“If the Bucks don't complete the Bogdan Bogdanović trade, they're done!” That's how Tony Kornheiser described the latest free agency fiasco that left everyone scratching their heads. Three days ago it seemed the Bucks may have the best starting five in basketball.
From the moment the news about Bogdanović going to Milwaukee was announced, people who understand the CBA were skeptical of the deal. How do you sign-and-trade someone before free agency starts on Friday?
In order to sign-and-trade, someone needs to agree to the "sign" part first. In this scenario it would mean Bogdanović talked to the Bucks about a contract, then agreed to sign it and be traded with such contract. The problem is free agency starts today, so such conversations would consitute tampering.
Let me be clear, almost every team in the NBA does this, so why did this become so dramatic? Let's go over a few possible scenarios.
That's Latin for "who benefits?" What can I say, I love courtroom dramas. The first step of every investigation is determining who has the motive to stop this from happening. To make it clear - "this" is the moment someone leaked the deal is done to Woj, letting everyone know tampering is afoot. There are four options.
First, we have a group of teams that are hoping to get Giannis next summer. If you prevent the trade from happening, the Bucks are in a worse position to keep Antetokounmpo, and that increases your chances of getting him.
The second group is other teams that wanted a shot at Bogdanović. Basically, they called the league and said "We would never tamper, and if anyone had contacted us before Friday we would've hung up scouts honor. But now we didn't even get a chance to make our pitch!"
A third theory is that Bogdanović and his camp may be behind this. Kevin O'Connor from The Ringer said the primary deal was to include Eric Bledsoe in the trade. When the Bucks traded him for Jrue Holiday, the total amount of money they could send to the Kings decreased, meaning they couldn't offer as much to Bogdan. Keep in mind Bogdan's agent is Jason Ranne - he represented Bjelica when he had a deal with the Sixers and again they backed out and he signed with the Kings.
The Bucks themselves don't benefit, but they may be the one behind this. If someone in Milwuakee was eager to show Giannis how commuted they are and get him to sign the extension, there is a possibility the leak came from their side.
Don't know the latin for this one. Let's talk about the biggest victim here - Ersan Ilyasova. He was supposed to be in the trade package to for the sign-and-trade. That would mean the Bucks would pick-up his 7 million team option and include Ersan in the trade. Because the deal is off, the Bucks waived the team option making him a free agent.
The Bucks can't be happy about this too. After not signing Brogdon last year, this is the only time to prove to Giannis they will do whatever it takes to surround him with championship caliber talent. A fiasco like this doesn't help.
Bogdanović is probably frustrated given the fact he wanted to play with Giannis in Milwuakee. Silver lining is he will probably get more money somewhere else, so he can check out his bank account while the Bucks are in the playoffs.
The Kings can still match any offer (Bogdanović is a restricted free agent) and get something in return, so the result for them is yet ot be determined.
Was this tampering as constitued by current rules? Yes. Is there a team in the NBA that doesn't tamper as consituted by current rules? No. Is this rediculous? Aboslutely.
What Anthony Davis did, and what James Harden is doing right now is spoiled and unfair. Asking for a trade to a specific team with multiple years left on a contract, and burning all other bridges to drop your trade value should be looked into by the league. It wasn't/isn't. A deal where both teams and the player agreed in principle is.
Either drop the tampering illusion, or redefine it so absurd situations like these don't happen.
Editor's note: A previous version of the article stated Jason Ranne represented Marcus Morris during his negotiation with the Spurs last summer - that statement was inaccurate. We apologize to Mr. Ranne and Wasserman Group for the mistake.