Evaluating the Milwaukee Bucks 2019 Offseason
After a 60-win season that fell just two games short of the NBA Finals, the Milwaukee Bucks are now in the midst of one of their most important off seasons in franchise history. Keeping their core intact has been priority number one, but the Bucks have also brought a couple new faces aboard since free agency began on June 30th. Let’s take a look at each of the moves the team has made so far, and what kind of impact it will have on the team in the 2019-2020 season.
Bucks re-sign Khris Middleton
Both Middleton and the Bucks voiced their desire to work out a new deal together, and it came together very quickly. Shortly after free agency began it was reported the Bucks would sign Middleton to a five-year, $178 million contract.
Bringing back Middleton seemed likely for the team all along. He has grown and developed in Milwaukee alongside Giannis and is coming off his first All-Star campaign in 2019. He is a pure scorer, plays well with Giannis, and genuinely seems committed to bringing a championship to Milwaukee.
Although Middleton has earned the money, it is a hefty contract which some fans are skeptical of. But like it or not, Middleton is this team’s number two guy and rightfully got paid as such. Whether he lives up to the contract or not remains to be seen, but for now the Bucks know they have another year with their big three of Giannis, Middleton, and Bledsoe intact.
Malcolm Brogdon traded to the Pacers
After the Bucks signed Middleton, it was almost a given Brogdon would be gone. Thanks in part to his restricted free agency, the Bucks were able to work out a sign and trade deal with the Pacers rather than just losing him outright. The Bucks received a future first-round pick as well as two second-round picks in return for the guard.
For Bucks fans, it is sad to see Brogdon go. He is a solid player on the court, and an even better guy off of it. However, after the season it just seemed like he himself knew he might be the odd man out, and this was the move the Bucks had to make. The hope now will be that he doesn’t propel the upstart Pacers past the Bucks in the Central Division.
Bucks re-sign Brook Lopez
Lopez was one of the sneakiest and best signings of last offseason, and the Bucks made sure they would keep him in the cream and green for a little while longer, signing him to a four-year, $52 million contract.
While the deal will not make the biggest headlines, there is no doubt Lopez is crucial to the current structure of this roster. His presence immediately improved the team’s interior defense and rebounding, giving the Bucks a paint presence they sorely lacked. His impact offensively cannot be understated either. He allows the Bucks to stretch the floor and Giannis to be able to play more in the paint with his solid three point shooting.
Lopez brings a fun yet business like personality that this team needs as well. Keeping him for a pretty reasonable amount of money is big for this team.
Bucks sign Robin Lopez
After one Lopez brother worked out so well for the team last year, general manager Jon Horst is trying to catch lightning in a bottle again by signing twin brother Robin Lopez. Lopez didn’t have a great year last season with the Bulls by any means, but he has been a serviceable center in the league for years, providing solid defense and rebounding.
You can never have enough big men on your team, and bringing in Robin was a good depth signing for the Bucks. It will be very fun to see how he plays with his brother, reunited for the first time since their Stanford days in college. Bucks fans can expect some fun moments from the two on and off the court next year.
Bucks re-sign George Hill
The Bucks traded for Hill in early December last year in what was essentially a salary dump move. But Hill provided good depth at the guard spot and excelled in the playoffs, bringing big time scoring when the team needed it against Boston and Toronto. His play in those series is really what earned him his new three-year $29 million contract.
Hill is an important piece as a backup point guard to Bledsoe. But he will also be tasked with playing some two guard and masking the loss of Brogdon. It is clear Hill has comfort with his former assistant and now head coach Mike Budenholzer, and the experience he brings to the locker room is still big for this team.
Bucks sign Wesley Matthews
A Madison, Wisconsin native and former Marquette Golden Eagles standout, Wes Matthews is coming home. Matthews is a cheap signing but a good one for the Bucks. He provides exactly what the team needs: a two guard, a three-point shooter, and another experienced veteran.
Matthews hasn’t averaged eye popping numbers over the last couple years, but he has a chance to excel in Coach Bud’s “let it fly” system. Jon Horst has made several underrated moves in his time as Bucks GM, and this one could very well join the list when it’s all said and done next season.
Bucks sign Thanasis Antetokounmpo
The signing of Giannis’s older brother is not going to garner many headlines, but it is a good one for the Bucks. Thanasis is a lanky, athletic player like his younger brother, and has untapped potential that could be unleashed by playing with Giannis.
More importantly, this signing is big for the Bucks off the court. Giannis will be a free agent after the 2019-2020 season, and the Bucks will do everything they can to keep him in Milwaukee. It is no secret how much Giannis values his family, as evidenced by his MVP speech.
Having Thanasis in the Brew City for two years could make it hard for Giannis to want to leave. It was a smart play by the Bucks, and hopefully he can contribute on the court sooner than later as well.
The Bucks have had a solid offseason up to this point. While the loss of Brogdon is tough, being able to retain starters Middleton and Lopez, and a key bench contributor in Hill is very important. Adding Matthews and Lopez adds more depth, and bringing in Thanasis Antetokounmpo is a power move that could pay dividends on and off the court.
They may not be done yet, as there are still some names out there such as Kyle Korver who the Bucks are rumored to go after. Time will tell what happens next, but for now, it looks like the Bucks have set themselves up for continued success in the upcoming season.
Contract info via Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter