Bucks eying big offseason after Ilyasova trade?

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The Milwaukee Bucks might just be going for broke this offseason. Milwaukee surprised everyone by making the Eastern Conference playoffs and taking the Chicago Bulls to six games in the quarterfinals, despite losing No. 2 overall pick Jabari Parker for the year after 25 games to a torn ACL.

Parker's loss was a tough blow, but the Bucks rebounded to finish the season at 41-41 under first-year head coach Jason Kidd. On Thursday, Milwaukee traded power forward Ersan Ilyasova to the Detroit Pistons for guard Caron Butler and Shawne Williams, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The deal is a virtual steal for the Pistons on the surface, but belies another meaning for Bucks general manager John Hammond. With the move, Milwaukee is expected to waive the contracts of Butler and Williams, opening up $7.9 million in cap space for this offseason.

Combined, the Bucks have approximately $22 million in space, allowing them to add a max player (if one can be lured to Milwaukee) or a couple of solid players near the $10 million price tag. Combining that with the expected return of Parker and the continued development of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Michael Carter-Williams and Khris Middleton, Milwaukee has an intriguing roster.

With Ilyasova out of the picture, the Bucks have a glaring need in the interior, especially at power forward. Could the Bucks be thinking about making a run at Pistons power forward/center Greg Monroe, who becomes a free agent on July 1? How about Paul Millsap, Brook Lopez or Al Jefferson?

A lineup featuring John Henson/Millsap/Antetokounmpo/Parker/Carter-Williams would easily be one of the better teams in the East immediately, perhaps capable of winning 45-50 games. Would the Bucks be able to beat the Cleveland Cavaliers or Bulls? No. But they would join the ranks of the Washington Wizards as teams on the rise. Milwaukee still needs some pieces, but the roster would be young and athletic under the guise of a formerly great player.

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