NBA Free Agency: Middleton to Re-sign with Milwaukee

(Image via YouTube)

Well, it has been quite the 12 hours already in NBA free agency to say the least. During this time period from July 1 to July 8, players can “agree in principle” to sign contracts with teams, which is the equivalent to college recruits verbally committing.

About 9 hours ago, while you were hopefully sleeping, the Bucks “agreed in principle” with Khris Middleton on a max contract for 5 years and $70 million according to ESPN’s Marc Stein.

After we reported a few weeks ago that a quick agreement was expected to be reached, it indeed was only a few hours after free agency officially started. The re-signing of Middleton was never really in question, but his value as a max contract player was the only remaining worry for Bucks fans. The number may look high right now at $14 million/year, but once the cap goes up from $67 million in 2015-16 to the projected $108 million cap in 2017-18, this deal should look very reasonable. The best way to explain the deal is how Grantland’s Zach Lowe explained it: “$14 million in 2016 will be equivalent of $10 million using last season’s $63 million cap, while $14 million in 2017 will be the equivalent of $8.2 million in today’s cap terms.” P.S. O.J. Mayo makes $8 million/year right now.

Middleton, the #39 overall pick in the 2012 draft who was traded to the Bucks as a “secondary” piece in the Brandon Jennings and Brandon Knight deal, only made $915,243 last season. He averaged 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game last season, shooting 46.7% from the field and 40.7% from the 3-point line. His defense in the Bucks’ scheme was excellent in Jason Kidd’s first season, and many believed he became a max player once Knight was traded again to the Suns due to his importance on the floor.

Now, the Bucks turn their attention to trying to sign a center, as they met with Greg Monroe very late last night and plan to pursue Robin Lopez. At this time, we will not know exactly how Middleton’s contract will affect the cap until it is official on July 8. On the surface, it does not give the Bucks much cap space, around $2-3 million. But, there are reports the cap could go up to as high as $69 million, which would really help the Bucks. Regardless, if the Bucks can trade one or two players (Jerryd Bayless, Tyler Ennis, and Miles Plumlee would make sense), they will be in a much better spot to sign rookie Rashad Vaughn and the free agent center. They could always backload the free agent center’s contract for this season knowing how much the cap will go up in coming seasons. We will keep you updated on any moves by the Bucks.

 

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