It was reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical last night that Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton suffered a torn hamstring during preseason workouts and would be expected to miss the next 6 months as a result. This is a near crippling blow for a team that is is expected to return to it's playoff form from the 2014-15 season.
Khris Middleton isn't a household name by any means but he is extremely effective. Once a throw in player in a trade between the Bucks and the Detroit Pistons that sent Brandon Jennings to the Motor City, he's become an integral part of the core of the young Bucks and his production won't be easy to replace.
But recent reports say that the Bucks are exploring possible trade options on the wing to fill in for Middleton while he misses at least 60 games of the regular season. Here I'll go through a few trade and free agent options that the Bucks could explore while Middleton is injured.
Terrence Ross - SG/SF - Toronto Raptors
Ross has been a lightning rod of praise and criticism of Raptors fans (I would know) ever since he came into the league. He signed a 3 year $33 million extension last summer so he's signed to a below market value deal. He's shown in his career he's a reliable scorer from 3 point range which is something the Bucks desperately need now more than ever, so he would be able to fit in right away in Milwaukee. A possible trade could be a straight up deal of John Henson for Terrence Ross
Ben McLemore - SG/SF - Sacramento Kings
The former top 10 pick of the Kings has fallen out of favor in the last year or so and a change of scenery could do him really well. He's a very capable 3 point shooter and has the size to be a capable defender as well. The true value of a McLemore trade is that it wouldn't take much to get him. With the Bucks being about $4 million below the cap, a trade of some cash and either a couple 2nd rounders or a heavily protected first rounder should be all it takes to get a deal done.
Free Agent Options
Norris Cole (Last played for NOP)
Norris Cole is a surprising name that's still on the free agent market. Once considered a steal in the 2nd round by the Miami Heat, Cole has cooled off in recent years. He played the last season for the New Orleans Pelicans and wasn't brought back but could be a productive player for the Bucks. They signed Matthew Dellavedova in the off-season but with him expected to play more off-guard in their offense, Cole could be a perfect fit. He can shoot the ball, and he's been in the league long enough to show some of the younger guys (Rashad Vaughn) the ropes. He's also been around championship teams in Miami, so maybe he can pass off some wisdom that LeBron and D-Wade presumably passed unto him.
Ray Allen (Last played for MIA in 2013-14)
The former Bucks guard has been a hot name in recent months. He ended up taking the last 2 years off after fueling the fire in his comeback talks, but I think this year he's actually going to come back. His reported consideration of the Bucks shows to me that he isn't just out here chasing rings, and that he'd be willing to go to a team he once called home for 6 seasons and help a team achieve it's upcoming goals. With Middleton hurt he could come in and start at the shooting guard position and add his legendary 3 point shooting, all while playing an amount of minutes that would keep him fresh for the whole season.
Kirk Hinrich (Last played for ATL in 2015-16)
Hinrich has been known as a longtime Chicago Bull during his NBA career and that could be extremely beneficial to the Bucks. He's been a part of gritty teams and that's what the Bucks could end up being forced to be this season. He's an underrated defender, very smart player, and a capable 3 point shooter. Bottom line is he's a veteran player that could come in, not take too many minutes, and give the Bucks skills that they could use on both sides of the floor.