The Milwaukee Bucks dealt away starting power forward Ersan Ilyasova in a salary dump move on Thursday, and the Bucks are set to have quite a bit of cap space this summer. Milwaukee plans to make a run at a center with a good chunk of that space, with Tyson Chandler and Brook Lopez at the top of its wish list, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.
Bucks head coach Jason Kidd played with Chandler and coached Lopez, so there’s familiarity there with both. Milwaukee is set to have around $23 million in cap space this summer, which would suffice for either player. Restricted free agent Khris Middleton is set for a big raise, but his cap hold is a modest $2.73 million, so the Bucks could use all their cap space and then go over the cap to re-sign Middleton to a lucrative new deal as long as the timing works out. The team plans to match any offer sheet the young wing signs.
Chandler and Lopez are very different players, but both would provide value to Milwaukee and be a clear upgrade over Zaza Pachulia. Chandler, while getting up there in age at 32, would give the Bucks another long, athletic defender and legitimate rim protector. Lopez isn’t exactly a defensive ace, but he’d help juice up the offense, which was a problem at times in Milwaukee.
Would Chandler or Lopez be willing to come to Milwaukee? Chandler’s Dallas Mavericks are said to have a lot of interest in DeAndre Jordan, and if that acquisition came to fruition, the Bucks could easily move in on Chandler. The Brooklyn Nets want to keep Lopez, so it could be tough to get him to leave if Billy King is willing to pay up.