Milwaukee Bucks Face Major Contract Decisions

Sam Schmid, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Although the season was cut short due to the coronavirus, the Milwaukee Bucks were on pace for another historical regular season.

Under the direction of Head Coach Mike Budenhozer, the Bucks were 53-12 this season, and, if this NBA season doesn’t resume, will finish first in the Eastern Conference and with the best record in the league.

Milwaukee Bucks fans should not only be excited for the future of this team but also be grateful for the ongoing success.

Just four short years ago, the Bucks were 33-49 and finished 12th in the Eastern Conference. 

Then, flashing back to the 2013-2014 season, the team was 15-67, their worst record in the history of the franchise.

This huge change in success could be caused by one player, Giannis Antetokounmpo, who has carried the team on his back for the past couple of years.

But this story isn’t to gloat about the triumphs of the Bucks; rather, it is to criticize the team. 

Although the team is, presently, in a good place, it won’t be like that for long. The main problem, in one word, contracts.

Khris Middleton, despite averaging over 20 points per game this season, cannot be the number one guy on the Bucks.

Middleton has a five year $178 million deal that goes through the 2023-2024 season, which locks him up on the Bucks for the foreseeable future.

If Antetokounmpo decides to opt-out of his contract extension with the Bucks this summer, the superstar will be a free agent the following season, with the chance to venture to a new beginning.

Although Middleton is a good second option on the Bucks, he can’t carry the team like Antetokounmpo can, which is shown when Giannis was hurt this season, as the Bucks had a losing record in those games under the leadership of Middleton.

Other players like Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver, and George Hill all have upcoming expiring contracts as well, leaving behind outside shooting which the Bucks desperately need.

This outside shooting could be a problem for the Bucks in the future.  Some might say that Brook Lopez can provide that shooting, but he’s only shooting 29.6% from 3 on just over 4 attempts per game.

The Bucks may have a bright spot this year, and the next, but for the next five or so years, I suspect that they will be wishing they dealt their cards differently.