As NBA free agency blasts off, the Milwaukee Bucks have done the
impossible unsurprising: Tony Snell has been signed to an extension according to Adrian Wojnarowski, who rocketed off his first tweet after an extended absence today to prep for his new role at ESPN. The number isn’t unexpected, many thought Snell would slot in around this price range and the $44M figure is the amount of guaranteed money on his salary. Woj is also reporting that Snell will have a player option after the third year of this contract.
Sources: Tony Snell has agreed to 4-year, $46M deal -- $44M guaranteed -- to return to Milwaukee. Player option... https://t.co/2KNELDMrdS— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2017
Entering his fifth season and going into restricted free agency, the Bucks were reportedly inclined to retain Snell’s services, provided the price tag wasn’t outlandish. Fans interested in keeping his career-year production (8.5 ppg on 0.455/0.406/0.810 splits) were understandably bullish on his 2016-17 season as a new floor, while other fans are skittish about offering $11 million to a role player, given the returns on the contracts for Mirza Teletovic, Matthew Dellavedova, and John Henson.
On its face, though, the deal makes sense. This seems like around the going rate for a guy of Snell’s tools who’s flashed at least for a season. Whether that will pay dividends is a question that can’t be answered now. What we do know is Tony Snell provided much-needed wing defense and shooting to the Bucks, communicated well on the court, and was widely praised as a positive locker room presence. His emergence was a godsend given the sudden absence of Middleton due to injury, and envisioning a season of MCW and Malcolm Brogdon coexisting in the backcourt makes me shudder. The Snell trade was a massive boon, but there is certainly reason to be cautious about re-signing a guy who’s only had one appreciably successful season. His overall makeup fits precisely the sort of mold Milwaukee needs though, rangy wings who can switch positions and primarily guard 1s and 2s.
His defensive statistics weren’t spectacular last year, but he was oftentimes tasked with guarding the best perimeter player, freeing up Khris Middleton to survey the floor as a roamer once he returned. He often stepped onto opposing point guards too, since neither Dellavedova nor Brogdon have the foot speed to keep up with them. Snell needs to get stronger to avoid getting bullied by bigger guards, but his rocket release and willingness to fire away at 4.4 3-point attempts per game was consistently helpful.
The success of this deal will largely rely on whether he can keep up his superb perimeter shooting skills from last season. He will most likely never be someone able to create off the dribble, but Snell recognized his role wholeheartedly and embraced it. You can’t always say that about a young player, and the fact he wants to remain in Milwaukee to hopefully improve upon his success thus far speaks to a high opinion of the organization. Snell seems like a logical first signing, much like the Middleton signing on the eve of midnight two years ago. Let’s hope this one still looks half as good as that one two years from now.