According to Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Milwaukee Bucks will exercise the $3.5 million team option on Carlos Delfino's contract, keeping the six-year veteran swingman in Milwaukee for a third season.
Delfino was a key contributor to last year's playoff run, averaging 12.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per 36 minutes during Milwaukee's torrid post-All-Star run. He provided good perimeter defense and an outside shooting threat, hitting over 38% of his threes. He looked primed to build on that stretch of solid play this year, earning a starting spot to begin the year. His season was derailed, though, after suffering a concussion in only his seventh game, keeping him off the court from early November until January 21st. Bucks fans and general basketball enthusiasts were all excited when he did return after rumors flew during his absence that the injury would potentially end his career, or that he'd be forced to wear a helmet if he did return.
Delfino wasn't immune to the general shooting malaise that seemed to infect the entire Bucks roster this season, as his shooting percentage dropped to 39%, the worst mark since his first season in the NBA. However, for much of the year Delfino was essentially Milwaukee's only consistent threat from behind the arc, hitting 37% percent of his shots from deep. Again, his post All-Star shooting was a particular bright spot, as he hit better than 41% of his threes in the second half of the season.
Milwaukee's decision to exercise the option on Delfino's contract wasn't unexpected. Despite a few less-than ideal contracts on the books, Milwaukee's cap situation remains in reasonable good shape, thanks in large part to the upcoming expiration of Michael Redd's $18 million deal, and Delfino should provide good value at $3.5 million, provided he can stay healthy. However, as our Frank Madden pointed out to me, the precarious status of the CBA does make options a bit tricky this year. Teams generally have until June 30 to exercise options, which falls just before the current agreement is set to expire. With drastic changes expected to be put in place in the new deal (such as a hard cap), teams with more substantial options built in to player contracts may face difficult choices.
But while the money seems to be largely a non-issue at the moment, the bigger question is what will become of the minor log-jam the Bucks now have on the wings. With $10 million stuck in Corey Maggette, $8.5 million in John Salmons, plus Luc Mbah a Moute headed for restricted free-agency, it's pretty much anyones guess as to who will be getting major run for the Bucks next year.
Despite these concerns, there was really no reason for the Bucks to cut bait on Carlos Delfino. He's a popular player in Milwaukee, a guy who always seemed to personify the "Work Hard, Play Hard" mantra of Wisconsin's professional basketball culture. We can only hope his next season runs smoother than his last.