On Saturday morning, general manager Jon Horst likely put the finishing touches on the Milwaukee Bucks season-opening roster, coming to terms with free agent shooting guard Kyle Korver.
The 38-year-old Korver will ink a one-year, $2.6 million deal with the Bucks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Woj’s ESPN colleague Bobby Marks also reported that Milwaukee will take a $1.6 million cap hit for exceeding the luxury tax.
Korver averaged 8.6 ppg in 70 games with Cleveland and Utah last season. For his career, the former Creighton star has posted 9.9 ppg and three rpg across 16 years for five different teams.
Korver has always been a three-point artist – he is one of only two players in NBA history to knock down at least 2,000 threes at better than a 42 percent clip – but that has become even more exaggerated over the past two years. Since the start of the 2017 season, he sits fourth in the NBA in percentage of field goals from beyond the arc (min. 600 field goal attempts), something that should sky even higher in Milwaukee’s three-point heavy offense centered around Giannis Antetokounmpo drive-and-kicks.
Milwaukee’s Korver acquisition not only boosts its own offensive potency but also hinders perhaps their chief Eastern Conference rival, Philadelphia. Korver was reportedly down to the Bucks and Sixers for his 2019-20 services, and though Philly is desperate for outside shooting, Korver ultimately decided to reunite with his former Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer. Korver posted his best seasons during his time with Bud in Atlanta, which included his lone All-Star appearance in 2014-15.
By adding Korver, the Bucks continue to bolster their guard depth even after losing Malcolm Brogdon to Indiana this summer. Take a peek at Milwaukee’s positional depth heading into the season.
- Guards: Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver, Pat Connaughton, Sterling Brown, Donte DiVincenzo
- Forwards: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Ersan Ilyasova, DJ Wilson, Jon Leuer, Thanasis Antetokounmpo
- Centers: Brook Lopez, Robin Lopez
There isn’t an obvious starter at shooting guard, but between Matthews, Korver, Connaughton, Brown and the untested DiVincenzo, Milwaukee will certainly be able to cobble together a solid rotation. And don’t forget – Bledsoe and Hill are very capable of playing together, something the Bucks utilized often down the stretch and into the postseason while Brogdon was sidelined with his foot injury this past spring.
Milwaukee is a little shallow on the wing behind Giannis and Middleton, though the front office is undoubtedly hoping Wilson can take on some more responsibility there in his third season. He showed some flashes as a sophomore, including a productive post-holiday stretch prior to the Bucks’ trade for Nikola Mirotic.
The Bucks could also hit the trade market during the season to acquire an extra wing. Would Jon Leuer’s expiring contract and the first-round pick Milwaukee acquired from Indiana in the Brogdon deal be enough to entice Memphis in an Andre Iguodala deal? The Finals-tested, defensive-minded Iggy would certainly be a huge boon for the Bucks in the postseason.
Similarly to LeBron James’ Miami and Cleveland squads, as well as Golden State’s recent championship outfits, Milwaukee has turned into a destination for veterans attempting one final ring chase. Korver, Matthews, Hill and the Lopez brothers have combined for 344 playoff games and three Finals appearances but no titles. That all five either re-signed with or flocked to the Brew City this offseason is a sign of Antetokounmpo’s recognized greatness among his peers.
The Bucks have handled this critical offseason impressively well and likely enter 2019-20 as the favorites in the Eastern Conference as well as one of the top two contenders in the entire league. Winning the offseason guarantees nothing come the playoffs, but Milwaukee appears set for yet another deep foray into May and June.
When Brian's not writing about sports, he is probably prattling on about Marquette hoops, digging through statistics, or re-binging his favorite television series. Any conversation that begins with a quote from "The Office" or "West Wing" is a surefire way to grab his attention.