Giannis, Yelich each win an award at the ESPYs

The awards continued to roll in for Giannis Antetokounmpo and Christian Yelich last night.

After claiming NBA MVP in June, Antetokounmpo was named Best Male Athlete and Best NBA Player at the ESPYs. He’s the first Milwaukee Bucks player to win either award at the show, which began in 1993.

Yelich, meanwhile, earned Best MLB Player following his 2018 NL MVP season. The Milwaukee Brewers slugger is the first player in franchise history to win the award. Yelich was also up for Best Breakthrough Athlete but lost out to New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley.

Former Wisconsin soccer star Rose Lavelle also earned an ESPY as part of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team. They were named Best Team for their historic run through the World Cup, which they won last Sunday with a 2-0 win over the Netherlands. Lavelle scored the second goal in that game and received the Bronze Boot, recognizing her at the third-best player at the tournament.

You can find a full list of the award winners here.

Bucks agree to two-year deal with Thanasis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks have agreed to a two-year deal with Thanasis Antetokounmpo, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Thanasis is the older brother of 2019 NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Add Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez, the Bucks will feature two pairs of brothers next season.

The contract will be guaranteed and is expected to pay Thanasis a total of $3 million. The 26-year old played in Greece with Panathinaikos the past two years. His last stint in the NBA came in 2015-16 with the New York Knicks.

He was drafted with the 51st overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Knicks. He went on to make NBA D-League All-Defensive Teams in both 2014 and 2015. He shouldn’t be expected to have a big role with the Bucks, but the move will surely make Giannis happy.

Malcolm Brogdon heading to the Pacers

The Milwaukee Bucks entered NBA Free Agency with the knowledge they needed to make a few tough decisions. Restricted Free Agent Malcolm Brogdon was high on that list.

On Sunday, the Bucks made their decision on the combo guard. After retaining free agents Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, the Bucks decided to move on from Brogdon.

The good news is they didn’t lose him for nothing. According to a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Milwaukee agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Indiana Pacers sending Brogdon in exchange for a first-round pick and two second-round picks. Brogdon will sign a four-year, $85 million deal with Indiana.

If the Bucks decided to match the Pacers’ offer, they would’ve gone into the luxury tax. This move may have had more to do with money than anything else. Replacing Brogdon will have its own challenges. He is coming off a season where he shot over 50% from the field, over 40% from three-point range and over 90% from the free throw line becoming just the eighth player in NBA history to post those numbers.

This move will give Milwaukee some cap flexibility for the future and a few much-needed draft picks. GM Jon Horst has shown he has plenty of tricks up his sleeve during his time in the Bucks’ front office. It will be interesting to see what his next move is.

Khris Middleton re-signs with Bucks for five-year, $178 million deal

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.”

Report: Bucks, Brook Lopez agree to four-year deal

The Milwaukee Bucks aren’t wasting any time getting the crew back together. When free agency starts Sunday night, Brook Lopez is planning to sign a four-year, $52 million deal to stay with the Deer.

The 31-year old center was a key signing for the Bucks last season. He averaged 12.5 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 28.7 minutes per game. Lopez also converted on 45.2 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from beyond the arc. He was the first player in NBA history to average two-plus blocks and two-plus three-pointers made per game.

Head coach Mike Budenholzer now has the perfect center locked up for the next four seasons. Lopez allows the Bucks to space the floor offensively opening up driving lanes for the league’s MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Once known as a dominant post-up player, Lopez has evolved his game to fit today’s NBA. He also does as much on the defensive end as he does on the offensive side. A dominant rim protector, Lopez is able to clog the lane forcing difficult shot attempts at the basket.

This move is a no-brainer for the Bucks.

Nikola Mirotic agrees to Barcelona contract

The Milwaukee Bucks traded for Nikola Mirotic prior to February’s trade deadline during the 2018-19 season. Now, a free agent, Mirotic has agreed to a deal with FC Barcelona’s basketball team on Saturday. This was first reported by Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.

Mirotic averaged 15.2 points and 7.4 rebounds while shooting 36.4% from beyond the arc last season during his time with the New Orleans Pelicans and Bucks.

According to the New York Time’s Marc Stein, Mirotic was drawing interest from the Utah Jazz and Dallas Mavericks. A source who spoke with The Athletic’s Jordan Brenner estimated the stretch forward could make around $13 or $14 million per year. It’s a surprising move for Mirotic knowing what he could command on the open market.

The 28-year old veteran spent six seasons playing with Real Madrid before coming to play in the NBA. He was named MVP of the Spanish League in 2013.

Bucks reportedly set to waive guard George Hill

George Hill’s time in Milwaukee may be at an end.

