After reportedly signing a three-year, $16 million deal on the opening of free agency, Pat Connaughton is extending his stay with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Much has changed for the Milwaukee Bucks in the last week, but one friendly face has extended his stay in the Cream City with free agency opening Friday evening.
News broke late that night that the Bucks have reportedly re-signed Pat Connaughton on a two-year, $8.3 million deal as first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. After plenty of confusion, Connaughton’s deal was amended and it became a three-year, $16 million deal as Wojnarowski reported Saturday afternoon.
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Connaughton’s reported re-signing came on the heels of the Bucks losing rotation pieces such as Robin Lopez to the Washington Wizards and Wesley Matthews to the Los Angeles Lakers.
That’s on top of the Bucks reshaping their roster in a blockbuster deal Jrue Holiday and their failed bid for Sacramento Kings restricted free agent Bogdan Bogdanovic.
So with all that in mind, Connaughton being the first piece of Bucks action may look very underwhelming by comparison, especially in light of their recent additions as well. But let’s look at Connaughton’s re-signing critically as we evaluate his return to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The value of Pat’s deal
Let’s get down to brass tax, especially as it pertains to the confusing saga that saw Connaughton agree to a deal that wasn’t permissible under the CBA to getting another year and more money annually.
Many salary capologists have broken it down better than I will, but the original agreement to bring in Connaughton wouldn’t have been able to be signed under an early Bird rights exception, given the reported player option in the second year. That brought both parties back to the negotiating table and led Connaughton getting an extra year and more money annually than the original framework.
The Athletic’s John Hollinger ($$) scathingly broke it down to a T in his running column on the latest free agency happenings and it all just paints the picture of frantic nature of the Bucks’ offseason, especially after the Bogdanovic deal going bust. When you read the multiple ways the Bucks fumbled their way towards agreeing to the deal they now have with Connaughton, among other things, it’s hard to unsee it, even if you’re not versed with doing some cap gymnastics.
On the other hand, the position the Bucks were in coming into free agency after the Bogdanovic saga put their backs against the wall. And agents will pounce on teams that may or may not have a backup plan in place like the Bucks may or may not have had after missing out on Bogdanovic so publicly.
So with now a three-year deal to retain Connaughton’s services on their books, the Bucks essentially bidded against themselves, even as there were looming whispers that a team with cap space could have made the Bucks sweat with Connaughton’s free agency.