CO-WRITTEN BY BRADEN WAGLE AND LOUIE SNYDER
The Bucks came close to the Finals after a breakout season from Middleton and one of the most dominating from Giannis. They fell short after losing 4 straight to Toronto, now the team must look forward to an offseason that could shake up a lot. The Bucks will have plenty of decisions to make; With so many unknowns in the East, these decisions could decide the next 5 years in the East.
Bucks Cap Space: $39,562,401
Draft Picks: 30th Pick
Free Agents (UFA=Unrestricted, RFA=Restricted, Non-G=Non Guaranteed)
Khris Middleton (UFA), Nikola Mirotic (UFA), Brook Lopez (UFA), Pau Gasol (UFA), Malcolm Brogdon (RFA), and George Hill (Non-G)
Why this offseason is important?
Louie and Braden: The Bucks have a lot of free agents to resign as well as Giannis to pay in a few years, in a small market that could be hard to maintain. George Hill has $18 million next year if not cut, but it is not guaranteed basically making it a team option (they owe him $1 million for cutting him). This offseason has to work too, Giannis has 2 more years left and this year the Bucks have to prove that they can take him far. Next year it will be time for him to sign an extension and if he pulls a Paul George, Anthony Davis, or Kawhi Leonard the small market team could once again be screwed. Now people will say no way Giannis leaves he loves Milwaukee, people in Indiana thought the same when he was going toe-to-toe with LeBron, people in New Orleans were confident just a year ago after sweeping the Blazers, Kawhi had won championships in San Antonio, yet all left or are trying to leave their small market franchise.
Braden: The Bucks don’t have enough cap to do anything crazy. If they let everyone go they could try to lure another superstar, but Milwaukee doesn’t have anything but Giannis to pitch. That makes the first order of business keeping Middleton. The bad part is he is going to get PAID. Some team will strike out on KD/Kawhi and look towards Tobias Harris and Khris Middleton to fill that role.
The next key piece will be bringing back Lopez. The issue with Brook Lopez is the lack of Bird years making it impossible for the Bucks to go over the cap to resign him. They will likely have to let Mirotic walk.
Louie: I agree letting Mirotic walk is the move and bringing back Lopez. Next, they have to resign Malcolm Brogdon. Not only that but they have to start him. They have to let George Hill go and start Brogdon. In the small market, the Bucks will need to keep the cap low and not go crazy when they still have to sign Giannis.
After that, the team will need to find a cheap veteran depth. Aminu and Marcus Morris would be great veterans on the wing to help the team win now. It could give leadership in the locker room. It also gives them depth to replace Mirotic.
Braden: Another player to look at is Corey Joseph. Indiana might not bring him back with Aaron Holiday on the rise, and he could be just the veteran to bring in at the Mid-Level Exception to help the team win now.
The 30th pick is interesting, there will not be a lot of talent but another shooter could be a nice addition. Carsen Edwards or Kyle Guy could both fit in here, as would another stretch big man like Grant Williams.
This offseason will decide the Bucks future.