BUCKS FREE AGENCY REPORT: Bucks Extend Eric Bledsoe For Four Years Worth $70 Million
What's the FREE AGENT SIGNING tiger?
The Miwaukee Bucks do themselves a solid by extending Eric Bledsoe mid-season for four more years for a total of $70 million full guarenteed with a $17.5 yearly average. This contract came to a surprise as most expected the Bucks to wait on a potential contract offer until free agency to test the market. This early deal makes so much sense though because the Bucks most likely got Bledsoe at a bargain price here. With the salary cap rising again this summer and Kemba Walker being the only other big name PG to hit the market Bledsoe very easily could have been offered bigger deals. The Bucks have given us a strong sign now that they most likely plan to keep this group together (at least most of it) and chances are they will continue to lock everyone up before the start of free agency. Let’s dive deeper into this signing shall we?
FREE AGENT SIGNING DETAILS
Below are all of the details on this free agent signing referenced from: www.spotract.com.
Contract: $70 million
Average Salary: $17.5 million
Signed Using: Bird rights
Free Agent: 2023
Contract Notes: Entire contract fuly guarenteed. Contact incrementally increases from year one to year four.
FREE AGENT SIGNING REPORT SUMMARY
With the Bucks surprising th entire NBA this season posting the NBA’s best record and phenomenal advanced metrics, it’s no surprise that the Bucks would strongly consider keeping this core together and John Horst is conintuing to be the badass GM that he has already become by setting this process in motion right now rather than wait until the summer to test everyone’s value. Eric Bledsoe has proven that his play on the court can be a bit erratic at times however, his positives far out way this. Bledsoe is arguably the best PG defender in basketball right now and these defensive skills could be a major factor if the Bucks make it to the finals and face Stephon Curry and the Warriors. The “Bledshow” is a two way player, hyper athletic, and elite at getting to the rim. Bledsoe also, has been a phenomenal rebounder this season as well as a stellar play maker minus the here and there sloppy passes he’ll force every once in a while. Eric Bledsoe has completely bought into the Bucks systems this season and is a completely re-invented player.
Despite this contract coming at a really fair price (and will most likely look great by year three or four), there is no doubt that there are plenty of Bucks fans out there that are probably not 100% sold on bringing back Bledsoe long term and would prefer the Bucks make a play for a guy like Kemba Walker this summer (even though it looks like he wants to remain in Charolette). At the end of the day though however, you have to really break these things down and dissect the stats to decipher if a guy is really worth what he’s being paid about to get paid. In this case, Kemba is in-line for a max contract upwards $30M a year which is almost double what the Bucks will be paying Eric Bledsoe. Kemba no doubt would be a big upgrade offensively, but defensively he isn’t anywhere near the defender that Eric is. Even if the Bucks had decided to forgoe extending Bledsoe and pursue Kemba this summer would really have even been a major upgrade? And at what cost? The Bucks would have to sacrifice not signing some combination of our other FA’s this summer if they wanted to pay up for Walker. Seeing how well Bledsoe fits with this team right now, it just wouldn’t make a lot of sense to part waves with him. Kemba is a beast of a scorer but does he really have the versatility of Eric Bledsoe.
At the end of the day, this was a really smart move by Horst and we are seeing that team chemistry is a huge deal and completely under rated. Kemba Walker isn’t actually that much better overal than Eric Bledsoe even though his box score stats are way better and no doubt he’s a far superior shooter. Bledsoe’s defense makes him so much more valuable than he would appear to be when just looking at his basic stats. Strong defenders are always underrated unfortunately. On the flip side however, they are usually going to come at a cheaper price tag! Hence what we just signed Bledsoe for…. BOOM! It sounds like Bledsoe even took a pay cut too! Regardless, give John Horst credit for getting this deal done so quickly and probably for the max you would want to pay him!
free agent signing BENEFITS
The Bucks got a good price on Bledsoe as he could have cost a lot more once would hit free agency this summer.
Bledsoe isn’t a superstar PG but he’s a damn good one he’s had possibly the best season of his career under new head coach Mike Budenholzer.
Great defenders always get under paid and Bledsoe possibly got underpaid knowing how elite he is on the defensive side of the game.
This contract sets the framework for resigning all the other core Bucks players expiring this summer.
Bledsoe isn’t a tier 1 point guard but I personally think he’s pretty close and the tier 1 point guards in this league make usually $10M more or so this is a bargain.
free agent signing DRAWBACKS
Eric Bledsoe is somewhat of a wild card and volatile player as it’s definitely realistic that he regresses.
