Middleton Re-Signs With the Bucks
What’s the deal?
Adrian Wojnarowski reported that veteran Khris Middleton has decided to return to Milwaukee with a five-year, $178-million deal. Middleton, who was eligible to get $190 million max money, took less to help the Bucks bring back some of their core.
What does Khris Middleton bring back to the Bucks?
Middleton is coming off his first All-Star selection after emerging as the Bucks’ second best option next to the league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. He is looking to build on another solid season where he averaged 18.3 points on 44.1 percent shooting, including a 37.8 percent clip from three and 83.7 percent from the free throw line while starting in 77 games for the Bucks.
He gets the job done without any fanfare. He can hurt you on both ends of the floor. He may not be your typical flashy star but make no mistake, Middleton is the perfect sidekick for Antetokounmpo, who shares the same no-nonsense approach to the game. He spaces the floor and plays tough defense making him one of the best 3-and-D players in the league.
What does this mean for Milwaukee?
Keeping Middleton was their obvious top priority this off-season. With the path to the NBA title becoming wider following the fall of the Golden State dynasty, securing Middleton meant the Bucks will be ready to make another postseason run and try to get past the Eastern Conference Finals.
This move may also help them keep Antetokounmpo, who values loyalty above anything else, beyond next season.
How would you grade this contract?
The Bucks get an A+ for this deal. They managed to keep Middleton with less than the max money that created some flexibility to bring some members of their core back – George Hill and Brook Lopez.
The Bucks didn’t have any alternative, no thanks to the Collective Bargaining Agreement and salary cap. They couldn’t replace Middleton with any other free agent stars so keeping him was imperative or they would lose him without the ability to replace him. Losing him would have been disastrous for a small market team that was two wins away from making it to the NBA Finals. The Bucks are making a case to keep the league MVP from bolting to a bigger market.
So the Bucks’ front office did a solid job in locking him in for the next five seasons.
The 27-year old forward is entering his prime years. If there’s a knock on Middleton’s game, it’s the belief that he’s already reached his ceiling as his scoring took a dip last season. But there’s also an argument that it was because the Bucks were the best they had ever been in his six-year tenure in Milwaukee.
If Middleton can improve and the Bucks can sign Antetokounmpo to an extension, then this deal will prove to be a bang for the Bucks. But even in the event of Antetokounmpo walking away from Milwaukee, Middleton serves as their safety net to stay relevant in the relatively weaker Eastern Conference.