It was only a matter of time before we got some real free agency news related to the Milwaukee Bucks, and it came in the form of Pat Connaughton continuing to build his real estate empire in Milwaukee with a 2-year deal worth $8.3 million, per Woj.
Player option on the second year, his agents tell ESPN. https://t.co/4sWp1un9Xb— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
The player option seems to follow a trend the Bucks have started the past two years, with both Wes Matthews and Robin Lopez getting that flexibility when they signed their contracts last year. Of course, that ultimately led to them each departing for different waters this offseason.
Connaughton likely thinks he could have a similar, maybe even enhanced, role in Milwaukee given the Bucks lack of capable rotation players at this stage of free agency. He outplayed his contract (at least in the regular season) the past two years, so bringing him back at a low enough price feels like a solid enough move, particularly given some of the pricey alternatives that have already swiftly been taken off the board in the first few hours of free agency.
What re-signing Connaughton doesn’t necessarily solve is finding Horst the shooting that will translate to the Playoffs that he espoused as a key target for this offseason. Pat hustles, rebounds and does some of the little things, but he’s also a streaky shooter who lost his grip on playing time in last year’s Playoffs. He’s the first domino to fall in a post-Bogdan disaster free agency period for the Bucks, we’ll see if there are any more needle-moving deals on the horizon.
Well, apparently it’ll be a 3 year deal for Connaughton, and at an even higher per-year price...
Free agent guard Pat Connaughton is returning to the Bucks on a longer than originally anticipated deal – 3 years, $16M -- agents Jeff Schwartz and Jordan Gertler of @ExcelSM_bball tell ESPN. https://t.co/4sWp1un9Xb— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
We’ll have to figure out why exactly they decided to “reshape” the deal for a bit player unlikely to meaningfully change their Playoff fate. It’s quite possible it’s due to the inability to give a player option based on how they resigned him (early bird rights), like Frank points out, but we’ll see how this all shakes out.
So @rcon14 just pointed out to me that Early Bird deals can’t have 2nd year options, which would mean Bucks might have backed themselves into using part of the MLE on Connaughton which would of course be a REALLY bad move (and worse than giving an option in first place)— Frank Madden (@fmaddenNBA) November 21, 2020