oldballcoach1
With no draft choices and free agency around the corner, what moves will we see happen in Milwaukee??  Middleton has opted out, but most seem to think he will re-sign for maybe a max deal.  It sounds as if Brogdan is probably in line for an offer sheet of around $20 million from the Bulls.  Lopez will be a sought after free agent coming off of last season.  George Hill will hit the market and offers a veteran presence at the point and Mirotic is a proven shooter.  

Lots of questions right now around the Bucks and with a lack of salary cap room to operate with, getting the keys guys back may not happen.  

For me, it all starts with Middleton.  Reports are he will take less to stay in Milwaukee, but many are skeptical of offering him the max deal after his recent playoff performances.  I wouldn't mind seeing him walk - especially to someone out west - say the Lakers.  For what they will have to pay him to stay, the Bucks could use that money to sign two others and keep Brogdan and Lopez.  
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cameroncrazies02
It's very important to remember that if we were to let Middleton walk (not going to happen) that doesn't automatically free us up cap room to go out and sign another player.  It would free up some, but it would only free up enough to sign someone of lesser talent.  We need to settle into the fact that Middleton is coming back.  I think it's very true that there's already an agreement in place that Middleton is re-signed at 5 years and a shade under the max.  Here's the path I fully expect the Bucks to take....

Middleton has a $19M cap hold, Mirotic has a $18.5M cap hold, Lopez a $4M cap hold, Brogdon a $3M cap hold-cap holds are earmarkers in place for free agents so teams can't go out and spend all of their cap space, then re-sign their own players on top of it. 

-Mirotic is renounced
-Leuer is stretched to $3.2M over the next 3 years against the cap
-Hill is waived, $1M owed to him in guaranteed money

Doing all of this would leave the Bucks, including cap holds and keeping their other non-guaranteed contracts (Brown and Connaughton) with about $19M in cap space.

-Lopez has to be signed first.  He's an unrestricted free agent, so it's important to sign your other free agents FIRST because you can go over the cap to sign your own players, but can't go over the cap, to sign other free agents sans exceptions.  Say we sign Lopez into space at $12M per year, that leaves around $7M in space.

-You can use that money to sign other free agents, fill needs at backup PG, wing, PF and C.  This could include re-signing George Hill.

*It's important to note though, these deals are going to come quick.  You can start negotiating June 30th at 6 pm and come to handshake agreements.  July 6th is when official contracts are signed, and I expect Brogdon to either be re-signed by the Bucks or sign an offer sheet from another team on July 6th.  The Bucks will have 48 hours from then to match.  If you don't have that money assigned by then, Brogdon is signed into that space and you lose that cap space.

-Brogdon signs with Bucks or signs an offer sheet and the Bucks match.  Woj estimated Brogdon will get an offer sheet up to $18-20M per year.  Anything under $20M per year is fine.  $20M and over is going to be tough.

-Middleton's max (I stand corrected from earlier post) is $32.7M per year.  If he takes less than the max at 5 years, it'd be around $30M per year. Sign him to $30M or under per at 5 years.

Middleton at $30M per, Brogdon at $18M per and Lopez at $12M per, with all those other scenarios playing out, puts the Bucks just under the luxury tax line.

-Now the Bucks would have the room mid-level exception, not the full mid-level available to them.  The room mid-level is something like $4.5M.  You can use that to sign any number of players you want.  Using this would then put the Bucks into the luxury tax.  The Bucks owners seem willing to pay it, it's just a matter of whether you want to be a luxury tax team this year when the numbers are going to be close.  If you're going to go into luxury tax land, you might as well blow the roof off of it.  Say the Bucks go $4M over the luxury tax line, they'll pay $1.50 per $1 spent over the line up to $5M over the line in the first year.  A second year luxury tax team would pay $2.50 per $1 spent up to $5M over the line.  And those rates increase as the amount you go over the line increases and increases every year you're repetitively over the line.  The Bucks stand to be over the luxury tax when Giannis is signed to the supermax.  So it'd almost be more beneficial now to stay under the luxury tax when they're just a few million over than when they're $20M over when Giannis max kicks in.

