Milwaukee Bucks: Free agency contract predictions and primer

BOSTON, MA - MAY 3: (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 3: (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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MILWAUKEE, WI – OCTOBER 29: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Malcolm Brogdon

Restricted free agency is one of the weirder constructs existing in the NBA. It can often create previously non-existent resentment between a player and a team, and it doesn’t necessarily incentivize a team to be proactive in coming to terms on a deal with a player they’re hoping to retain.

In part, that may explain why the Bucks’ strategy as an organization over the years has been to get out ahead of offer sheets and come to terms on a deal. Between Middleton, Snell and Miles Plumlee, it’s safe to say the results have been mixed, and that’s if we’re being generous.

This time around the Bucks are unlikely to have the luxury of such a speedy resolution, unless they’re prepared to offer Malcolm Brogdon a deal that would catapult them really deep into the luxury tax.

Instead, the advice of Brogdon’s representatives may well be to wait for offer sheets to come in from around the NBA, particularly as teams start to strike out on targets who may have been higher up on their wish list.

Since the end of the season, all reports on Brogdon’s free agency have indicated an increasing demand and a rapidly rising price. Consider me healthily skeptical on that notion, particularly as the Chicago Bulls may not be prepared to act as a frontrunner that pushes the Bucks.

Related Story. 3 potential free agency suitors for Malcolm Brogdon. light

The kind of poison pill offer sheets that the Nets previously dished out to Otto Porter Jr. and Allen Crabbe are certainly relevant in discussion of Brogdon’s free agency. If a team really wanted Brogdon, they could front-load his offer sheet to up the potential tax payment for the Bucks, add all kinds of incentives that may be more attainable in Milwaukee than with them, etc. Finding a team willing to do that remains something of a question mark, though.

Other teams being interested in the prospect of signing Brogdon is very easy to understand. Considering his injury history and the long-lingering red flags around his health, a team being interested enough to push his salary beyond where it represents value, and also include clauses that could come back to haunt them, seems like a much more unlikely outcome.

The Nets recently paying two first round picks to get out of the deal they initiated in an attempt to force Crabbe out of Portland should be instructive to teams on that front. Brogdon is a better player than Crabbe, but paying high level role players far beyond their value to play on teams without the necessary frontline stars will likely just lead to mediocrity. In Brogdon’s case, the possibility of injury also represents a notably off-putting risk.

This isn’t to say there won’t be a market for Brogdon, but I’d personally be shocked if it goes any meaningful distance beyond $20 million, as some have recently speculated.

My guess is that the Bucks will present Brogdon with a strong early offer to make it clear he’s highly valued, and he’ll bide his time before ultimately circling back to sign when a more lucrative market for him doesn’t emerge. He’ll still be very well paid, but at a rate that will likely please the Bucks too.

Prediction: Brogdon remains with the Bucks on a four-year, $72 million deal