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Report: Bucks Extend Connaughton, Lock In Core

Planet Pat will cash in after declining his player option this summer.

Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Six Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Don’t look now, because the Milwaukee Bucks have done it: general manager Jon Horst has officially locked up the last lingering loose end of the team’s core. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Bucks wing Pat Connaughton – who not too long ago surprised many by taking his player option for the 2022-23 season – has been extended by the team for another three seasons.

Connaughton, 29, has been a key bench piece for Milwaukee for the past four years after taking a chance on a minimum-level contract as he departed the Trail Blazers after his rookie deal. Planet Pat was the sixth member of the Bucks’ six-player rotation against the Nets in their run to the 2021 NBA Championship, and his athleticism and versatility has all but guaranteed a spot on the floor in high-pressure situations. This extension is a pleasant surprise, but not at all surprising, considering how soon this was settled after it was reported that he would return this year on his $5.7M player option.

Up until next offseason when this extension kicks in, Connaughton will have earned just over $19 million across five seasons with the Bucks, putting his new salary (approaching the eight-figure mark) in a new perspective. He doesn’t have the box score totals or advanced stats to immediately justify his compensation to casual fans – and even some hardcore ones! – but his importance to the team and in the locker room was never in doubt. And of course, of course, Jon Horst made sure to get his guy a player option in the deal.

The Milwaukee Bucks are running it back once again. Last season didn’t end in a trip to the NBA Finals, and the smart money is betting that this squad has enough to push through again if things can at least go somewhat well for them. All the stars aligned for them two seasons ago, and with a talent as transcendent as Giannis Antetokounmpo at the helm, the odds are that it was not lightning-in-a-bottle. That level of continuity is rare in the era of modern sports, and Bucks fans should count themselves lucky to be a part of this stretch. Because it’s not just about Giannis, but how he works off of and elevates the game of guys like Pat, or Khris, or Jrue, or Brook, or Bobby, or anybody else who has become an integral part of this close-knit group.

Lucky for Pat, he punched his ticket and is a part of this very exclusive core. We’re glad to see him commit long-term, and the next season can’t come around quickly enough!