-To be able to use the room mid-level, then stay under the luxury tax, the Bucks would have to cut cost throughout the season.  They did that this past season.  They were over the luxury tax line throughout the season, but by season's end, they were under.  Your cap sheet isn't official until the end of the year, so you have until the end of the year to get under.  The move then would be to cut salary which could be an Ersan salary dump at the deadline considering his contract is only $7M expiring this season.  

So all that said, the best scenario would be George Hill takes the room mid-level at $4M-ish per year (maybe something like 2/8 or 3/12 with a team option, instead of using cap space, because then you have that $7M to play with mentioned earlier.  With all those moves done, here's the roster.

PG-Eric Bledsoe, George Hill
SG-Malcolm Brogdon, Sterling Brown, Donte Divincenzo
SF-Khris Middleton
PF-Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ersan Ilyasova, DJ Wilson
C-Brook Lopez

You can carry 15 players, the Bucks notoriously carry 14.  That leaves our roster at 10.  You need another SF, a backup center, probably another hybrid SG/SF OR backup PG and an additional PF wouldn't hurt.  Now we have $7M to fill in 4 players.  You can probably comfortably spend $2M on one player, then fill three others with the remaining $5M.  Those are all going to have to be minimum salary guys.

Sign Kyle O'Quinn at $1.6M, Tim Frazier at $1.5M, Jared Dudley at $2.4M.  That leaves you with $5.5M spent of $7M.  The Bucks signed Christian Wood to a non-guaranteed contract last season with a minimal partial guarantee.  That's a smart move because you give yourself an out if cost cutting is needed at the trade deadline, I'd expect them to do something similar to that.  Those are just some quick random names I threw out there and the salaries are minimums based on their years of service.  The younger the player is, the less their minimum contract is.  These are going to be the last spots the Bucks fill, so don't panic on those.  We picked up Connaughton off the scrap pile very late in the summer for a minimum contract with a team option for year 2 which was a phenomenal grab.
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oldballcoach1
The one guy that I see missing is Pat Connaughton.  I really thought he gave the team a lift many times through the season.  His athleticism was pretty impressive and he was able to knock down shots.  Hopefully they are able to keep him around.  
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cameroncrazies02
The one guy that I see missing is Pat Connaughton.  I really thought he gave the team a lift many times through the season.  His athleticism was pretty impressive and he was able to knock down shots.  Hopefully they are able to keep him around.  


I knew that didn't seem right.  Connaughton is around next year.  We signed him to a 2 year, minimum deal with a team option for year 2.  Obviously they'll pick up that option.
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cameroncrazies02
Giannis Antetokounmpo wins MVP-
-This wasn't a surprise.  When the ballots were returned, there was a lot of predicted ballot returns that put Giannis at the top of the list and he took it home.  He had one of the most moving speeches I've heard since Kevin Durant's.  He doesn't love public speaking and it showed, but he was nervous and very emotional, far more emotional than I ever expected.  He credited everyone from the owners, previous regime, to his family.  This though, really shows how bad the award show is.  Not only is it 70+ days from the last regular season game which kind of takes away from his win, it puts the award on a stage that is attended by really only players that are getting awarded.  Watching Durant when he won, he was surrounded by his teammates and was given all the time in the world to talk about every single one of his teammates which would've felt far more genuine than what this was.

Coach Budenholzer wins COY-
-I thought this would be close, but he edged out Mike Malone and Doc Rivers for the award.  His speech showed a lot more emotion than we've ever seen from Bud.  He choked up talking about his players and family.  For all that was said about him in the series against TOR, this is a regular season award.  Bud trusted every single part of his system and led the Bucks to their best regular season since the 1970's.  Bud is slowly developing his own coaching tree-he previously had Quin Snyder in UTA, and Kenny Atkinson in BKN under his staff, and now Taylor Jenkins, an assistant in MIL last year, got the HC job in MEM.  