The one thing that truly separates Bledsoe from elite point guards are his shooting %’s and it’s hard to be optimistic that they will ever improve greatly the rest of his career.
Bledsoe has a tendency to show erratic play which we saw last season can foil a playoff run.
This contract is incremental so by year four Bledsoe might be kind of pricey (even though the NBA salary cap continues to rise)
The Bucks are locked into Bledsoe as their starting PG for four years now unless they trade home so this dramatically affects how they continue to build and modify the roster as the this position is officially fortified.
FEATURED VIDEOS BELOW…
ESPN 2018 REAL PLUS MINUS (POSITIONAL) ADVANCED STATS
(Referenced FROM www.espn.com)
2.99 / Rank 9
1.05 / Rank 9
4.04 / Rank 7
WIN SHARE %
8.27 / Rank 7
career per game average stats
career per 36 game stats
career per 100 possessions game stats
career advanced game stats
TIGER FREE AGENT SIGNING PROJECTION
Overall I think this contract extension projects pretty well. There is some risk but saying that is cliche because that’s a thing no matter what the contract is and who the player is. Fortunately with this contract I believe the risks are well calculated and if you look at what’s available in the market and what will be in the future, it just makes a ton of sense to fortify Eric Bledsoe as your starting PG of the future especially seeing how well his game as molded and transformed under coach Bud. That is the biggest takeaway here. He’s completely shattered pre-season narratives and he really wants to be here. I expect the same level of production from Bledsoe through possibly the entire duration of this contract and possible improved shooting %’s as this will be a clear point of emphasis with Bledsoe’s training regime in the summer going forward. With that said, year for could be interesting because age will really factor in and the Bucks will be heavily considering the next stage at the point guard position. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Bucks end up moving Bledsoe’s contract in year 4 worth about $19M as they may want to prepare for the following summer of free agency. Regardless, I can see Bledsoe maintaining the same productivity for the first 3 years of his new contract and I wouldn’t be surprise if he actually improves a bit. I think Bledsoe actually hasn’t hit the ceiling of his potential. His offensive game needs a bit of polish still even though he is very effective and his advance metrics are great. I won’t be surprised if coach Bud helps crank his offensive game to another level in years to come. Watch out because Bledsoe could shock the NBA and become that elite point guard all Bucks fans want…
TIGER'S GRADE REPORT = a
I have to give this contract an A straight up as the Bucks have to make some critical decisions on whether to keep this roster together and fortify several guys to the roster long term and really it just makes sense to do so with the incredible success the Bucks are having this season. There are a lot of super stars available this summer but for a lot of reasons, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense to go after them. The Bucks currently have a core of players that are producing on an extremely high level and ultimately resulting in ridiculous team success. You don’t want to get fancy here and mess that up. Keep what’s working. This is why extending Bledsoe make so much sense as if anything he may be underrated suddenly. I’d give this an A+ if maybe the Bucks could have gotten him a little cheaper because he’s probably getting paid what he’s worth. More so though, this contract is incremental and Eric will receive a raise each new season so maybe this will make things a little bit trickier for the Bucks in the next coming season financially. This is a great move. There is some risk involved as there is with any move as Bledsoe does have someo previous major injuries and he was awful in the playoffs last season but whatever. The Bucks are paying fair value for a damn good point guard a maybe actually has the chance to climb into the elite in the next few seasons. I think there is still some upside to squeeze out of Bledsoe if he continues to polish his game and most specifically, his shooting. You’re getting arguably the league’s best PG defender and a very good offensive player as well and only paying like half a max contract so what’s not to like about this? This is a very good deal for both parties!
TIGER'S FINAL TAKE
Right now the Bucks priorities are in the front office going forward start with avoiding over paying any of their current core players to new contracts. It’s pretty obvious that they are most likely going to make offers and try to keep just about all of these guys back on the roster. Middleton is the biggest question mark but if the John Horst is truly as smart as he has proven to be all season he simply will not offer Khris Middleton a max contract this summer or anywhere close to it. If he wants to get paid and move on from Milwaukee, fine, the Bucks actually have more ways than you think to replace him. But that is for another time! Ultimately, this Bledsoe contract sets the tone for future negotiations that could actually be in the process currently right now! I really like it that Horst is getting a jump start on this as this is the best time to give yourself an advantage in contract negotiations. Pouncing on bringing this core together right now mid-season sends strong messages to these players that they are wanted here and that factors in to player’s decisions heavily. GO BUCKS! BUCKS IN THE FINALS! BUCKS IN 6