I’ve resisted the idea of a full Milwaukee Bucks rebuild for the past few years. Especially with the need for a new arena on the horizon and the inevitable battle of paying for it, public support becomes hazy when the team effectively forfeits a few seasons in order to build a better long-term product. The Bucks tried avoiding a full rebuild for years by constantly bartering for slightly better parts than they had, and it provided fans with occasional glimmers of hope; a stretch of wins here, a playoff push there, and so forth.

The Bucks have had ample time to build a core that could content for, at a minimum, a division title. The result: a lazy, uninspired, mistake-prone playoff series against the Miami Heat (yeah I know, they’re THAT good) highlighted by dismal shooting and the disappearance of their supposed franchise player in Brandon Jennings.

So my verdict is in: it’s time to tear down and rebuild. The only surefire player to build around is Larry Sanders. A few other key parts are surrounded by numerous question marks. What would convince Monta Ellis to not exercise his $11 million player option? Will the Bucks match an offer on Jennings if a surprise team throws crazy money at him? Redick is too much a defensive risk for the occasional shooting he provides. The frontcourt is in a reasonable position with Sanders, John Henson, Ersan Ilyasova, Ekpe Udoh and Luc Mbah a Moute offering a flash of youth and athleticism. Beyond that, the Bucks need to unload as much as possible and start fresh.

The Bucks still have their “amnesty clause” in their back pocket. Drew Gooden would be the ideal candidate, but unless Milwaukee needs the salary space to attract a free agent (which they won’t), they might as well keep him around as an emergency backup since they’d still have to pay him. A better focus would be on the coaching staff. I can’t speak for how appealing the Bucks’ coaching job is or isn’t, but perhaps a young up-and-coming assistant who connects well with players, a trait Milwaukee lacked badly in their last coach.

The Milwaukee Brewers got a brand new start with a young owner in 2004. Ok, maybe I’m asking for too much at once; we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. But it’s sure to be a challenging offseason for the Milwaukee Bucks and their fans.


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