Late Monday afternoon, the Bucks moved to shore up their frontcourt depth by fortifying the center position and did so by bringing back a familiar face...
That’s right, the Lopez Brothers are reuniting again with the Bucks, the only team they’ve played for together since they both attended Stanford. While Brook has played in the Cream City since 2018 and just signed his third contract with the team a few days ago, Robin spent the 2019–20 season with Milwaukee, appearing in 66 games (five starts) as a rotational big. He averaged 5.4 PPG, 2.7 RPG, and 0.7 BPG in 14.5 MPG during that shortened campaign while adding a three-point shot, hitting 35 of his 105 attempts (.333 3P%) and breaking out his signature tea bag dip-and-sip celebration.
That still represents a career-high in 3PA and he’s attempted just 28 since across three seasons with Washington, Orlando, and Cleveland. While he was a regular rotation piece with the Wizards two years ago, he’s played only 36 and 37 games since the 2021–22 season began; his 8.1 MPG as a Cav last year represented a career-low. Given that, it seems like the 35-year-old will be a deep bench option for Adrian Griffin’s squad, but as Brook’s literal double, perhaps he could again provide some facsimile of his brother’s production.
One thing’s for sure, there will be no shortage of hilarity and content with the Bros Lo reunited. I recall the two Disney adults chartering a plane back in 2019 to head down to Orlando—where they own offseason homes—for the opening of some Star Wars attraction at Disney World during the season. Robin was famous for collaborating with the Antetokounmpo brothers and Wesley Matthews (maybe he’ll want to come back too now?) on a WWE-style pregame ritual. So good vibes all around, even if the two of them present the act that they (or was it their cats?) don’t like each other all that much.
As mentioned, he’s more of an insurance option as the fourth center-capable big on the roster behind his brother, Giannis, and Bobby Portis, who all see regular minutes at the 5. He’ll likely slide into the role filled by Serge Ibaka and Meyers Leonard over the last two seasons, instead of the rotation regular he was during his last Bucks stint. He had a one-year minimum contract last year in Cleveland and given that Milwaukee isn’t really in position to offer anything above a minimum currently based on their proximity to the second apron, he’ll undoubtedly get another such deal as the tenth rostered Buck for 2023–24.
If we assume Jae Crowder’s as yet unreported salary to be $4m, the Bucks are now just over $7m beneath the second apron with four spots left to fill. That means that without making a trade to clear some salary off the books, the absolute most they could use of their taxpayer midlevel exception is about $3.69m. A vet minimum contract to Thanasis would cut that figure to just under $2.79m.
Until then, let’s celebrate the return of the NBA’s best sibling rivalry. Welcome back, Robin!