With a couple of key players set to be free agents in 2019, the Milwaukee Bucks have a question mark at their point guard position.
Everything has been working for the Milwaukee Bucks so far this year and a 50 win season with a deep playoff run is looking very possible. Bucks fans should continue to enjoy themselves watching the team, but we also have to keep an eye on the future as the team could look a lot different next year, especially at point guard.
Four of the five Bucks’ starters are free agents next year and considering that most, if not all, will require raises, the Bucks cap situation will greatly affect who the Bucks can look at to be their starting point guard next year and beyond.
Let’s go through some of the options for the Bucks future point guard:
4. Eric Bledsoe
Eric Bledsoe has looked great so far this year. The Buck’s coaching staff is really getting the best out of him through eight games. He’s picking his spots and attacking when he can and also is racking up the assists. He is actually starting to look like he makes sense long-term with this team. The problem is that there is basically no way the Bucks can afford him next year.
First of all Khris Middleton is also a free agent and will be the Bucks No. 1 priority next offseason. There are already sports writers foreseeing him getting $30 million per year next year.
Malcolm Brogdon is also going to be high on the Bucks priority list considering his age and skill set. The best case scenario for the Bucks at this point would be a $10.5 million 2019 salary which, as written by Zach Lowe, would be the maximum extension he’d be eligible for. Or he could elect to go into restricted free agency and have the potential to earn even more.
If you put Middleton down for $30 million, Brogdon down for $10.5 million and take into account all the other guaranteed contracts for 2019 (including DJ Wilson’s newly exercised $3 million option!) the Bucks total salary would be $125 million or $17 million over the salary cap. This would also leave them only $6.4 million below the luxury tax threshold.
Bledsoe is currently getting paid $15 million per year and I would expect him to be looking for a contract between $18-20 million per year next season. So unless the small market Bucks are willing to go into the luxury tax by over $10 million, they will not be able to retain Bledsoe.
The Bucks could make some other moves to free up some more space like moving John Henson or Matthew Dellavedova, but even next year that could take significant assets to clear their entire salaries. And the Bucks would be wise not to make a large commitment to Bledsoe anyway considering his age and skill set.
Oh, and I didn’t even mention Brook Lopez, who most Bucks fans would want to re-sign next year. In this scenario, the Bucks would let Lopez go in free agency. If they wanted to re-sign him and Bledsoe they’d be going even further into the tax.