According to Yahoo’s Shams Charania, the Bucks intend to release the veteran guard as they look to free up salary cap space in advance of free agency beginning on Sunday. The report says Milwaukee is working to find space to bring Hill back at a lower salary.

Hill arrived in Milwaukee last season as part of a trade with Cleveland. When Malcolm Brogdon went down with an injury in mid-March, Hill took on a much bigger role and excelled, especially in the playoffs. He averaged 11.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists while shooting 41.7-percent from beyond the arc.

The 33-year-old was due $18 million for the 2019-2020 season. By cutting him, Milwaukee saves $17 million. Much of that could go to re-signing unrestricted free agents Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, along with restricted free agent Malcolm Brogdon.

NBA free agency gets underway Sunday at 5 p.m. CT.

NBA Executive of the Year goes to Bucks GM Jon Horst

Milwaukee Bucks General Manager Jon Horst has been named NBA Executive of the Year. He becomes the second General Manager in Bucks history to win the award.

“We congratulate Jon on earning this well-deserved award,” Bucks owners Wes Edens, Marc Lasry and Jamie Dinan said. “Jon has played an instrumental role in building the Bucks into a championship-caliber organization and we are thrilled that his fellow team executives throughout the league recognize his great work.”

Horst was hired two years ago at the age of 34 becoming the youngest GM in the league. In his second season, Horst hired Mike Budenholzer, who was named the NBA Coach of the Year. He also made the decision to not bring back Jabari Parker. Horst signed center Brook Lopez and forward Ersan Illyasova in the offseason. He was able to shed the contracts of John Henson and Matthew Dellavedova. Horst has done a tremendous job consistently improving the roster.

“The team, Jon, that you put together – unbelievable,” Budenholzer said in his acceptance speech. “Every night we walked out we felt like we had a great chance and that’s because of the job you did.”

Horst earned a three-year contract extension, keeping him in Milwaukee through the end of the 2022-’23 campaign.

Bucks’ Mike Budenholzer named NBA Coach of the Year

Mike Budenholzer came to Milwaukee with a lot of expectations. He was hired to get the Bucks to reach their potential. Budenholzer definitely did that.

The Bucks finished the regular season with the best record in the NBA at 60-22. They held the top defense and net rating. 45 of their 60 wins (75%) were won by double digits. It is the second-highest percentage of wins coming by double digits in a single season in NBA history. Now, they have the coach of the year. He joins Don Nelson as the only coaches in Bucks history to be named NBA Coach of the Year.

This is the second time Budenholzer has won the award. He last won it due to his work guiding the Atlanta Hawks to 60 wins in 2014-15. Budenholzer beat out finalists Doc Rivers of the Los Angeles Clippers and Michael Malone of the Denver Nuggets to earn the award Monday night.

“We are thrilled for Coach Bud in winning NBA Coach of the Year,” Bucks General Manager Jon Horst said. “In his first season, Bud instilled a new culture and dynamic style of play that led us to 60 wins and the best record in the league. As a great communicator, he quickly earned the confidence of his players, who played hard for him night in and night out. On behalf of ownership and the entire Bucks organization, we congratulate Coach Bud for this well-deserved honor.”

Budenholzer earned Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honors in both January and February last season and was named head coach of Team Giannis for the All-Star Game.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo wins NBA MVP

The Milwaukee Bucks’ star Giannis Antetokounmpo has won the 2018-19 NBA MVP award.

Giannis joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in Bucks history to earn MVP honors.

The Greek Freak averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game leading the Bucks to the best record in the NBA at 60-22. He was a First Team All-NBA and First Team All-Defense selection. He earned Eastern Conference Player of the Month honors in Oct./Nov., December, February and March/April last season. Giannis also captained his All-Star team after receiving the most player votes, the second-most fan votes and tied for the second-most media votes among all players.

“We are beyond proud of Giannis for earning his first MVP award,” Bucks GM Jon Horst said. “This well-deserved honor is due to his relentless hard work and dedication in becoming the most impactful player in the NBA. Giannis propelled the Bucks to great heights last season with his leadership, drive and unselfish play. His grace on and off the court has made him one of the most admired players in the world. On behalf of ownership, the entire Bucks organization and Bucks fans everywhere, we congratulate Giannis for being named MVP.”

James Harden and Paul George were the two other finalists for the award. According to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck, Giannis received 78 first-place votes, while Harden received 23. George did not receive any first or second-place votes.

An emotional Giannis took the stage to give one of the more memorable MVP speeches in history.

“Two years ago, I had the goal in my head that I’m gonna be the best player in the league,” Giannis said through tears. “And I’m gonna do whatever it takes to help my team win and I’m gonna win everything. Every day that I step on the floor, I always think about my dad, and that motivates me and it pushes me to play harder and move forward.”

You can watch his entire speech below: