Grading Chris Livingston’s historic rookie deal with the Milwaukee Bucks

Nov 23, 2022; Lexington, Kentucky, USA: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 23, 2022; Lexington, Kentucky, USA: Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports /
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Shortly after selecting Andre Jackson Jr. with the 36th overall selection in the 2023 NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks were back on the board at 58.

They landed on Chris Livingston of the Kentucky Wildcats. It had been reported by NBA insider Shams Charania during the draft that Livingston’s well-known agent, Rich Paul, had told teams not to take his client, as he seemingly had a draft promise from someone. He had also canceled seven of his scheduled workouts ahead of the draft for the same reason. The Bucks ultimately got their guy, and he got a historic rookie deal. With all of that said, let us grade the decision by looking at the contract, his fit, role, and long-term outlook.

The financial aspect of Chris Livingston’s deal with the Milwaukee Bucks

This is the historic part of the deal. Livingston’s rookie deal with Milwaukee is worth $7.7 million, which is the largest ever for the final pick of an NBA Draft, per Charania. Only the first two years of the deal are guaranteed, which makes sense for a second rounder. The Bucks clearly have faith in Livingston after giving him the largest-ever salary for a player selected last. It’s certainly one of their more interesting decisions from this off-season thus far.

It’s a bold strategy by the Bucks, but it makes sense. More than ever in recent memory, it seems like the front office wants to invest in youth. They want to develop young pieces into legitimate on-the-court contributors, and they’re clearly willing to pay the price to do so if it’s a player they feel strongly about. Financially, it’s a lot of money for a final pick, but fans should keep in mind that Livingston very well could have gone much higher had his agent not told teams to stay away.