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Bucks prepare for free agency after dealing sole draft pick

June 21, 2019
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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver poses for photographs with Southern California's Kevin Porter Jr. after the Milwaukee Bucks selected him as the 30th pick overall in the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
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NBA Commissioner Adam Silver poses for photographs with Southern California's Kevin Porter Jr. after the Milwaukee Bucks selected him as the 30th pick overall in the NBA basketball draft Thursday, June 20, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The NBA draft came and went without the Milwaukee Bucks adding a player to its roster.

Milwaukee drafted Kevin Porter Jr. of Southern California with the 30th overall pick Thursday night, but that selection is expected to go to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bucks and Pistons agreed to a trade that will send Jon Leuer to Milwaukee in exchange for Tony Snell and the 30th pick. Cleveland then struck a deal with the Pistons for that pick.

“For our draft tonight, even though we didn’t get any results, we were up there and worked it really hard,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst said. “We probably made a call on almost every pick. We did make a call on every pick in the second round. We tried to get in the first round in a few ways. We did our best.”

Trades are not official until the new league year starts July 6.

Milwaukee, which lost to the eventual NBA champion Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference finals, now sets its sights on building a roster for next season.

“Now we head into free agency,” Horst said. “We feel really good at where we’re at.”

Horst said the purpose of the trade was to create more room to keep the core group of MVP finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo, All-Star forward Khris Middleton and guard Malcolm Brogdon together. That group helped lead the Bucks to a 60-22 record in the regular season, the best in the NBA.

Middleton is expected to become an unrestricted free agent, while Brogdon will be a restricted free agent. Teams can begin negotiating with players on June 30.

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Keith Jenkins can be reached at https://twitter.com/MrKeithJenkins

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