1. Re-signing Brook Lopez
Brook Lopez signed a 2-year, $48 million contract
The Milwaukee Bucks have won a title and Giannis Antetokounmpo a pair of MVPs because of their superstar’s ability to dominate inside on offense and rove the court on defense. While the ability is all Giannis, the opportunity is largely created because of the presence of Brook Lopez.
Few players in the entire NBA can combine his high-volume 3-point shooting with his defensive dominance in the paint. Lopez is one of the league’s two or three best rim protectors, using his massive size and savvy positioning to completely wall it off from all comers. Driving at the rim with Lopez in the paint is a recipe for disaster.
The Bucks knew that without Lopez they didn’t have a true title-contending roster, not without any mechanism to effectively replace him. Despite his age (35) and position, the Bucks went to the mat to pay him, outbidding teams like the Houston Rockets to hand Lopez $24 million per season.
It likely cost the Bucks more per season to bring back Lopez because they kept the length of the contract at just two years, but he is absolutely worth $24 million next year, and keeping the contract short gives the Bucks much-needed flexibility down the road for when Lopez does drop off. This was the move they had to make, and they did.