by Alex Poletti
Photo by CBSSports
The best team in basketball is making moves to improve, as the Milwaukee Bucks are signing Marvin Williams to a deal until the end of the 2019-2020 season. To make space for Williams on the roster, Milwaukee is waiving forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.
“We’ve been one piece away from being a real contender for a while,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst says. “We think that Marvin Williams is that piece. Adding a strong forward to our team is going to be crucial for us to make it through the East and eventually win the title. It’s unfortunate that we have to part ways with Giannis, who has done so much for our organization, but it’s the right thing to do.”
With a 44-7 record, the team is on pace to be the third 70-win team in NBA history. This will be the second straight year that the team has led the NBA in regular season winning percentage. However, last year the team could not translate that into postseason success, losing to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Williams will be a key piece off the bench for Milwaukee, who are in need of some depth at the forward position. That need for forward depth will intensify after the Bucks officially waive their starting forward Antetokounmpo to make room for Williams on the roster.
“It’s been a good few years, but the Giannis experiment is officially over,” head coach Mike Budenholzer says. “He’s become a bit of a fan favorite, which makes it hard to part with him, but we have to do what’s best for our team. We believe Williams puts us over the edge, and sometimes you have to make tough decisions to win rings.”
In 41 games off the bench for the Charlotte Hornets, the 33-year-old veteran has averaged 6.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and an assists per game. He doesn’t quite match the upside of the 25-year-old Antetokounmpo, who has averaged 30, 13 and 6, but the intangibles make up the difference.
“The veteran presence in the locker room really makes this move worth it for us,” Horst explains. “While having a guy like Giannis is nice—he’s feisty, hard working and has a lot of potential in this game—Marvin’s leadership skills cannot be overstated. This is a guy with over 800 starts to his name and 34 in the playoffs. You can’t teach that.”
The moves are to be finalized by the end of the day, The Second String reports. The young forward Antetokounmpo is set to become an unrestricted free agent, and can sign with any team he wants.
“I don’t think his career is over in the NBA,” Budenholzer says of Antetokounmpo. “I’m sure there is another team that’s willing to roll the dice on a guy like Giannis. He has a lot going for him, and I truly hope he figures it out and makes it back to the league.”