- It was reported on Monday that the Milwaukee Bucks had pulled off a trade with the Sacramento Kings for Bogdan Bogdanovic.
- During the week, it was reported that Bogdanovic, an impending free agent, had not agreed to a sign-and-trade to the Bucks.
- Bogdanovic is a free agent and couldn't agree to a deal before free agency began or else there could be tampering charges from the NBA.
- Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo had reportedly been recruiting Bogdanovic, who was reportedly interested in joining the Bucks, but later reneged.
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One of the Milwaukee Bucks' two big trades to begin the offseason won't be going through.
On Monday night, it was reported that the Bucks had swung trades for New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday and for Sacramento Kings guard-forward Bogdan Bogdanovic.
However, on Wednesday, The Athletic reported that the deal was in danger of falling apart because Bogdanovic had not agreed to sign a new deal with the Bucks. Bogdanovic is a restricted free agent and would have to agree to sign a contract with Milwaukee for the deal to be completed.
On Thursday, The New York Times' Marc Stein reported that the NBA was investigating the deal for tampering. The deal had been reported as done, which meant the Bucks and Bogdanovic would have agreed to a new contract before the start of free agency, which officially opens on Friday, November 20, 6 p.m. ET.
That's a big no-no.
Last September, the NBA announced new measures and harsher penalties meant to prevent tampering.
It's unclear where the deal went sideways
According to The Athletic's Sam Amick and Eric Nehm, Bogdanovic's representatives say Bogdanovic never agreed to a sign-and-trade.
However, Amick and Nehm reported that Giannis Antetokounmpo had been recruiting Bogdanovic to the Bucks. The deals for Bogdanovic and Holiday were considered massive wins for the Bucks in convincing Antetokounmpo to re-sign with them ahead of his free agency next offseason.
Amick and Nehm reported that Bogdanovic had concerns about the deal before the league's investigation was reported. Bogdanovic is expected to have several suitors and to command a big salary in free agency.
ESPN's Brian Windhorst reported, however, that Bogdanovic had wanted to join the Bucks.
Windhorst reported that some within the NBA felt that the reports of Bogdanovic backing out of the deal might have been a smokescreen. Some within the league reportedly believed he and the Bucks might have come to an agreement, days into free agency to improve the optics around the investigation.
The deal now appears to be completely dead
What may have seemed like a minor transaction by the Bucks may have been the final nail in the deal.
On Thursday, the Bucks waived veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova. Ilyasova was included in the initial deal for Bogdanovic, and his $7 million salary for 2020-21 was critical in making the deal work.
However, when the deal fell through, the Bucks waived him before his salary became guaranteed for the season.
Amick and Nehm wrote that it remains unclear where the initial miscommunication between Bogdanovic, the Bucks, and Kings occurred.
The Bucks only have seven players under contract at the moment, including the recently acquired Holiday. They have the mid-level exception, worth $9.2 million, to add free agents, but such a contract would be far below Bogdanovic's market value.
On Friday, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando reported that Bogdanovic was expected to sign an offer sheet with the Atlanta Hawks.
Repercussions for the Bucks
Signing Bogdanovic would have boosted the Bucks' championship odds and helped them retain Antetokounmpo. There hasn't been any indication that Antetokounmpo is less likely to re-sign with the Bucks because of the failed deal, but it likely doesn't help.
The Bucks surrendered three first-round picks, plus two pick swaps with the Pelicans to acquire Holiday. Their means of improving through other trades this offseason will be limited.
There may also be a backlash to the league investigating tampering — long a rampant issue in the NBA — against a small-market franchise attempting to convince its franchise superstar to stay.
The Bucks can offer Antetokounmpo the five-year, $220 million supermax extension on Friday, and he has until December 21 to sign it.
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