The Milwaukee Bucks have had a rocky offseason, and we haven’t even reached the NBA Draft yet.
Shortly after moving on from coach Mike Budenholzer, they may now lose another key piece.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and NBA TV, Khris Middleton has declined his $40.4 million player option for the upcoming campaign, thus becoming an unrestricted free agent.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) June 22, 2023
Nonetheless, it’s not like this should be a surprise at all.
If anything, this was heavily expected, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s ready to join another team.
Opting out of his contract will only allow him to sign another long-term deal in Milwaukee, most likely taking a pay cut on a year-to-year basis but making more money altogether.
Middleton spent plenty of time meeting with team officials and was heavily involved in their pursuit of new coach Adrian Griffin, who also intends to keep him around as one of the pillars of the organization.
His rapport with Giannis Antetokounmpo on and off the court could also play a defining role in his decision to stay in Wisconsin.
He’s found his footing in Milwaukee and has been the Bucks’ closer more often than not.
Also, Middleton is another shot-creator, facilitator, and underrated defender.
He’s their second-best player, and the Bucks would have a very difficult time finding someone who can do the things he does at a reasonable price.
Simply put, they cannot afford to let him go, even if that means spending big bucks on fines and penalties for going over the luxury tax.NEXT: NBA Insider Names 1 Eastern Conference Contender As A Suitor For Bradley Beal