The Milwaukee Bucks organization has been about successful as fans could ask for over the last five years. They lead the league in winning percentage, they’ve avoided drama, have won a championship and have a top three player in the league under contract for the next two seasons. With all of that said, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst believes there is trouble brewing in Milwaukee.
Windhorst was on the ESPN program “Get Up” this morning and naturally the Bucks were a topic of conversation after the firing of Mike Budenholzer. In this clip, that was posted via twitter, Windhorst claims the coaching change is only the first move for a franchise that is in some trouble. He references Marc Lasry selling his ownership stake as a sign of bad news on the horizon. He also mentions a roster with questions marks and the possibility of Giannis Antetokounmpo extending his contract this off-season as evidence that things aren’t perfect behind the scenes.
.@WindhorstESPN says there are problems looming over the Bucks 😳
"[Marc Lasry sold] because of the thundercloud that's on the horizon. We are now hearing the first rumblings. … The Bucks are in a quagmire and we have the first move with the firing of [Mike] Budenholzer." pic.twitter.com/6eWjZtBw6A
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 5, 2023
Is There Truth to the Brian Windhorst Comments?
I’ll say yes and no because everything he mentions is true, but trying to connect them is pure speculation. As easily as he can make a case for them being evidence of trouble on the horizon, I can counter with why he’s wrong. Let’s see how I do.
Milwaukee Bucks Owner Selling
Marc Lasry bought his stake in the Bucks for $700 million. Although that sounds like an insane amount of cash, he just sold that same stake for $3.2 billion. Even if he personally thought the title window would be open for another eight years, it makes a ton of sense to cash in on over 4x what he invested. Rich people are usually smart with money and this was a smart business move.
Firing of Bud
As great as Mike Budenholzer was for the Bucks, he was a toe nail away from being fired in 2021. The Bucks had a roster ready to compete for a title and it took a quarter of an inch and some injury luck for the franchise to win a title. Although Budenholzer implemented some things that worked and created a great culture, he rarely made adjustments and continually got outcoached in the playoffs. The title bought him two more years, but it was time for a change.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ Aging Core
It’s confusing that someone with a ton of experience covering the NBA like Brian Windhorst has, would think having an aging core is a sign of bad things to come. That’s what happens when you have a budding star and you want to give him as many cracks as possible at a title. Overall, Jon Horst has done a great job of putting a great team around Giannis. The problem is, players get older and their games age with them. That’s not a bad thing, that means the front office continually went for it. Now comes the challenge of getting younger while staying competitive.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Extension
We have no idea if Giannis will sign an extension to stay in Milwaukee. We do know that he has never given anyone a reason to think he won’t. He’s only ever talked about loving this organization and city. The front office has done everything in their power to support him and it’s highly likely they asked for his input before cutting ties with Budenholzer. If Giannis doesn’t extend the first chance he can, it’s fine. It’s not a sign of him losing faith in the organization. It’s more likely him not even thinking about it as he likes to get away from the game between seasons.
Should Bucks Fans Be Worried?
To keep it simple, no. At least not long term. I have my concerns about the current makeup of the roster but I think there are more then enough avenues to improve the situation. The roster needs to get younger and more versatile and Horst has proven he will do everything in his power to help his superstar.
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