Jon Horst wins EOY-
-I was surprised at how close this was.  He narrowly edged out Tim Connelly of DEN for the award.  Masai Ujiri wasn't even in the top 3 which was a big surprise to me considering the job he did.  But again, this is a regular season award.  Horst managed to ride the storm of both improving your roster and giving yourself cap flexibility.  The Mirotic trade is really the only black mark on his record, but at the time, it was a great move.  Mirotic just wet the bed in his time in Milwaukee.  He turned some of our worst, most hindering contracts (Delly, Snell and Henson) which seemed previously unmovable into a valuable player, Hill, and cap flexibility (Leuer) while only giving up a two very late 1sts and 2nd round pick. You put that all together, that's $38M in dead weight contracts and didn't have to give up any young, established players on the roster.  
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oldballcoach1
I am hearing Boston is very interested in Lopez.  Woj has indicated that several times on his stints on ESPN.  This worries me some as the Celtics do have the cash to spend and they could be really active in free agency.  Hopefully if they are giving Middleton his money right way Sunday, Lopez isn't far behind and signed by Monday.  
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cameroncrazies02
I am hearing Boston is very interested in Lopez.  Woj has indicated that several times on his stints on ESPN.  This worries me some as the Celtics do have the cash to spend and they could be really active in free agency.  Hopefully if they are giving Middleton his money right way Sunday, Lopez isn't far behind and signed by Monday.  


The Celtics are going hard after Kemba Walker and seem to be the front runners.  BOS has been positioning itself to be a max salary slot team and they've achieved that.  They're not going to split up all of their cap space to sign 3 guys, they're going after 1 and that 1 is Kemba.  Once BOS signs Kemba, they're not going to be able to sign Lopez into cap space, they'd only have the MLE to offer.

While Middleton may agree to a contract quickly, he won't sign it for some time.  He needs to be the last guy we sign as we can go over the salary cap to sign him.  The Bucks will have money to spend non-team free agents and because we don't have any rights to Lopez, he'll be the first one we'll sign.  The Bucks will probably offer him something in the range of $12M per year for 3 years.  

Looking at the teams who have cap space that would have a need for Lopez, the list is-Sacramento, Dallas, New Orleans, LA Lakers, Boston.  

Now looking at free agent centers available-Al Horford, Nikola Vucevic, Brook Lopez, Jonas Valanciunas, Demarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein, Kevon Looney, Thomas Bryant

Sacramento and Dallas are probably going to go after Horford/Vucevic.  LA and Boston are chasing max free agents.  That leaves New Orleans as the lone team that could give the Bucks some contention for Lopez.  New Orleans cleared cap space for something.  They're wanting to either go after a max or near-max guy or split it up amongst two guys.  I think we have the edge over any other team because of how Lopez was able to play this year, the winning culture, the locker room melding so well together and the fact that we're probably going to spend more than just the MLE to keep him.

Lopez isn't the guy to worry about.  Brogdon I'm far more worried about.  There are a lot of teams with a lot of cap space that are going to give Brogdon an offer sheet that will make it difficult for the Bucks to match.  A front loaded contract at or above $20M per year will be tough to match and I'm preparing already for life after Brogdon.
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mickjagger
Khris Middleton signs a 5-yr deal for $178M ($35.6M @ yr) ... Brooks Lopez signs  4-yr deal for $52M ($13M @ yr) and the Bucks trade Malcom Brogdon to Indiana for a 1st-rd pick & two 2nd-rd picks.

Link:
https://www.jsonline.com/story/sports/nba/bucks/2019/06/30/lopez-return-bucks/1595331001/
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cameroncrazies02
Khris Middleton signs 5/178-anything under the max was going to be good and this was $12M less than the max.  Horst has done a good job getting guys to take a little less including Bledsoe thus far.  Every penny counts.  There wasn't another option unless you wanted the team to get worse.  To sign ANYONE it would've cost the Bucks Middleton and Lopez.  And besides that, Middleton was one of the 7 best free agents on the market.  No, Tobias Harris and Bojan Bogdanovic are not better in any facet.  Middleton has been a beaten down dog amongst Bucks fans and this year, he struggled for most of the regular season with his shot (and still shot 44% from the field, 38% from 3) and played stellar defense.  Then he cooked for most of the playoffs.  

