but in today’s NBA, who really knows.

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