Milwaukee Bucks Roundtable: Previewing crucial free agency

SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 24: (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 24: (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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SACRAMENTO, CA – FEBRUARY 27: (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
SACRAMENTO, CA – FEBRUARY 27: (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images) /

5. Do you feel that Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon and Brook Lopez will be overpaid, underpaid or adequately paid on their next contracts?

BS: The downside of success is that it does not come cheaply. Unlike Golden State who had impeccable timing with their free agents, after the Bucks’ best season in three decades, their entire core (minus Giannis) became free agents. Brogdon (20M+) and Middleton (30M+) in a vacuum are certainly not worth the deals that they’ll receive but the NBA is not played within a vacuum. The circumstances around their free agency mean that these deals are required and entirely justifiable from Horst.

DL: As we discussed on Win in 6 on Friday, they’ll likely be overpaid, especially Brogdon and Middleton. If we’re comparing their contracts to what other guys are making, and what their likely production will be over those contracts, I doubt either of those players plays up to what their actual dollar value will be.

That said, if the Bucks win a title, which they’re more than capable of doing if they retain all three guys, that money will have been well spent. Given that retention is their best and likely only path to contention next year and beyond, it will have been money well spent, even if it’s not great value in a vacuum.

IS: I think they’ll all be technically overpaid, but I also don’t care. First of all, it’s not my money. I don’t care if the owners have to pay the luxury tax, that’s the cost of having the luxury of a competitive team. I think the desire to Moneyball free agency comes from a pretty negative mindset. The Bucks are trying to win titles. When’s the last time the A’s did really well in the postseason? Do you want a cheap team, or do you want a title?

I also think Bucks fans really underestimate the talent of Middleton, Lopez, and Brogdon. Brogdon was a 50-40-90 guy! You pay those types of dudes whatever they want.

JT: All three had productive seasons last year and all were important to the Bucks’ overall success. Therefore, they’re all going to be handsomely paid for that and deservingly so. It’s all a necessary evil the Bucks will have to live with to maintain their current contending window.

SR: I suppose in a vacuum, Middleton will be overpaid, but relative to what the Bucks’ alternatives are, it’s necessary. Brogdon at $18-$20 million per year I think is adequate, as he hasn’t shown that he has hit a true ceiling yet. This is not a popular opinion, but I’m willing to bet on a still-ascending Brogdon as more likely to live up to the value of his next contract (as long as he remains with the Bucks) ahead of Middleton, Lopez, and Bledsoe and their contracts. If Lopez remains at around $12-$15 million per year, I also think that is fair and adequate for what he brings to the Bucks.

AM: I think Lopez may be the exception, but Middleton will certainly be overpaid and Brogdon will likely join him in that category. Regardless, all of this is relative, as Ben alluded to. Retaining that trio is the Bucks’ route to building the best possible team with the resources available to them this summer. If it wasn’t for Middleton and Brogdon’s Bird rights, $12 million in cap space wouldn’t be cause for great encouragement.