The Bucks made a trade with the Hornets on Thursday, but what exactly does it mean?
The Milwaukee Bucks and the Charlotte Hornets must have really wanted to get rid of their mediocre at best big men. Almost instantly after rumors started circulating about this trade, the official reports came out confirming the deal. The Bucks sent Miles Plumlee over to Charlotte for Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes.
The deal is certainly not a blockbuster. It involves 3 players all averaging under 10 points per game. Hawes, a 7'1" forward, performs best in that category with 7.3 PPG. Hibbert comes in second place with 5.2 PPG, and Plumlee is last with 2.6 PPG. The new guys are also better rebounders than Plumlee. Hibbert and Hawes average 3.6 and 4.2 rebounds per game respectively. Miles averaged a pitiful 1.7. It seems the Bucks upgraded, but the minutes are not really comparable. Plumlee played only 9.7 minutes per game in Milwaukee while both Roy and Spencer played 16 and 17.9 minutes respectively.
So why do the deal? Hibbert is 30 and is not the defensive anchor he was on the Pacers during their battles against the Big 3 Miami Heat. Hawes was never a great producer. He did average 13.5 PPG with the Cavaliers in the 2013-14 season, but has since dropped off.
The reason John Hammond pulling the trigger on this trade is money. It's no secret that Miles Plumlee was given a very generous contract. His 4 year/$50 million contract was a stunning move in the off-season. With this trade, Charlotte will now inherit the massive cost of that contract. Meanwhile, the Bucks don't have to worry about Hibbert. If he doesn't retire, he will become an unrestricted free agent after this season. His current contract is a 1 year/$5 million deal. Hawes has a player option for next year that is only worth $6.02 million. Even when you combine these numbers, it's less than what the Bucks would be paying Miles ($12.5 million over 4 years).
With less of a cap hit, the Bucks can focus on either signing or re-signing players. One name that has come up is Tony Snell. He has undoubtedly improved since arriving in Milwaukee. He becomes a restricted free agent this season if he does not agree to the qualifying offer. If he accepts, he plays in Milwaukee for one more year. It's also possible that the Bucks could re-sign Greg Monroe (if they don't trade him) once he becomes a free agent in 2018. He has a player option this year. He could accept it because not many teams will be willing to pay more than around $17 million per year for essentially a backup big man who plays lackluster defense.
This trade won't guarantee the Bucks a playoff spot unless a miracle happens. It's more of a move for the future. With the salary cap rising and the amount of players who will look to collect the big check this summer, the Bucks can be competitive in the market. This helps in all parts of the negotiation game, and should secure some key players for years to come.