The Milwaukee Bucks were hoping to fight for an NBA playoff spot going into the 2016-17 season, but could quickly find that to be difficult with star scorer Khris Middleton likely done for the year. Middleton tore his hamstring recently and per reports, could be out for six months or longer.

Middleton’s injury will probably keep him out until March, while it could also end his season before it even begins. Best case, the Bucks can hope to make the playoffs and bring him back for a run later in the year.

That run is never happening if they don’t make a serious movie to help replace what they’re losing with Middleton on the shelf, however. The team did make a small effort already by trading for proven scorer Michael Beasley, but Beasley nor any of the other Bucks look to provide Middleton’s outside shooting stroke or consistent scoring.

It sure is a start, and it also took nothing to facilitate it. Tyler Ennis, a little-used backup point guard, got shipped to Houston for a guy who for sure can hit the floor and go get buckets.

Beasley is arguably an underrated talent that gives the bench added depth and he most certainly can help, but this can’t be where Milwaukee stops in it’s plight to improve with Middleton hurt.

Instead, if the Bucks are serious about competing this year, they need to make one or two more moves before the season starts. That could mean trading away guys like Greg Monroe, Michael Carter-Williams or others that simply don’t fit their long-term plans.

There are definitely some able bodies out there Milwaukee could target, so let’s take a look at five options that could make good sense:

Rudy Gay, F, Sacramento Kings

This makes a ton of sense for one obvious reason: Gay wants out of Sac-town.

His contract expires after this season, too, so the Bucks don’t need to worry about a big commitment or feel pressured to fit Middleton back into the rotation.

Gay provides experience, scoring and versatility right away and once Middleton returns, the two can be moved around to fit the lineup’s needs. Gay can effectively play the three or the four, while Middleton can play the two or three. Gay doesn’t necessarily solve Milwaukee’s immediate issue at shooting guard, but he can probably play there in a pinch, or the Bucks can try other options at the two.

The big draw is the Bucks get a solid, versatile talent that will be gone after the season and open the door back up to Middleton resuming his old role, and if things work out they could even explore a long-term deal. Gay makes a ton of sense for Milwaukee with their current situation, while it also gets him away from a team he apparently loathes. Because Gay wants out so bad and everyone knows it, it’s also pretty likely Milwaukee can get him on the cheap.

Gerald Green, G/F, Boston Celtics

Green finds himself back with the Celtics, the franchise that originally drafted him. It looks like his career has come full circle, but he belongs somewhere else with an actual role. It’s unclear what his role in Boston will be, but considering the insane depth at basically every position, more than 15 minutes could be difficult every night.

A shaky role has to have Green open to going elsewhere, and in Milwaukee – given the current situation – he’d be looking at a big role and maybe even one that has him starting. Green is an iffy defender and an erratic performer, but he an fill it up as a scorer and is an exciting player in space. He also knows his role and can play a niche pretty well, which could make him the perfect stop-gap option until Middleton returns. Milwaukee wouldn’t have to give up much of anything to land him – maybe a young player and a pick – if that.

Nick Young, G/F, Los Angeles Lakers

Swaggy P is a major NBA trade candidate thanks to the weirdness between him and D’Angelo Russell stemming from last year. Young has been sliding out of favor with the Lakers for years, too, so it’s only a matter of time before he gets dumped. Why not trade him to a spot where he could actually thrive until Middleton returns to full strength?

Young doesn’t really play defense and is basically a chucker, but the Bucks could use his outside shooting and overall scoring ability. He can still pile on the points and in Milwaukee could take on a pretty nice workload. Once Middleton returns, he could slide to the bench and offer solid scoring with the second unit.

Nik Stauskas, G/F, Philadelphia 76ers

Stauskas is another interesting option – maybe even more than Young or Green – seeing as he’s still quite young and may yet have the potential to develop into an NBA starter. His defense needs work and he’s far from a consistent performer, but he can shoot from long range and is generally a solid scorer and playmaker.

He still has some ways to go, but he was solid with the Sixers in spots last year and with their added depth this summer, he could see a lesser role. Unless Philly is randomly smitten with him, it probably wouldn’t take much to acquire him. Stauskas could launch three’s and help the offense while Middleton recovers and once back, Stauskas could hit the bench and offer some nice shooting as part of the rotation.

Alec Burks, SG, Utah Jazz

Burks may be the best bet yet, as injuries have slowed his NBA development and he may just need a new situation to get things back on track. Utah brought in the more reliable Joe Johnson and seems set with Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood as their main wing starters, so the writing could be on the wall that his days with the Jazz are numbered.

Burks is a nice combo player who has the athleticism to score and defend, while he also can hit the outside shot at a fine rate. Health woes are always concerning, but Burks looks to be a full go for the upcoming season and could be a nice find via trade. He may cost the most (aside from Gay) in any prospective trade, but he could be a nice value and would give the Bucks awesome depth and versatility down the road.

Aside from the Bucks trading for Rudy Gay, landing Burks is the most attractive option on this list, by far. It’s understandable if this list of potential trade targets for the Bucks doesn’t impress, but here’s a two-sided reality: Milwakee doesn’t have a ton to offer in a trade and while they want help, they don’t necessarily need a long-term answer at shooting guard.

That answer already appears to be Middleton, who once back at full strength, is going to see a huge role and heavy minutes. What Milwaukee needs is another guy who can shoot and score and either will later see his contract end or will be easy to slide back into a lesser reserve role. Gay doesn’t fit the latter description, but everyone else here does, which makes them all perfect trade candidates in their own way.

What the Bucks do going forward is anyone’s guess. All we know is that if they want to make the playoffs, they need to do something. Adding Beasley was a step in the right direction. Their next move could dictate the success they have the rest of the year.

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