Here’s the deal: You know why we’re here and I know why we’re here, and that reason is to continue discussing the waves of free agency until the cows come home. Instead of a long-winded intro, here’s a wrap-up of what the Bucks have nailed down as of last night:
- Khris Middleton is back on a five-year, $178 million deal with a player option on the fifth year
- Brook Lopez is back on a four-year, $52 million contract that features no options or non-guarantees
- George Hill will also return to Milwaukee on a three-year, $29 million agreement with a partial guarantee on the third season
- Robin Lopez joins Milwaukee on a two-year deal for the room mid-level ($4.8 each year) with a player option for the second season
- Malcolm Brogdon’s tenure with the Bucks is at an end as he was signed to a four-year, $85 million deal and traded to the Indiana Pacers in exchange for a future first and two second-round picks
- Nikola Mirotic is heading abroad after agreeing to terms with FC Barcelona
- Sterling Brown and Pat Connaughton will have their deals for next season guaranteed
That was all that had broken by the time I went to sleep, but it is safe to say there are plenty of other shoes waiting to drop. For example, in order to bring Hill back the likes of Ersan Ilyasova needs to get traded or Jon Leuer waived/stretched. In addition, Robin Lopez won’t be the last random FA name linked to Milwaukee.
Revel in the chaos and revel in peak NBA off-season.
Khris Middleton: Why I’m staying in Milwaukee (ESPN)
This one lacks that certain type of faux-”real” feel over at the Players’ Tribune, but this Khris Middleton released this statement to ESPN’s Malika Andrews shortly after agreeing to a new deal with the Bucks. If I were to guess what the main motivating factor keeping Khris in Milwaukee was, I'd certainly place my bet on the fact that the Bucks could pay him meaningfully more money than any other team. That, and he likes custard.
I found it of particular interest how he references the fact that he and Giannis have been “through it all” together — hinting at a deeper relationship than we witness from the outside. Nothing would bring them (or us) greater joy than seeing those years working together rewarded with the ultimate prize. Congrats on the deal, Khris; we’re going to need your A+ game.
Malcolm Brogdon trade grades: Who wins the deal? & Bucks better or worse after these free-agent moves? (ESPN+ - Subscription Required)
Apologies for the paywall, but there’s only so much instant-analysis floating out there beyond our bubble about the moves made yesterday. ESPN’s Kevin Pelton gets to be our initial national-media Rorschach test!
First, he gave the Bucks a C for the Brogdon trade. Pelton references the unique blend of all-around talent Brogdon is and how well he could continue to fit in with Milwaukee even at a high price. There is also a nod to the fact that there are still pretty serious concerns about the long-term health of Malcolm’s left foot (a break there kept him out an entire season in college), so the risk avoidance makes some sense.
Then, generally, the worry for Pelton isn’t so much how the Bucks will do in the regular season, but who will step up in the post-season if the likes of Eric Bledsoe falters once again. It’s a legitimate concern and one I share, though I’m willing to wait for any other moves before passing full judgement.
Greek Freak Antetokounmpo announces he’s playing at the World Cup (FIBA.com)
Giannis has been upfront from the very start how important representing Greece in international play would be and he’ll get his next chance this summer at the FIBA World Cup.
The relationship between Antetokounmpo and the Greek Federation has been somewhat estranged the past few years with the Federation accusing the Bucks of malfeasance in 2017 and then having a grudge with Giannis’s agents in 2018. Looks like the two sides have patched things up since then, though, and as of now we’ll get to see more Giannis starting August 31st when Greece faces Montenegro.
Nike Unveils Giannis Antetokounmpo’s First Signature Sneaker (Sports Illustrated)
Well, the aptly named “Zoom Freak 1s” have arrived and... they look fine? I’ll defer to the sneakerheads among us to pass a final verdict on the style and colorways available, but I thought it worthy of posting if only as yet another highly visible sign of Giannis’s skyrocketing profile. Plus, this promotional image is slick as can be:
Sideline reporter Katie George leaves Bucks for ACC Network (OnMilwaukee)
This one is for those of you who get into the little details of the media surrounding the Bucks. Katie George, who joined the FS Wisconsin broadcast team just a year ago, has jumped at a chance to join the fledgling ACC Network (owned by ESPN) as an anchor and sideline reporter.
George, an alumni of Louisville where she played volleyball, did a wonderful job in her year with the team and gave the broadcasts, interviews, and other team media projects a shot of vigor. It was only a matter of time until a new opportunity came knocking, and we wish Katie the best of luck on her next step!
Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brother Thanasis To Start A Basketball Academy For Underprivileged Children (Newsweek)
Milwaukee Bucks, Wisconsin Herd leadership discuss G League’s success (Oshkosh Northwestern)
The Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s G-League affiliate, followed up a successful first season with a 12-38 mark last year in what can only be described as a disappointment. For Herd GM Dave Dean the overriding question heading into year three is what type of balance to strike between full-fledged developmental lab for Bucks prospects and a deeper (by G-League standards) squad that can make it to the playoffs.
There was less rotation of two-way players in 2018-19 than in 2017-18, but that was offset by increased bouncing back and forth of guys like Christian Wood, Sterling Brown, DJ Wilson, and Donte DiVincenzo. Accommodating those players can be a double-edged sword given the talent they bring to minor team. With a new coaching staff search underway and two years of experience in the bag it’s an open question which direction the Herd will head going forward.
The Social Media Section
Giannis continues his campaign of clowning herbs in recreational gyms around the globe
You know it’s over when I got my FREAK shirt on ♂️ https://t.co/a3Bwf89BCc— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) June 28, 2019
All the Giannis MVP content you can handle
Behind the scenes with the MVP!! #NBAAwards pic.twitter.com/d1UkJczcL7— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) June 28, 2019
Whoever it was last week who said they’ll take Bledsoe family content over no content at all? This one’s for you
I work hard to encourage my kids to do their best and to always reach for their dreams, no matter the circumstances. And yes, my wife got it right--I am the fun parent @PlayersTribune @amfam #AmFamPartner pic.twitter.com/5sL0AfVGqZ— Eric Bledsoe (@EBled2) June 28, 2019
*insert inane marketing drivel giving hallowed importance to the color blue here*
Nike giving Giannis a full treatment of logos and brand marks. pic.twitter.com/yMG3hwRgpb— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) June 28, 2019
Marques Johnson continues to have an outstanding social media presence
Great experience! I was shooting around with Mike when I casually dunked. MJ:C’mon on old man, that wasn’t part of your game. ME:I must’ve been doing something right since you had my poster on your wall at NC. MJ:You right, you for me on that one. I loved your game!#classic https://t.co/Lra7lYu9P2— Marques Johnson (@olskool888) June 26, 2019
Wonder how Khris was prepping to sign the biggest deal of his life?
Still confused how Shannon Brown had a 20 year NBA career 20 years before Sterling came into the league
LeBron James commented on this post... Bledsoe a Laker by next season’s trade deadline?
Oddly enough we’ll be getting the return of (sorta) Bucks basketball this Friday when Summer League opens in Las Vegas. The (sorta) Bucks will be playing the (sorta) Philadelphia 76ers at 2:30 PM Central in what will assuredly be the first step to a (sorta) championship. I’ll need plenty of DJ Wilson highlights to fill the Malcolm Brogdon-shaped hole in my heart.
By the time this publishes there is every possibility that Robin Lopez is a Buck with a 10-year, $37.5 million deal. I eagerly await your takes, grades, and reactions to everything Jon Horst has done to try and keep the Bucks in prime position for another run at the Finals.