5 Worst signings in Milwaukee Bucks history

Tim Thomas, Milwaukee Bucks (Photo by: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Tim Thomas, Milwaukee Bucks (Photo by: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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When you’re a small market team like the Milwaukee Bucks, you’ve got to make your free agent signings count. Unlike teams in New York, Los Angeles, or Miami, the Bucks simply can’t afford to miss in free agency. They’re not a top-of-the-list destination for many free agents – at least until recently – so they haven’t had the luxury of knowing they’ll get another chance at the best free agents on the market next summer. When they take a swing at someone it’s imperative that the signing pans out.

But no organization gets every free agent move right. The NBA is littered with stories of player signings that, in retrospect, would have many of us scratching our heads and wondering how in the world a GM could have gotten his team’s owner to sign off on such an absurd deal. The Milwaukee Bucks are no exception.

Thankfully, the current regime has done a great job of finding free agents to help retool the roster. The presence of established stars and the regular threat of title contention has made John Horst’s job easier but give credit where credit is due – Horst has done a heck of a job since taking over in 2017.

Consequently, many of the names on this list might seem like a blast from the past. Let’s take a trip down memory lane and look back at some of the worst signings in Milwaukee Bucks’ history.

5. Tim Thomas got the bag but never got better in Milwaukee

After an impressive freshmen season at Villanova, Tim Thomas was drafted 7th overall by the New Jersey Nets and then quickly traded to the Philadelphia 76ers. He had an impressive rookie year averaging 11 points and 4 rebounds per game while shooting a solid 36 percent from behind the arc. His athleticism and versatility caught the eye of the Bucks and in 1999 he was traded to Milwaukee.

Thomas played some of the best basketball of his career with the Bucks. He was so impressive that then-owner Herb Kohl deemed him a “vital part of the team” and was determined to re-sign him.

Thomas ultimately signed a 6-year, $66 million dollar deal that was representative of the star potential that the Bucks clearly thought he had. Unfortunately, Thomas never quite reached the ceiling that the organization thought he had.

Thomas wasn’t a slouch by any stretch. He’d continue to average about 12 points and 4 rebounds per game during his time in Milwaukee which is solid. But not for $11 million a year. Remember, this was back in the early 2000s. Today $11 million a year for 12 points and 4 rebounds a night isn’t bad. It’s not good, but it’s not enough to land you on the “worst signings in team history” list. Back then it was inexcusable.

Tim Thomas’s time was uneventful and full of unfulfilled potential. For a player that Ray Allen once said could be the best in the league, you’d have hoped to see a lot more.