New year, new Milwaukee Bucks roster


Photo: Bucks News Milwaukee Bucks will debut new “great lakes blue city edition” uniforms for the 2020-21 season, launching on Dec. 3.

Lexi Langendorf, Reporter

This season, the Milwaukee Bucks will acquire nine new players, including Jaylen Adams, Mamadi Diakite, D.J. Augustin, Torrey Craig, Bryn Forbes, Jrue Holiday, Sam Merrill, Jordan Nwora and Bobby Portis.

6’4” Pelicans guard Holiday and 6’5” guard Merrill will join the team as part of a four-team deal including the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Denver Nuggets.

The Bucks will send guard Eric Bledsoe, two first-round draft picks (2025, 2027) and the right to swap first-round draft picks (New Orleans’ for Milwaukee’s) in 2024 and 2026.

Milwaukee also loses guard George Hill to the Thunder and draft rights to 2020 first round pick and point guard R.J. Hampton to Denver in the trade.

Holiday, entering his 12th season in the NBA, is a two-time All-NBA Defensive Team honoree (2017-18, 2018-19) and 2013 NBA All-Star who has appeared in more than 700 career games with New Orleans and Philadelphia.

Holiday started all 61 games for New Orleans during the 2019-20 season, overall holding career av­erages of 15.9 points, 6.4 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 713 career games. He is a career 45.3% shooter from the field, 35.4% from three and 77.7% from the free-throw line, leaving as the fran­chise’s all-time leader in career three-pointers made with a total of 628.

Holiday was additionally named the 2019-20 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year last season.

“Jrue is an incredibly high character person and one of the premier guards in the NBA,” said Bucks General Manager Jon Horst. “He will make us better on both ends of the floor, as he’s an elite defender and a proven playmaker on offense with the ability to score, shoot and facilitate.”

Sam Merrill, in his four seasons at Utah State, knocked down 42% of his 3-point attempts, 47% of his shots overall and 89.1% of his free-throw attempts, while averaging 16.8 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists over 131 games.

“Sam is someone we’ve had our eye on over his last couple seasons at Utah State,” Horst said. “He has demonstrated the ability to shoot at a high percentage and we like his size and overall feel for the game. We’re excited to get him into camp and watch him compete at this level.”

Bledsoe appeared in 210 games with the Bucks over the last three seasons and averaged 16.3 points, 5.3 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.

Hill played in 106 games with the Bucks and averaged 8.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game while shooting 47.9% from the field and 38.5% from three.

“Eric and George were major contributors to our winning culture in Milwaukee,” Horst added. “They are talented players but even better people.”

The Milwaukee Bucks have also signed forward Torrey Craig, guard Bryn Forbes, forward Bobby Portis and guard D.J. Augustin.

Craig, a 6’7” forward, played the last three seasons with the Denver Nuggets, holding career averages of 5.3 points and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 45.1% from the field.

Forbes, a 6’2” guard, played the last four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs, holding career averages of 8.0 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 21.7 minutes per game. He’s a career 43.1% shooter from the field and has knocked down 40.0% of his 3-point at­tempts throughout his career.

Portis, a 6’10” forward, spent the 2019-20 season with the New York Knicks and holds career averages of 10.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 45.6% from the field and 36% from three.

Augustin played in 57 games last season with the Magic, holding career averages of 9.9 points, 4 assists and 1.9 rebounds per game while shooting 41.2% from the field, 37.9% from three and 86.5% from the free-throw line.

“D.J. brings a wealth of experience to our backcourt and will provide us with depth at guard,” said Bucks General Manager Jon Horst. “D.J.’s proven to be a prolific shooter and an excellent ballhandler throughout his career and we’re thrilled to have him in Milwaukee.”

Milwaukee additionally gained second-round draft pick Jordan Nwora in exchange for two future second round draft choices in a draft day trade with the Orlando Magic.

Nwora, a 6’7” forward, was a Third Team All-American and First Team All-ACC selection last season as a junior after averaging 18 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game while shooting 44.0% from the field and 40.2% from three. Nwora was also the runner up for ACC Player of the Year last season.

Pat Connaughton, a guard for the Bucks, has resigned, and guard Adams and forward Diakite have also been signed to Two-Way contracts, which essentially stipulate that these players will spend most of their time with the G League.

Adams, a 6’2” guard, spent the majority of the 2019-20 season with the Bucks’ G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, where he was the NBA G League MVP runner up and an All-NBA G League First Team selection after averaging 21.5 points, 5.7 assists, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals over 33 games.

He knocked down 48.6% of his shots, including 40.7% of his 3-point attempts, last season with the Herd.

Diakite, a 6’9” forward, averaged a team-high 13.7 points with 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game as a senior last season with the Cavaliers. Diakite also shot 47.8% from the field and 35.7% from three last season and was a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year award.

The Milwaukee Bucks will play a three-game 2020 preseason schedule, with the first game set for Dec. 12 at Fiserv Forum, as announced by the NBA on Nov. 27.

The Bucks will play back-to-back games against the Dallas Mavericks on Dec. 12 and Dec. 14, before finishing the preseason schedule with a matchup against the Pelicans in New Orleans on Dec. 18. Each game will tip-off at 7 p.m. CT.