The night before the 2023 NBA Draft was certainly an eventful one for several other teams across the league, including the Milwaukee Bucks.
The Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards, and LA Clippers were in deep talks on a three-team deal, but it fell through with just over an hour until the late-night deadline. Swapping out the LA Clippers for the Memphis Grizzlies, the Wizards and Celtics completed a massive three-team deal. While all of that was going on, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Khris Middleton would decline his player option worth $40 million with the Bucks for the 2023-24 NBA season.
Reaction to Khris Middleton declining his player option with the Bucks
This news isn’t too shocking. For months, the belief has been that Milwaukee wants to retain the forward on a new long-term deal. Opting out of his option allows Middleton and the Bucks to work on a new deal at a lower cost. HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto recently spoke to executives around the NBA who believe Middleton’s new deal could be somewhere around $130 million over four years. That would be around $32.5 million on average, which is quite less than what he would have been making on that player option.
Keeping Middleton is the right move for the Bucks. They likely would not get anything close to equal value in a sign and trade, and letting him walk would be nothing short of disastrous for a team like the Bucks, who have limited avenues to improve as is. Along with Brook Lopez, the main priority for Milwaukee this off-season is retaining these two players in free agency.
After the season he just had, some may be hesitant to give Middleton a new long-term contract. Yet, at 31 years old, Middleton still has plenty of good basketball left to be played. Middleton had dealt with a nagging knee injury this past season, but he has reportedly undergone surgery since the season ended to try and fix the issue moving forward. Hopefully all went well with that so that Middleton can get back on the court as soon as possible.
It’s not set in stone that Khris Middleton will return to the Bucks, but him opting out of this deal allows him to get a much bigger contract from Milwaukee in the coming weeks.
Stay tuned for more Milwaukee Bucks analysis and 2023 NBA Free Agency news.