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Report: Bucks’ Robin Lopez declining $5,005,350 player option

Bucks center Robin Lopez

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 28: Robin Lopez #42 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts in the third quarter against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Fiserv Forum on February 28, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

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The Bucks face an uphill battle in building an appealing roster as Giannis Antetokounmpo approaches his super-max decision.

But Robin Lopez – who has a $5,005,350 player option – is giving Milwaukee a break.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This is probably a poor financial decision by Lopez, a 32-year-old center who got benched in the playoffs. His salary will likely land closer to his minimum next season ($2,564,753).

But it might be a reasonable personal decision. Milwaukee lost faith in him, and his expiring contract would’ve made him a viable piece in rumored trades. At least he’ll now get to control his destination.

The Bucks lose a trade conduit and gain no cap space, but they gain flexibility to use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception ($9,258,000) and/or acquire someone in a sign-and-trade. Spending more than the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5,718,000) or acquiring a player in a sign-and-trade would trigger a hard cap ($138,928,000).

Despite the confusing nomenclature, Milwaukee can still spend the non-taxpayer mid-level exception and pay the luxury tax. Teams that use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception just can’t go more than $6,301,000 over the luxury-tax line ($132,627,000).