Milwaukee Bucks: Key dates for 2020 contract guarantees and options

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 28: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 28: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

With the 2020 NBA offseason set for a much later date this year, here’s a look at the key dates for options and guarantees for the Milwaukee.

There’s no question that it’s strange for the Milwaukee Bucks to be at the end of June without having already gone through the NBA Draft, and that’s with free agency not set to open up at its customary July 1 start date in the days ahead too.

Instead, when the coronavirus pandemic brought the NBA season to a standstill back in March, it forced a much more extensive list of delays in the league’s calendar beyond what still needs to be played out on the court.

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From the Bucks’ perspective, it will be tough to give too much thought to the offseason until a resolution to the season itself is reached. Put simply, the outcome of the postseason could have such a colossal impact on Milwaukee’s future, that there’s a lot that remains difficult to project beyond that until some closure emerges.

On that front, the situation with COVID-19 in the US still presents a major obstacle for the league, but as things stand the plan remains to press forward to resume the season at Walt Disney World at the end of July, with the Bucks scheduled to travel to Orlando on July 9.

With the season still yet to be completed, the Milwaukee Bucks’ offseason is largely scheduled to play out across an incredibly busy five days in October.

If somehow the remainder of the season can be navigated to a conclusion on schedule, the absolute latest date the season could finish would be October 13. That would then leave the draft to start on October 16, and free agency to follow starting on October 18.

So what kind of timeline does that leave for the various decisions that could factor into the Bucks’ offseason? Let’s break that down step by step for you now, while those who want a clearer picture of key dates for teams around the league can refer to Bobby Marks’ guide for ESPN ($).

First up, potentially the day after a Finals Game 7, will be the decisions of two of the veterans who joined the Bucks in the summer of 2019. Robin Lopez ($5 million) and Wesley Matthews ($2.7 million) both face player options for next season, which would be the final year of their current deals.

After the draft passes in the aftermath of that duo’s decisions, Sterling Brown will be eligible to be extended a qualifying offer up until October 17, providing the Bucks want to maintain control of his future as a restricted free agent.

On October 18, free agency will open, although it won’t be until October 23 when free agents can officially sign following the end of the moratorium.

From October 18, Bucks unrestricted free agents Pat Connaughton, Kyle Korver, and Marvin Williams will also be free to speak to other teams about potential deals, if they wish, or they could also settle on terms to ensure their return to Milwaukee for at least one more year either.

October 18 will also be the date when Ersan Ilyasova’s contract will guarantee for its final year, meaning he will need to be waived before then or the Bucks will end up on the hook for the $7 million the Turkish veteran is owed next year.

Of course, October 18 could also prove to be the most significant day in recent memory for the Bucks, as it’s on that date when Giannis Antetokounmpo will officially become extension eligible, opening the door for Milwaukee to offer the reigning MVP a five-year, supermax extension to remain with the franchise.

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Beyond every other transaction combined, the success of the Bucks’ offseason will be defined by the outcome of those negotiations with Antetokounmpo. But with so many key moments and decisions possibly arriving within a five-day span from a Finals Game 7 to the opening of free agency, Milwaukee is facing up to an offseason like none they’ve ever seen before.