Report: Bucks, Brook Lopez ‘motivated’ to agree to new contract together
Brook Lopez said he prioritized a one-year contract in free agency last summer so he could prove himself.
Lopez sure proved himself this season.
The center shined for the breakthrough Bucks. He became an elite 3-point threat for a big, spacing the floor for Giannis Antetokounmpo. On the other end, Lopez paired nicely with Antetokounmpo as a staunch rim protector.
But because Lopez spent only one season in Milwaukee, the Bucks have just his Non-Bird Rights. That makes re-signing tricky.
At least Lopez and the Bucks appear intent on finding common ground.
The Bucks showed their motivation by trading Tony Snell and the No. 30 pick to the Pistons for Jon Leuer.
Milwaukee can now open about $14 million in cap space while keeping cap holds for Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon. The Bucks could use that cap room to re-sign Lopez then exceed the cap to re-sign Middleton and Brogdon.
If a $14 million starting salary isn’t enough for Lopez, Milwaukee can clear more room by stretching Leuer and/or George Hill. The Bucks must decide on whether to stretch Hill’s $1 million guarantee by Thursday. They can decide on Leuer’s $9.76 million salary anytime by Aug. 31.
This plan could get expensive. Middleton could command a max contract. As a restricted free agent, Brogdon could land a huge offer sheet from a team trying to poach him. How much luxury tax will Milwaukee pay?
But soon-to-be-super-max-eligible Antetokounmpo is watching. Securing his supporting cast is important.