A memorable season has come to an end for the Bucks. After winning a league-best 60 games, Milwaukee fell two wins short of making the NBA Finals, losing to the Toronto Raptors in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Like many teams, the Bucks have some key decisions to make this summer. They'll have an opportunity to run it back with almost the same roster, but it will likely come at a hefty price.
Here's what they will be working with heading into the offseason...
Khris Middleton, F, UFA - $13.0 million player option for 2019-20 season
Tim Frazier, G, UFA
Nikola Mirotic, F, UFA
Brook Lopez, C, UFA
Pau Gasol, C, UFA
Malcolm Brogdon, G, RFA
UFA = Unrestricted Free Agent, RFA = Restricted Free Agent
George Hill, G - under team control through 2019-20
Pat Connaughton, G - under team control through 2019-20
Giannis Antetokounmpo, F - under team control through 2020-21
Tony Snell, F - under team control through 2020-21
Ersan Ilyasova, F - under team control through 2020-21
Sterling Brown, G/F - under team control through 2020-21
D.J. Wilson, F - under team control through 2021-22
Eric Bledsoe - under team control through 2022-23
Donte DiVencenzo - under team control through 2022-23
The Bucks have the 30th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. They owe their second-round pick (60th overall) to the Sacramento Kings
Take a look back at Milwaukee's last five first-round picks:
2018: Donte DiVincenzo (17)
2017: D.J. Wilson (17)
2016: Thon Maker (10)
2015: Rashad Vaughn (17)
2014: Jabari Parker (2)
The Bucks enter next season with $79.7 million in guaranteed salary, according to Early Bird Rights. That's not including Khris Middleton, who has a $13.0 million player option for the 2019-20 season that he is expected to decline to become an unrestricted free agent.
While the Bucks are expected to re-sign Middleton, there is a path towards them creating over $20 million in cap space, though it would require them to renounce the cap holds on Middleton and Nikola Mirotic.
The likely bet is the Bucks use whatever cap space they have to bring Middleton back and match any offer Malcolm Brogdon receives as a restricted free agent. They also have decisions to make with Mirotic and Brook Lopez, both of whom were a big part of their success in the regular season and playoffs, as well as George Hill, whose $18 million salary for next season is only partially guaranteed.
Biggest offseason storylines
Khris Middleton's next contract
Middleton's free agency is, without question, the biggest storyline for the Bucks this offseason. As mentioned above, he has a player option for the 2019-20 season that he is expected to decline to sign a more lucrative deal this offseason.
Milddeton isn't a typical max-level player - he averaged 18.3 points and 4.3 assists per game this season - but it might take max-level money to keep him in Milwaukee. He has emerged as a tremendously valuable piece of the franchise as a shooter, playmaker and perimeter defender.
Those tools have helped him thrive alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The risk with paying Middleton max-level money, however, is the Bucks would be locked into that core for the foreseeable future. After losing to the Toronto Raptors in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals - a series in which Middleton struggled offensively - are they confident this team has what it takes to win a championship?
Malcolm Brogdon's restricted free agency
Another vitally important player to the Bucks, Brogdon is a restricted free agent this offseason. His $3.2 million cap hold will make it easy for the Bucks to take care of Middleton first, but there's a good chance a team in need of a guard will throw a large contract at him that will force them to make a decision sooner rather than later.
The Bucks will have the option of matching any contract he's offered, but there might be a price they're unwilling to pay, especially if they're not willing to go deep into the luxury tax.
There is a real threat a team will offer Brogdon a large contract, too. In addition to being a versatile defender and a 40.8 percent 3-point shooter for his career, he's more than capable of making plays for himself and others off the dribble, the combination of which allows him to play with and without the ball in his hands.
Even though he doesn't put up big counting stats, Brogdon has the skills to fit in just about every situation.
Giannis Antetokounmpo's development
If there's one thing missing in Antetokounmpo's game, it's a reliable jump shot.
It doesn't prevent him from getting his numbers against almost every team in the league, but part of the reason the Raptors were able to contain him in the Eastern Conference Finals is because they loaded up on him knowing he isn't a threat to punish them from midrange or beyond.
According to NBA.com, Antetokounmpo shot 34.5 percent from midrange and 25.6 percent from 3-point range during the regular season. To his credit, Antetokounmpo took those shots when he was open - differentiating him from Philadelphia 76ers guard/forward Ben Simmons - but he didn't knock them down at a consistent enough rate for teams to respect him from outside the paint.
Antetokounmpo is already the leading candidate for MVP and a unanimous All-NBA First Team selection without a reliable jump shot. With one, he'd likely cement his spot as the best player in the league.
That's a terrifying thought considering he's only 24-years-old.
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