Brook Lopez re-signs at 4/52-what's funny is just a few years ago, this was the exact contract Hammond doled out to Miles Plumlee.  How far we've come.  I'll be interested to see the contract parameters, I'm wondering if the 4th year is a team option because Horst loves his options.  In comparison to other centers, Horford got 4/109, Vucevic got 4/100, Jonas Valanciunas got 3/45, DeAndre Jordan got 4/40, Thomas Bryant got 3/35.  That's what's important here, you have to look at the market value, not the numbers overall.  I'd take Lopez or Vucevic and Valanciunas straight up and they both got more than him per year.  And I'd take Lopez over Horford at those numbers.  Lopez was the catalyst to everything on both ends of the floor.  He was the defensive anchor and offensive floor spreader.  Locking him up with Giannis was crucial.

Bucks trade Malcolm Brogdon to IND for 1st round pick, two 2nd round picks, IND signs Brogdon to 4/85-I said all along, my walk away number was 4/80 and that was pretty clearly Milwaukee's too.  What this says about ownership vs the actuality of it varies.  Some believe this means the owners aren't going to pay the luxury tax.  In reality, matching that offer for Brogdon hard caps us and we can't re-sign Hill or any other free agents for anything more than bare contracts.  Sign and trades were aplenty this off-season, but this was a bit of a stunner.  This was IND saying they wanted Brogdon so bad that they were willing to give up assets to do it and get MIL not to match.  That's some excellent work by Horst.  IND could've signed him to that sheet and waited it out and MIL probably doesn't match anyways.  With MIL's bare chest of draft picks, re-upping some of them gets them to a very good position for future moves.  Don't be surprised to see a Leuer or Ilyasova + IND's 1st type trade to bring in another player.  

Bucks sign George Hill to 3/29-before I grade this deal, I'll have to see it on paper.  My guess is the third year is a team option which would be great.  It'd come off the books then the year Giannis supermax kicks in.  Hill was so good for MIL down the stretch once he found his role with the team.  He looks rejuvenated with this roster and he's such a steady weapon off the bench.  

Bucks sign Robin Lopez to 2 yr, $9.5M contract-again, before everyone jumps to conclusions, this is about market value at this point for a backup center.  Ed Davis got a tad more than Lopez for the same role.  And the Bucks now have a legitimate backup center.  Backup center was a concern for me all year after they traded Thon, especially once Gasol went down with injury.  Locking up a legitimate backup is crucial.  Now the Bucks can focus on their backcourt with future moves.
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db11
League sources reporting the Bucks are signing Wes Matthews on a league minimum deal.

If they can get anything resembling Portland Wes Matthews this could be a great signing.
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oldballcoach1
I have always liked Mathews and it is great to see him end his career coming back home.  The fact that he was willing to take the minimum speaks a lot about the team and organization.  
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traviswilson
Just gotta hope it works out better than Novak.
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oldballcoach1
With the signing on Mathews, that seems to make the Bucks heavy at that 2/3 swing type player.  Add in Sterling Brown. Divencezo,  and Pat Connaughton, one of those guys gets left out.  Something is going to get done with Leuer and he will get moved on somehow.  Combining Leuer, Ersan, and maybe one of those 2nd round picks for another asset - looks like a 3 would make sense - seems likely.  

Seems like this is the roster right now.  
Bledsoe - Hill
Mathews - Brown - Connaughton - Divencenzo
Middleton - 
Giannis - Wilson - Illiasova
Lopez - Lopez
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gstacy
Jabari Parker is available.
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db11
gstacy wrote:
Jabari Parker is available.


Not happening. Nor should it.
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