After a disappointing third NBA season with the Milwaukee Bucks, Sterling Brown is in the open market as an unrestricted free agent.
I don’t know if you’ve heard, but it’s been quite an exhilarating and strange week for the Milwaukee Bucks for plenty of reasons.
Of the many mysteries going on this week, we finally got an answer on one of the many questions surrounding the Bucks going into free agency, that being the status of Sterling Brown. The Bucks had until 4 p.m. central time Thursday afternoon to tender Brown’s $2 million qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent.
Only the decision never came through any report and even some of the best Bucks beat writers out there, like Eric Nehm of The Athletic ($$), were unable to confirm whether Brown is or isn’t a restricted free agent well past the deadline.
Thankfully, Keith Smith of Real GM confirmed early Saturday morning that the 25-year-old Brown was not tendered his qualifying offer and is currently an unrestricted free agent.
For all of that time to pass without a definitive answer, it certainly seemed the likely outcome after such a mysterious way for things to transpire. Mind you, all of this speculation came even as the Bucks reportedly tendered Frank Mason III his qualifying offer Thursday evening, making the two-way player a restricted free agent.
Where does Sterling Brown’s future in the NBA lie if he doesn’t return to the Milwaukee Bucks?
It’s not all that surprising to see Brown’s tenure in Milwaukee potentially end on such an unceremonious note. Not after the struggles the SMU product endured through over the course of the 2019-20 season.
Brown suffered a major regression last season as he averaged 5.1 points on a .371/.324/.800 shooting splits, 3.5 rebounds and an assists over his 52 appearances on the year. It serves as Brown’s least efficient on record, as evidenced by his career-worst 3-point percentage as well 48.6 true shooting percentage.
While the Bucks were able to rely on the defensive toughness and the strong rebounding output Brown in over his spot minutes, it wasn’t enough for him to be deemed a reliable piece within their rotation. That is, when he was in it.
It’s certainly not the way Bucks fans envisioned for Brown’s time in Milwaukee once he arrived more than three years ago after the team acquired his draft rights on the night of the 2017 NBA Draft. But the flashes that Brown showed over the last three seasons never helped him blossom into something more than a depth contributor that still struggled to see the floor when it mattered most.
Brown hitting the open market unrestricted is just the latest indication for how much different the Bucks’ wing rotation will be next year. Yes, Pat Connaughton is back after reportedly signing a two-year, $8.3 million deal Friday night, but Wesley Matthews is reportedly LA bound after agreeing to a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. And who knows if Kyle Korver plays another NBA game.
Brown will certainly have some takers in free agency, even if those offers may not come rolling in, as he plays a position that is highly valued around the NBA. But given everything that has happened, it would be shocking to see him back in Milwaukee after the Bucks effectively turned him loose going into free agency.