Top Free Agent Targets: Milwaukee Bucks
AP Photo/Aaron Gash
Max Space: $34,701,788
Projected Cap Space: $19,549,620
1. Khris Middleton
For obvious reasons, Khris Middleton is the Milwaukee Bucks’ top priority this summer. The All-Star wingman has been their Robin to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Batman. It’s a no-brainer for the Bucks to give the 27-year old Middleton, who is about to enter his prime years, the max deal ($190M/5years) since they’re allowed to go over the cap to re-sign him as they own his Bird rights. Letting him walk away will be a major disaster not only to their championship aspirations next season, but it will also cast a doubt on their ability to keep Antetokounmpo, who will be eligible for a whopping $247M supermax extension next summer.
2. Malcolm Brogdon
Next to Middleton will be Malcolm Brogdon, a restricted free agent, who is expected to draw interest from other teams. The third-year guard had his most productive season (15.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 3.2 assists) despite missing the early part of the playoffs with a foot injury. One of only two players – the other being three-point champion Joe Harris of the Brooklyn Nets – in the league who joined the 50-40-90 club this season with magnificent shooting splits, Brogdon has positioned himself to earn a lucrative contract. This is where it becomes tricky for the Bucks. Retaining Brogdon can send them into the luxury tax threshold.
3. Brook Lopez
Another priority for the Bucks will be shooting center Brook Lopez, who helped spaced the floor for Antetokounmpo on offense and served as rim protector on the other end of the floor. This will be another tough decision for the Bucks, as they will likely have to renounce Nikola Mirotic’s rights to create enough cap space to sign Lopez and compete with what other teams can offer to ‘Splash Mountain’.
4. Dewayne Dedmon
If Lopez opts for bigger payday with another team, Milwaukee may have to look elsewhere for someone to fill his role from last season. Enter Dewayne Dedmon, who averaged 10.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks for the Atlanta Hawks last season while shooting 38 percent from outside.
5. Trevor Ariza
Ariza could come as a cheaper alternative for Nikola Mirotic while providing more teeth on defense. He’s the perfect 3-and-D type of player that could spell a big difference for them in the playoffs, especially if Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler decide to stay in the East.
6. Patrick Beverley/Elfrid Payton
If the Bucks were to lose Brogdon to a staggering offer sheet from elsewhere, they should go after the likes of Patrick Beverley, a pesky guard who can also knock down the outside shot, and Elfrid Payton, a playmaker who had a good stretch of triple-doubles with the New Orleans Pelicans last season. Bringing either one of them on a cheaper deal can give the Bucks a chance to keep some flexibility and complete other moves.