Bucks Reloading for a Repeat


Free agency was going to be an interesting time for many Bucks fans.

Fresh off an NBA Championship, fans are certainly still basking in the glow of the title run. Astonishingly, though, the Bucks kick off their potential repeat season tonight vs. Brooklyn.

Free agency and the NBA Draft provided the Bucks with a new-look roster. I myself was still watching NBA Playoff replays of the Bucks’ title run on my DVR. It’s time to turn the page, but first we should take a step back.

Let’s take a look at what the Bucks did this offseason in free agency to retool for another potential title run.


The biggest deal by far was the Bucks re-signing Bobby Portis. Once again, Portis spurned more money to play in Milwaukee.

He quickly became a fan favorite in his first season in Milwaukee. Fans loved his effort and rugged toughness. They loved his blue-collar work ethic even more when they found out he spurned more money for Milwaukee. The legend grows bigger now that Portis, 26, decided to sign below-market value in a place that has truly embraced him.

Portis inked a two-year, $9 million deal, allowing for contractual advantages like establishing his Early Bird rights with Milwaukee and having a player option for next summer. It is likely to create a bigger deal next summer for a long-term deal with the Bucks.

The chants of Bobby! may be even louder this year.

P.J. Tucker leaves for Miami

Before the start of free agency, many expected Tucker was a shoe-in to return to Milwaukee.

But Miami offered Tucker a two-year, $15 million deal which would have cost Milwaukee over $40 million due to being in the luxury tax. While many thought ownership should sign him anyway, it was deemed too expensive. And with Tucker being basically a defensive stalwart with minimal offense, over 82 games it’s hard to blame them to be honest.

Tucker, however, will forever be held in high regard for helping the Bucks win a championship and the “We Dogs” saying.

Bucks sign Ojeleye as a PJ replacement

It is doubtful the Bucks will ever replace the leadership and presence of Tucker in the locker room, but Semi Ojeleye feels like their Tucker replacement. Ojeleye has a few great nicknames to boot, like Muscles Jesus. Similar to Tucker, Ojeleye isn’t going to do much off the dribble, but he is a competent three-point shooter and plays pretty solid defense.

Some Bucks fans may remember a couple of years ago Ojeleye drew starts in the Bucks-Celtics playoff series to guard Giannis.

Take chance with Rodney Hood signing

Hood tore his Achilles tendon in 2019, and still didn’t seem himself last year. The long lefty wing is a very good shooter, illustrated by his career 37-percent mark. With money tight, the Bucks found a bargain to take a flyer on a player who provides a skill that is a hot commodity.


Portis (hamstring strain), Ojeleye (calf strain) and Hood (foot soreness) are all out for the Bucks’ season opener, but don’t expect any of these to linger.

Ink George Hill to return on 2-year pact

Many people liked the Hill reunion in Milwaukee until they found out the Bucks used most of the Taxpayer Mid-Level Exception to bring him back. It was really the only salary the Bucks had to pay any free agents. I still don’t mind the move– Hill is a solid backup point guard and will allow Jrue Holiday to play off the ball some.

Trade for Grayson Allen

Allen has carved out a niche for himself in the NBA and is a similar player to Donte DiVincenzo, the currently injured Bucks shooting guard. DiVincenzo will miss the start of the season and it seems likely Allen will slide right into the vacated minutes along with Pat Connaughton. The 6-foot-4 inch Allen shot 39 percent from three last season and averaged 10.6 points per game.

Just yesterday, Allen inked a two-year extension with the Bucks, signaling a possible end to the DiVincenzo-Bucks era, though time will ultimately tell.

Milwaukee surrendered Sam Merrill and two second-round picks for Allen. It seems like a decent move on paper, as Allen will contribute right away and it is unsure if Merrill can ever play enough defense to be playable in big moments in the postseason.

Everything else

Bryn Forbes departed to return to the San Antonio Spurs on a two-year deal. In the draft, the Bucks selected Sandro Mamukelashvili and Georgios Kalaitzakis, both second-round selections. Jeff Teague, Justin Jackson and Axel Toupane remain free agents.

Also, the Bucks released Christian Wood reincarnate Mamadi Diakite and Elijah Bryant. The Bucks’ roster sits at 16 as they open the NBA season.

While on paper the Bucks look to be pretty similar talent wise to last year, how much will Tucker and his departure affect things? Not all that much. The Bucks still have a talented and perhaps deeper roster going into next year. The entire squad is back minus Tucker and Forbes, Hill is an upgrade at backup PG and Allen averaged double digits on nearly 40-percent three-point shooting.

If those guys can have a similar impact as the Bucks’ free agents class, this Bucks team will be one of the favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference and compete for a championship repeat.

Follow us on Twitter @BucksLead for the latest Bucks news and insight. 

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About Mitchell Skurzewski

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