The Milwaukee Bucks and Khris Middleton agree to terms on a new contract for five years at $178 million. It was first reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Middleton previously declined his $13 million player option.
A second-round pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Middleton has spent the last six seasons in Milwaukee after one season with the Detroit Pistons. This is the richest contract ever signed by a second-round pick.
The 27-year old is coming off his first All-Star season. He averaged 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists while helping the Bucks to a 60-win season and Eastern Conference Finals berth.
The deal isn’t quite a max contract but is close to it. The Bucks could’ve offered Middleton $190 million over the next five years.
Many people will look at this deal as a bit of an overpay for a player like Middleton. He’s a good basketball player, for sure, but is he worth close to the max?
The answer may not even matter in this situation. Given the Bucks cap situation, they couldn’t sign anyone near the level of Middleton. He’s a long, versatile forward who can shoot the three-ball and takes the challenge of defending the opposition’s best wing. This was a no-brainer for Milwaukee.
The Bucks came two wins away from reaching their first NBA Finals since 1974. Letting their second best player walk for nothing would be far worse than overpaying for him.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was this year’s MVP and is without a doubt the most important player on the team. But, there’s also no doubt this team would be worse off next season without Middleton. If they want to remain contenders over the next several seasons, they’ll have to open up their checkbooks and pay their role players.
“Giannis and I want to win a championship together some day,” Middleton said. “We’ve both already gotten back in the gym this summer and are determined to make next season special. This team is on a mission to win it all for our city.”