BUCKS RUMOR REPORT: Is Khris Middleton Planning On Opting Out Of His Contract In 2019 Off-Season & Are The Bucks Considering Trading Him Before Then?
What's the rumor tiger?
Bucks fans shouldn't freak out but the truth is that Khris Middleton is opting out of his contract this coming off season in 2019 he's going to get paid FAT. The salary cap is apparently increasing by 8 million this coming off season and Middleton will be highly coveted by many teams around the NBA. Zach Lowe and Brian Windhorst discussed in a Lowe Post podcast episode of the possibility that the Bucks may look to trade Middleton this season if a team offers them a good deal. The Bucks may not be actively shopping him but he may be more available than we think because there is a great chance he signs with another chance next off season if he's offered a lucrative contract offer that he very well may get. Let's dive into the details shall we?
rumor REPORT SUMMARY
It would really suck to see Khris Middleton sign with a new team next summer but it's a real possibility unfortunately. If the Bucks want to keep him around they're going to have to throw some serious money at him because there's going to be a serious bidding war. Ka$h has an extremely coveted NBA skill set and really may not even be at his peak yet being only 26. Middleton can fit on literally any team and teams with super stars will most likely offer him a big contract because of his versatility of still being a good defender and a phenomenal scorer and shooter. On top of that he has solid athleticism, length, and even doesn't demand too high of a usage % (24.6 usage % in 2017-2018 season). He's an efficient player and a team winning player without who is a perfect compliment for any teams next season trying to make a deep run in the playoffs. The Bucks may have to over pay him next summer if they want to keep him and if they are not convinced that they can keep him around we might hear a few trade rumors during the season.
As I mentioned above Briann Windhorst joined The Lowe Post podcast for an episode and here is what he leaked out, "Khris Middleton has been quietly available in trades over the last year and I think it’s because they know, in 2019, a Khris Middleton on the open market, with all that cap space, could be dangerous." Windhorst also mentioned, “Not necessarily that you just lose him but what it would cost to keep him." Here is what Zach Lowe added: “My understanding of it, what I’ve heard is to the degree he is available, he is available to the level that almost everyone in the league is wherein you give me a killer package and we’ll talk. Maybe we’ve heard differently, I don’t know that he is like, available-available.”
Regardless of who is more correct or not I think this is an obvious one. Khris could very easily just go for the biggest offer he gets next summer and the Bucks are going to have a lot to think about during this season on whether they want to try and out bid every other offer he gets or try to cash in and get something for him this season. I think if the Bucks rebound hugely this season Khris may have a strong desire to stay in Milwaukee and stay paired with Giannis and play on a title contending for the next few years (especially now that the East is wide open with the departure of Lebron James) but he's not going to take a huge discount. He's over performed his current contract and he's in for a huge pay day. If Middleton plays even better this year than last year then I'm not sure the Bucks can afford to not re-sign him. He's such a great fit on this team and next to Giannis as well and if you want to resign Giannis again to another deal once he hits the open market again the Bucks just might have to make this deal with Khris to keep the Freak freaking happy.
Even if some of the younger guys on the roster emerge this season you might have to pay Middleton whatever he is worth because the Bucks just don't have enough young assets anymore that you can bank on groomin at this point. A couple of years ago the Bucks looked like they were loaded with young talent but that's not quite the case anymore. I love Sterling Brown's potential and I am one of the few that is sold on Thon Maker reaching his upside and being a difference maker on this team. However, it's going to take at least two more seasons until Thon has a physique to hold his own against other NBA centers (even though I still can see him becoming an impact full player as soon as this season). Regardless, outside of those two guys and I guess we can through the rookie Donte DiVincenzo into the mix as well, the Bucks have changed identity a little bit after letting Jabari walk and signing solid veterns in Ilyasova and Lopez.
Hey we still have Giannis but if we let K-Middy walk and let Bledsoe go to well suddenly our roster takes a huge hit in the short term and the long term. It will be interesting to see if the Bucks can land a stud in free agency next season or maybe re-sign Bledsoe if he rebounds with a big season but regardless I don't that they get ahead by letting Middleton sign with another team and then just try to replace him with another guy at his position. If the Bucks are smart they make their decision early this season and maybe get that contract extension conversation happening right away. Now if they think they can land a superstar next summer if open they up their salary cap space by parting ways with Middleton and Bledsoe fine but it's really important that Bucks front office plan they're attack now and don't procrastinate because they actually have some control over the situation right now where if they just wait to see what happens once free agency opens up next summer...they might lose out BIG TIME.
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rumor REPORT quick points
Khris Middleton was discussed on the Lowe Post podcast as possibly becoming shopped by the Milwaukee Bucks this season.
Middleton is in for a huge contract next summer if he opts out with his player option and he most likely will.
If the Bucks let Middleton walk in free agency next summer it might be to hard to replace him on not worth the risk.
Khris most likely won't take much of a home team discount with the Bucks unless they have a huge season so the Bucks better expect to match some of the ridiculous offers he may get next summer.
TIGER'S FINAL TAKE
The more I think about this dilemma the Bucks are in the more I'm convinced that they should do whatever it takes to re-sign. In fact I really hope that they take care of business before the all-star break. It's going to be difficult for the Bucks to land a marquee free agent next summer unless they can move some of their bad contracts and if they lose Middleton it will be even more difficult. Locking up Middleton ASAP I think is probably best for the team long term. At the end of the day you would just be looking to replace him with another Khris Middleton as he's an ideal compliment next to Giannis so don't take your chances and just take care of business now!