NBA Trade Grades: Bucks Set To Deal Miles Plumlee For Roy Hibbert, Spencer Hawes

With the Milwaukee Bucks set to deal Miles Plumlee to the Charlotte Hornets for Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes, it’s time for some NBA Trade Grades.

NBA Trade Grades

Oct 15, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Miles Plumlee (18) dunks the ball in the third quarter during the game against the Chicago Bulls at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

For two teams slowly descending down the Eastern Conference ladder, it makes sense the Milwaukee Bucks and Charlotte Hornets would explore a few trades as the Feb. 23 deadline approaches.

The Bucks have lost nine of their last 10 games to slide to 10th place in the conference standings, while the Hornets have slipped to No. 8 after dropping 12 of their last 16 contests.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein and Brian Windhorst, the two teams will try to shake off the doldrums with a lateral move involving a few mediocre bigs. Milwaukee has agreed in principle to send Miles Plumlee to Charlotte in exchange for Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes.

As reported by The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bucks will release Steve Novak to clear out the necessary roster spot. According to The Vertical’s Shams Charania, the Hornets will sign Mike Tobey of their D-League affiliate, the Greensboro Swarm, to a 10-day contract.

As always, the question now is which team will come out on top once this frontcourt swap goes through? To make sense of the latest deal, here are some NBA Trade Grades.

NBA Trade Grades

Oct 23, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Milwaukee Bucks center Miles Plumlee (18) celebrates a bucket at the end of the third quarter against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center. The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Milwaukee Bucks 112-108. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte Hornets

Unfortunately for Hornets fans, Milwaukee’s side of the equation makes a lot more sense than Charlotte’s in this one. There’s just no easy way to defend trading for a rarely used, 28-year-old center who was just signed to a disastrous four-year, $52 million contract last summer.

This season, Plumlee’s averages have plummeted to 2.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and 0.3 blocks in 9.7 minutes per game — a VERY far cry from the 8.1 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game he posted with the Phoenix Suns back in 2013-14, the season we can only assume is why Milwaukee and now Charlotte fell for him in the first place.

Last year, Plumlee averaged 5.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 14.3 minutes per game. The Bucks’ crowded frontcourt diminished his role under Jason Kidd, but with three years and $37.5 million remaining on Plumlee’s contract, it’s hard to understand what the Hornets are doing.

The only incentive here is the deal puts Charlotte over the cap, giving them a larger mid-level exception to work with this summer:

Roy Hibbert was something of a swing and miss, but he was also a cheap one-year rental who would’ve come off the books this summer. Spencer Hawes had a little more value, but re-signing him might not have been a priority if he opted out of his $6 million player option in a few months.

There should also be concern about the effects of losing those two for the NBA’s 11th ranked defense. Plumlee is not much of a rim protector, and though Hibbert and Hawes only combined for 7.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in their 33.9 minutes per game, the Hornets are unlikely to get that production back through Plumlee.

If the fear was losing two frontcourt players in free agency this summer and not having enough cap space to bring a quality replacement in, that’s at least one rationale. But Miles Plumlee is the solution they landed on? Really?

Grade: D

NBA Trade Grades

Oct 26, 2016; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Charlotte Hornets center Roy Hibbert (55) blocks the shot of Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) during the second quarter at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks

Will trading for Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes suddenly help the Bucks get back into the Eastern Conference playoff picture? It feels unlikely, especially since their frontcourt is now overloaded between the two new arrivals, John Henson, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Greg Monroe, Mirza Teletovic and rookie Thon Maker.

Even with Khris Middleton hopefully returning soon, a more logical trade would’ve been to target some help on the wing or in the backcourt.

However, the Bucks score some points for getting out of that head-scratching four-year, $52 million deal they gave Plumlee last summer. Hawes and Hibbert may not seem like much, but it’s not like Plumlee was giving them anything.

All in all, this move gives Milwaukee flexibility for the future and short-term help for the playoff hunt.

Though both Hibbert and Hawes are able to join the free agency market this summer, the Bucks may be all right with letting them walk since it’d help them out with Tony Snell‘s upcoming restricted free agency:

Hibbert never carved out his rim-protecting role in Charlotte under Steve Clifford, but he could be moderately useful in limited minutes, averaging 5.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 16.0 minutes per game so far this season. Perhaps he could help with the league’s 21st-ranked defense.

As for Hawes, his reputation as a stretch-5 might have made him a boon to the NBA’s ninth-most efficient three-point shooting team, but so far this season, he’s only shooting 29.1 percent from deep on 1.6 attempts per game.

A trade for a guard would’ve made more sense, but at the very least, Milwaukee wins the deal by ridding itself of Plumlee’s albatross of a contract.

Grade: B-

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