With the July Moratorium period finally over, the NBA can resume conducting normal business (as opposed to the six-day period when teams are definitely not conducting normal business). With their first official move, the Milwaukee Bucks have announced the re-signing of Brook Lopez.
Lopez was always the first domino the Bucks needed to knock; as we looked over the summer timeline, we understood that Milwaukee was required to use cap space first before using the exceptions that would allow them to go over the cap. This means that George Hill is the next signing we can expect to hear an announcement about, alongside any transactions that involve moving or reducing the salary of Jon Leuer (or Ersan Ilyasova). Once that’s all taken care of, we can get to the Room MLE signing of Robin Lopez and the minimum-level deals due to Wesley Matthews, et al.
But bringing it back to Brook, this signing was always a crucial one for the Bucks. Lopez is no longer an All Star player, but he is elite in the specific areas that the Bucks need him to be elite from the center position: shooting, team rebounding, and rim protection. He also happens to be an outstanding teammate and funny human, which bodes well for the Bucks’ locker room; 4 years at $52 million overall is a steep price, but the price you pay for what Brook provides. From the team’s press release:
“Brook was a valuable part of our team last season and was a key focus for us to re-sign,” said Bucks General Manager Jon Horst. “His ability to shoot the three and defend at an elite level makes us better on both ends of the floor. But just as important, Brook is a great teammate and representative of the Bucks and the city. We’re excited to have Brook remain in Milwaukee.”
Lopez, 31, averaged 12.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, a career-high 2.2 blocks (4th in the NBA) and 1.2 assists in 81 games (all starts) in a record-setting first season with the Bucks in 2018-19. The 7-footer shot 45.2% overall and 36.5% from three, setting the NBA record for threes made by a center in a single season (187) while becoming the first player in league history to average 2.0 threes made and 2.0 blocks per game over the course of a season. Lopez also became the first player in NBA history to block 150+ shots and make 150+ threes in the same season.
The NBA offseason continues, and so far the Bucks have secured the retention of their biggest (literally) target. Stay tuned for whatever happens next!