Charlotte Hornets: Milwaukee Bucks players to target in free agency

As a part of our ongoing series detailing which players the Charlotte Hornets should target during free agency, our attention shifts to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Buck finished with a 51-31 record, which earned them a 3rd-place finish in the Eastern Conference.

In an intense, seven-game series, Milwaukee fell to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. An injury to Khris Middleton likely cost the defending champs their season, but Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday, and company did their best against a formidable Celtics squad.

As we enter free agency in 2022, the Deer have a lot of tough financial decisions to make. As with any championship-level team, this free agent class is going to be crucial for Milwaukee’s future. Do they re-sign their core and run it back? Or do they retool and reshape their roster altogether?

For the player options in 2022, Pat Connaughton, Bobby Portis, and Thanasis Antetokounmpo could all enter the unrestricted free agent market. Antetokounmpo should opt in, but the other two could easily opt out in search for a long-term deal valued significantly higher than their current one. If either opt out, they should be targeted by the Hornets pretty heavily. For Connaughton, he provides shooting and defense on the wing. For Portis, he brings a little bit of everything: shooting, rebounding, defense, etc.

Moving to the restricted free agents, Jordan Nwora and Lindell Wiggington are the lone prospects. Nwora could field a few offers around the league, but neither guy became a part of the Bucks’ rotation this season on a consistent basis.

Milwaukee’s unrestricted free agent pool has some interesting names. Wesley Matthews, Serge Ibaka, and Jevon Carter are all set to hit the open market. Ibaka could revitalize his career in Charlotte, who is desperate for any center capable of defending the rim (I don’t think he’ll be a Hornet, though). Carter could play as the backup point guard, providing unparalleled defense at the top of the key. Despite being 36-years-old next season, Matthews could swing down to Charlotte and provide their young core with veteran leadership, defense, and three-point shooting, which are all things he has excelled at over the course of his career.

The Bucks have a lot of decisions to make this offseason. Because Milwaukee is a championship-level team, Charlotte should look to target several of their key pieces during free agency in 2022. With a championship pedigree joining Charlotte’s young core, they could make noise in next season’s playoffs.