After months of negotiations, the Milwaukee Bucks and big man John Henson have agreed to a four-year, $44 million contract extension, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. The deal is expected to be finalized today per Stein, and it could rise to as much as $48 million over four years if Henson meets incentives, per Yahoo! Sports.
Henson, 24, was drafted by the Bucks with the No. 14 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. Now a key rotational player, his new deal solidifies a Bucks' rotation also featuring Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jabari Parker, Khris Middleton, Greg Monroe and Michael Carter-Williams.
Although his offensive game in the NBA has yet to blossom (7.0 points, 4.7 rebounds per 18.3 minutes), Henson at 6-foot-11 has been able to establish himself as one of the best shot-blockers in the league. He blocked 2.01 shots per game last season, ranking sixth behind players such as Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka and Los Angeles' DeAndre Jordan. He was the top shot-blocker per 48 minutes last season at 5.28.
In Milwaukee's six-game playoff series against the Chicago Bulls, Henson played some of his best basketball of the season. A spark of energy off the bench, his rebounds nearly doubled (4.7 to 8.0), while his points, field-goal percentage and minutes all increased. However, his advanced metrics have been a decidedly mixed bag overall. He was once again an above-average producer by PER (18.0) and WS/48 (.142) standards last season, and also upped his defensive RPM to a respectable but not great +1.32. On the downside, the Bucks' offense stalled completely with him on the court, as reflected in a wildly negative on-court offensive differential (-6.6 points/100) and -4.13 offensive RPM.
Henson is the third notable player to receive a significant contract from the Bucks the last few months. The Bucks gave Khris Middleton $70 million over five years and new starting center Greg Monroe $51 million over three years. With the cap expected to rise from $70 million now to $90 million next summer, extending Henson now avoids the possibility of him hitting the restricted free agent market in a summer when 90% of the league is expected to have significant cap space.