The Milwaukee Bucks promised reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo a redesigned roster to turn regular season success into a championship boost. Within hours of bleeding Monday night through Tuesday morning, the Bucks agreed to take over two major players, New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday and Sacramento Kings striker Bogdan Bogdanovic, sources told ESPN.
The Bucks made a major case for Antetokounmpo about why he should sign the five-year Supermax extension that will soon be available to him.
After the Bucks and Kings completed the Holiday deal late Monday, they basically agreed on a sign and deal that will bring Bogdanovic and Justin James to the Bucks, sources said.
The Kings acquire versatile striker Donte DiVincenzo, D.J. Wilson and Ersan Ilyasova.
Both Holiday and Bogdanovic address Milwaukee's need to shoot around Antetokounmpo and Holiday is one of the best defenders in the league.
As part of the deal for Holiday, Milwaukee is sending New Orleans a package that includes Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, and three round one picks.
The deal also includes a pair of pick swaps and will ultimately amount to something similar to what the Pelicans got from the Lakers last season in the deal that sent Anthony Davis to Los Angeles.
The 30-year-old Holiday was an all-defensive selection for the first team in 2017-18 and a selection for the second team in 2018-19. He just missed joining the team last season.
Holiday has a reputation throughout the league for being one of the best defenders in the league and the best two-way guard. He averaged 19.1 points and 6.7 assists last season.
Holiday is slated to receive $ 25.4 million for the 2020-21 season and a player option for $ 26.3 million for the following year.
New Orleans is expanding its Pick War Chest, which includes the Lakers' 2022 unprotected Lakers reverse lottery protected pick (8-30), the right to a 2023 Lakers pick swap in the first round and a swap in the Year 2024 or 2025 for another first round.
The draft selection gives the team even more flexibility as New Orleans wants to build for the future for Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, who is a restricted free agent but someone whom the Pelicans consider an important building block for the future.
Holiday has spent the past seven seasons in New Orleans, where he received a draft night deal from the Philadelphia 76ers in 2013 after his only all-star season. His first three years in New Orleans were fraught with injuries, but over the last four seasons he cemented his status as one of the league's top defenders.
This status was confirmed by several NBA stars in the past off-season. Damian Lillard, the guardian of the Portland Trail Blazers, told Holiday New Orleans Pelicans teammate JJ Redick that Holiday was "the league's best defender" during an appearance on Redick's podcast "The Old Man & The Three" in August.
In September, again on Redick's podcast, Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant described Holiday as "probably the best defender in the league on guard."
Bogdanovic, 28, is a versatile offensive wing built for the modern NBA – a volume 3 point shooter and an effective playmaker. He tried nine 3s per game per 36 minutes for the Kings last season and shot 37.2% from depth. This number jumps to 40.7% for catch-and-shoot 3 pointers.
It is also effective on the go. Bogdanovic recorded good numbers of screens and dribble handoffs and shoved the ball down well in the Kings' fast-paced offensive last season. Last season he averaged 15.1 points, 3.4 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 29 minutes per game.
Bledsoe, who turns 31 before the start of the season, played almost three seasons in Milwaukee and averaged 14.9 points, 5.4 assists and 4.6 rebounds as the starting point of the Bucks last year. Bledsoe was a first-team all-defensive selection in 2018/19 and a second-team selection last season.
He had three years left for a four-year $ 70 million extension he signed prior to the 2019-20 season. Bledsoe is owed $ 16.9 million in 2020-21, $ 18.1 million in 2021-22, and $ 19.4 million in 2022-23, although last year was $ 3.9 million is only partially guaranteed.
The 34-year-old Hill still has a two-year contract. He is said to be earning $ 9.6 million the next season and $ 10 million the following year, although last year, as with Bledsoe, is only partially guaranteed at $ 1.3 million.
Hill led the NBA after shooting 46.0% out of 3-point last season – just ahead of Redicks 45.3%. Hill averaged 9.4 points per game last season as a key reserve for Milwaukee.