After losing five games in a row, the Milwaukee Bucks have now won four in a row. With a 20-13 record heading into a marquee matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday, they have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference.
As is the case every year recently, the Bucks are a trade deadline buyer. Adding anyone will be with a focus on getting over the hump in the playoffs. But with no cap space and an inability to part with any first-round picks for the next couple years, a big trade isn’t happening. Not that they necessarily need to make a big deal.
Harrison Carter of FanSided’s Dairyland Express offered three potential trade targets for the Bucks. PJ Tucker is a widely rumored target, and JJ Redick is available. But Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier stands out as the interesting name.
In 19 games this season, as back issues have cost him time, Fournier is averaging 18.3 points, 3.8 assists and 2.8 rebounds per game. He is shooting 36.8 percent from 3-point range, and 45 percent from the floor overall.
Fournier is in the final year of his contract, with a salary of $17 million. That will make it hard for the Bucks, or any other contender who might be interested, to match salary. But looking to a March 25 deadline where they may not be a lot of notable movement, Fournier’s scoring and shooting prowess may draw a premium. This side of Bradley Beal, who seems to be staying in Washington, Fournier might be the top wing scorer available.
Taking a spin with ESPN’s Trade Machine, here’s how the Bucks could make a deal for Fournier.
Bucks get: SG Evan Fournier
Magic get: C Brook Lopez, SG Donte DiVincenzo, Future 2nd-Round Pick
Lopez’s $12.5 million salary is a requirement for this trade, and the second-round pick is just a throw-in. Bryn Forbes, D.J. Wilson or D.J. Augustin are other realistic possibilities for the player the Bucks could include to make the money match. But DiVincenzo feels like the more appealing asset.
A starting five with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Fournier would look pretty nice for the Bucks. Losing Lopez wouldn’t be ideal, if only for his ability to stretch the floor (4.3 3-point attempts per game). However, Bobby Portis is averaging more points and rebounds per game than Lopez this season. Finding a big man to fill some minutes would be a small price to pay if it means adding Fournier.