Entering a loaded offseason for the Milwaukee Bucks, the front office will face plenty of key personnel decisions that will affect the outlook of this title-contending team moving forward. While retaining Bobby Portis should be the top priority on Milwaukee’s offseason to-do list, securing Pat Connaughton, another critical role player, should be a main focal point as well.
Milwaukee’s star trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday are all under contract for next season and will surely remain with the squad, so this offseason for the Bucks will be centered around maintaining and enhancing the supporting cast.
As the Milwaukee Bucks prepare for next season, securing Pat Connaughton’s future with the team will be a crucial component this offseason.
Pat Connaughton will encounter a player option worth $5.7 million for the 2022-23 NBA season. After another career year with the Milwaukee Bucks, the expectation is that the 29-year-old wing will decline the option and enter unrestricted free agency this summer.
Connaughton averaged a career-high 9.9 points per game and shot 39.5 percent from 3-point range this season. Additionally, the Notre Dame product was consistently efficient on both ends of the floor across the postseason and clearly identified himself as a star in his respective role.
He’s seemed to have found a home in Milwaukee after wrapping up his fourth season with the Bucks. Connaughton spent the first three years in the league with Portland, but ever since arriving in Milwaukee, he’s been a spark off the bench for the team each year.
Connaughton is an excellent 3-point shooter, modern floor spacer, versatile and switchable defender, and an outstanding locker room presence. It’s safe to say that the two-way asset is in the prime of his career right now.
With that being said, Connaughton could be looking to cash in this offseason with eyes set on a more substantial contract. There’s no doubt that it would be deserving, especially when you consider how essential his impact was this season and throughout Milwaukee’s 2021 championship run.
The Bucks hold Pat Connaughton’s bird rights and could sign him to a similar contract extension that Grayson Allen received. Given the current market, Connaughton would likely be worth around $8.5 million per year.
Although, since Connaughton has become strongly attached to the organization and the city, it would not be a surprise if the true competitor took more of a team-friendly deal to stay longer with the Bucks.
Following the loss to the Boston Celtics in the second round of the NBA Playoffs, Connaughton had this to say during his exit interview:
"“Milwaukee’s home for me. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of this organization and come in at a time where we weren’t championship contenders and help us become that, and I don’t think I take that lightly. I know I try to look at things a little bit differently, look at things other than just the monetary value that it can literally bring, competing for championships, playing alongside guys like Giannis, and Jrue, and Khris, playing for our owners here and coach Bud and Jon Horst, and I think they’ve done a really good job here in Milwaukee to create a family-like culture and that’s something that I’ve always been about. It’s not just about looking at dollars and cents, it’s about looking at the organization as a whole and looking at my teammates and these guys have become like brothers to me.” – Pat Connaughton"
Evidently, Connaughton has developed a strong relationship with the Milwaukee Bucks’ organization and community that includes his teammates, coaches, management, ownership, and other employed members of the franchise. From his own words, it can be assumed that Connaughton prefers to stay with the Bucks long-term with hopes of competing for more championships with his “brothers” in the city that he calls home.
If Pat Connaughton declines his $5.7 million player option this offseason, the Milwaukee Bucks should do everything in their power to retain their vital rotation piece, even if it means diving deeper into the luxury tax. Connaughton clearly wants to continue his successful stint with this close-knit organization and winning culture, and the feeling should certainly be mutual.