The Bucks-Kings deal for Bogdan Bogdanovic apparently is in limbo. Here's why.

Matt Velazquez
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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The Milwaukee Bucks had reportedly put together a deal to get Bogdan Bogdanovic from the Kings early in the week.

Tuesday morning brought celebration as many Milwaukee Bucks fans awoke to learn the team had agreements in place to acquire Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans and Bogdan Bogdanovic from the Sacramento Kings.

Wednesday, however, brought the party to a halt with an abrupt record scratch. The Bogdanovic trade, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, is in serious peril of falling apart. In a later update, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski added that Bogdanovic intends to enter restricted free agency Friday.

The original agreement as reported by ESPN involved a sign-and-trade with the Kings inking Bogdanovic to a new deal and sending the guard to the Bucks for Donte DiVincenzo, D.J. Wilson and Ersan Ilyasova. However, according to The Athletic's report, Bogdanovic never agreed to join the Bucks which has become a "major issue."

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The plan created by the Bucks and Kings, according to Wojnarowski on Wednesday, was the teams intended to bring the framework of the deal to Bogdanovic at the outset of free agency so that he and the Bucks could work out a deal. Instead, Bogdanovic will test his market in free agency, seeking out offer sheets or sign-and-trade opportunities.

There was already something fishy about Tuesday's early-morning reporting of the sign-and-trade. According to the NBA's tampering rules, such an agreement shouldn't have been possible to begin with. The NBA's moratorium on teams talking to players and their representatives won't be lifted until 5 p.m. Friday.

Of course, those tampering rules tend to be loosely followed and enforced. Every year there are announcements of contract agreements within minutes of the moratorium being lifted. No one believes those conversations actually happen that quickly.

Is all of this an elaborate smokescreen to avoid tampering penalties from the league or has this trade actually fallen apart? Right now, it's looking more like the latter with Bogdanovic opting to seek deals elsewhere.

However, the situation is muddled and complicated. On a live SportsCenter hit late Wednesday, ESPN's Brian Windhorst expressed that Bogdanovic's representation has been "adamant" that nothing is agreed upon. Moments later, though, Windhorst added that despite planning to field offers, Bogdanovic ultimately does want to be in Milwaukee.

With the trade undone for the moment, the Bucks have some difficult decisions to make. Primarily, can they get a meeting with Bogdanovic at the outset of free agency on Friday, smooth things over and come to an agreement? Anything is possible in the wild world of NBA free agency.

Before that, though, they'll have to decide whether or not to pick up Ilyasova's $7 million option for the 2020-21 season. If they do, Ilyasova remains a tradeable piece, but they could also get stuck with him if no trade materializes. If they don't guarantee his contract, they'll save the $7 million but will no longer have his contract to include in trades.

Should the Bucks pick up Ilyasova's option, it would portend a trade is in their future. Ilyasova barely played in last year's playoffs after a lackluster regular season and likely isn't a part of Milwaukee's plans.

Barring an unexpected disintegration of Milwaukee's other deal for Jrue Holiday, the Bucks have a roster of Holiday, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez, DiVincenzo, Wilson, Ilyasova and Thanasis Antetokounmpo along with draft picks Jordan Nwora and Sam Merrill as they head into free agency.

Without the sign-and-trade, the Bucks no longer in line to be hard-capped at $138.9 million. They'll have alternative routes to build their roster that won't involve maneuvering to stay under the hard cap. However, should the Bucks use their bi-annual exception, spend more than the taxpayer portion of the mid-level exception or engage in a separate sign-and-trade they will again trigger the hard cap.

The current collapse of the Bogdanovic trade is a serious blow to the Bucks, especially considering the backdrop of Antetokounmpo's supermax extension looming just days away. Instead of going into Nov. 22 – the first day Antetokounmpo can sign – with a clear, strong starting five and a path toward championship contention, the Bucks will now have to scramble to fill out their roster.

It's clear the Bucks did not want this deal with the Kings to fall apart. Now comes the long wait to see if the deal is beyond repair. Will the Bucks still be able to reel in Bogdanovic? Will the NBA even allow the trade after the framework leaked well ahead of the beginning of free agency on Friday?

The wait is on.

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