“It’s never personal:” With 30 wins at the All-Star break, Bucks make surprising move; trading Brandon Knight

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Jason Kidd

MILWAUKEE (WITI) — The Milwaukee Bucks have had a remarkable season so far. They have 30 wins at the All-Star break, compared with just 15 for the entire season last year. These Bucks want to own the present as well as the future, which is why they made a surprise move on Thursday, February 19th — trading point guard Brandon Knight.

“It’s never personal. It’s never personal. Once it becomes personal, that’s when feelings get hurt,” Milwaukee Bucks Head Coach Jason Kidd said.

That’s what Kidd said on Wednesday night when asked whether it’s hard to separate the business side of NBA trades with the personal/relationship side.

“The Bucks family that we’ve created here, it’s about what these guys have done on the court. It always will be about the guys on the court. This is a special group, so everybody’s talking about the trade deadline and making moves, but sometimes it’s alright not to make a move, or it’s alright to add a piece — but the chemistry, there’s nothing that can be broken with the chemistry here,” Kidd said.

It seemed like a stretch to think that the Bucks would pull off a deal when they treated their fans to an open practice at noon Thursday in the Al McGuire Center on the Marquette University campus. Shortly after it ended, the team beat Thursday afternoon’s trade deadline buzzer with a surprising move.

Brandon Knight, having an All-Star season, was sent to the Phoenix Suns in a three-way deal for Philadelphia’s Michael Carter-Williams — the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year.

The Bucks also received point guard Tyler Ennis and forward center Miles Plulee from the Suns.

Knight is a restricted free agent. It is possible that the Bucks didn’t feel comfortable paying him what he would have been worth in the market. The 6’6″ Michael Carter-Williams is a pass first point guard who will mesh well with Giannis Antetokounmpo and first round draft pick Jabari Parker in the future.

The Milwaukee Bucks are also the surprise team in the league — the first in NBA history to double their win total from a year ago by the All-Star break. If the playoffs opened right now, sixth-seeded Milwaukee would play the Chicago Bulls in a first-round series.

“When we come back from the West Coast trip, it’ll be March, and you’re fighitng for a seeding. There’s quite a few teams below us that feel they have a chance to make it, so we still have to continue to build on what we started in the first half and get better at it,” Kidd said.

Sooner or later, the Bucks have to start getting love from the rest of the professional basketball world. Giannis Antetokounmpo affectionally called “the Greek Freak” is garnering national attention. His All-Star experience in the Rising Stars game and the Slam Dunk Contest in New York was awesome — except for what you might say was a “traveling call.”

“You know, my flight was cancelled three times,” Antetokounmpo said.

No complaints from the 20-year-old who speaks with youthful exuberance about what lies ahead in the final 29 regular season games and hopefully beyond.

“Today at practice, all the guys was treat. We work hard. Everybody came back ready. I hope we compete the same way — keep playing hard the same way and keep getting some wins,” Antetokounmpo said.

There is a different vibe about the Bucks this year — under new ownership and Jason Kidd, with a big assist from holdover General Manager John Hammond. There is a winning culture. Kidd, who gives all the credit he’s been getting to the players, continues to say what he said in Training Camp: It’s a process, and his young Bucks are still in Stage One.

“We’re learning how to play with one another. We’re learning how to win, so there’s a lot of good things going on and we just want to build on it,” Kidd said.

Bucks fans would certainly agree.

The Bucks haven’t officially announced the trade or said whether their new players will be in uniform when the team hosts Denver on Friday night, February 20th at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

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