By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Nov 17, 2020 at 7:21 AM

After the Milwaukee Bucks bowed out of the NBA playoffs in the second round this fall, fans expected changes. And they certainly got them after a late-night flurry of big-name trades on Monday, bringing in Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic while sending away several notable pieces from last year's team. 

The first trade, reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, brings Holiday in from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, three future first-round picks and two pick swaps. The guard – who put up 19.1 points and almost seven assists for the Pelicans last year along with an All-Star Game appearance in 2013 – was a popular rumored target for the Bucks this offseason, hopefully replacing the streaky and disappearance-prone Bledsoe (particularly in the playoffs) with an even better defender and a more versatile, consistent offensive hand. 

Not content, the Bucks then made another big midnight deal, arranging a sign-and-trade for Sacramento Kings forward and European shooting star Bogdan Bogdanovic as well as guard Justin James. In exchange, Milwaukee will send recent first-round picks Donte DiVincenzo and D.J. Wilson as well as journeyman Ersan Ilysasova to the Kings. Last season, Bogdanovic averaged 15.1 points, three assists and three rebounds a game for Sacramento, and is expected to thrive with the shooting space playing with two-time defending MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo provides. 

The two deals fills a pair of needs from last season's squad – reliable point guard play and perimeter shooting – and provides the Bucks with an accomplished starting five (Giannis, Khris Middleton, Holiday, Bogdanovic and Brook Lopez) that, on paper, moves them toward the front of the line of NBA Finals contenders.

The most important part of the two trades, however, isn't who's coming or going, but who appears to be staying: Giannis. The amount of draft capital sent away to New Orleans in the Jrue Holiday deal implies that Milwaukee and GM Jon Horst don't see much use in their impending first-round picks – aka they expect to be going deep into the playoffs and therefore selecting far into the draft – and that they're going all in on buliding a championship-winning team rather than prepping for a rebuild in case a certain Greek great decides to leave at the end of the season.

Indeed, during Monday night's barrage of deals, several NBA writers reported that the expectation across the league is that Giannis will sign a contract extension this offseason – likely the five-year supermax – to stay with Milwaukee. 

Sorry, Golden State. 

While Monday night's melee answers a lot of questions asked by the disappointing finale to the 2019-20 season, there's still work to be done for the Milwaukee Bucks. While the team's new startinng five is impressive, between Robin Lopez and Wes Matthews opting out of their deals as well as the players dealt amongst last night's trades, the Bucks have to rebuild their bench unit with little money to do so. But with this new lineup, expect some veteran players to come knocking, willing to join a serious championship contender at low cost for a ring. 

Stay tuned to OnMilwaukee for more Bucks news when it breaks – and stay tuned for the start of the NBA season on Dec. 22. 

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.