The deal involving two former lottery picks is a chance for both young players to accelerate their careers in fresh environments.
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo told ESPN’s Cassidy Hubbarth that he talked to Maker after news of the trade surfaced.
“But I didn’t try to talk to him a lot cause I know I would get emotional cause he’s technically my little brother — been with him three years,” Antetokounmpo said. “You know, it’s tough. But he’s a tough guy and this opportunity is going to be good for him.”
Johnson, 22, is averaging 7.5 points and 3.6 rebounds in his fourth NBA season with Detroit. Johnson was the eighth overall pick in the 2015 draft.
Johnson gives the Bucks, who have the NBA’s best record at 39-13, another strong wing defender as they prepare for a playoff push. He can become a restricted free agent this summer.
The 7-foot-1 Maker, who is eligible to negotiate a rookie contract extension this offseason, has shown stretches of promise in the league, but he has been in and out of the Bucks’ rotation throughout the season. He was part of the team’s second unit when Ersan Ilyasova was injured, but forward D.J. Wilson has usurped more of Maker’s minutes in recent weeks.
Sources told ESPN in January that Maker, who is averaging 4.7 points and 2.7 rebounds while averaging 11.7 minutes in 35 games this season, had told Bucks management that he would prefer to be traded to a team that would provide a larger role. He’ll get an opportunity for playing time with Dwane Casey.
Maker, 21, was the 10th overall pick in the 2016 draft.