News is circulating about Chris Middleton and the Milwaukee Bucks after Middleton comments to me Milwaukee Journal Ranger Jim Owczarski earlier this week.
The two covered several topics, including the choice of Middleton’s player on hold next season. Middleton, who signed a five-year, $177.5 million contract extension in 2019, is playing in the fourth year of his deal and has a player option for the 2023-24 season. During the conversation, he dropped this quote that sparked some controversy among Pax fans, “I think everyone knows deep down I want to stay. But also, you know it’s a business. Things change, things happen. You just never know. I’d definitely love to stay.” “
The Bucks earned a three-time All-Star volley on a deal from the Detroit Pistons in 2013. He quickly transformed himself into one of the best 3D wingers in the NBA before going on to become a permanent All-Star sideline.
At 31, he represents the core of aging and is just one of the major decisions the Bucks will have with the key players who helped them win the NBA Championship in 2021. With Middleton under contract for $38 million this season, let’s check out his tracks and the Bucks forward just in case. Knot.
Option 1: Accept player option for 2023-24
Middleton originally turned down the player option for the 2019-20 season that allowed him to sign his current deal. Now, he’s facing a similar decision with another player option looming for the 2023-24 season. The difference: His 19-20 option was worth $13 million compared to his 23-24 option for $40.4 million. Oh my God, how far has he come?
The factors he should weigh are his age (he’ll be around 33 by the time he becomes a free agent if he accepts this option), timing, and what that means for his future contract. We’ll get into more of that detail in the options below, but it’s not quite as simple as rejecting the player’s choice and re-signing for less money (which is sure to displease the manipulative police).
Option 2: Contract extension
The two sides are currently in a window where they can agree to extend the contract. Starting July 11 and running through the day before opening night, he’s eligible for a deal worth up to $152.5 million and a three-year term in addition to his existing contract. This would keep him as a buck for several more years and cover the last period of his time.
Option 3: Reject the player option for 2023-24
The third option in front of him is to reject the player’s choice and open the door for employment. He kind of alluded to it in the quote above, but if he goes that route, that doesn’t mean he’s going to leave Milwaukee for sure. He becomes an unrestricted free agent and is free to sign with any team, including the Bucks.
Middleton has been open about his strong relationship with Giannis Antetokounmue, the franchise, and the city in which he plays. The team has made all the right decisions on and off the field to support him and it will be very difficult to see him leave the tournament competing looking for a different career path.
Option 4: Reject the purchase order and sign the contract extension
His final decision is to reject the player’s option and sign an extension of the contract with dollars. This option is on the table until June 30, 2023…with some caveats.
If the Middleton and the Bucks went that route, they wouldn’t be able to sign him to an extension for less money. The value of the first year of his deal cannot be less than the player’s option he turned down ($40.4 million) and he will be eligible for a deal up to four years and $200.9 million. A point to remember: These rules only exist if both parties agree to an extension between now and June 30.
This is the most lucrative path forward for Middleton and the Bucks may have no choice in the matter. If he walks into a free agency, not only will Milwaukee exchange his paycheck for someone from a free agency. Yes, it will take them away from the luxury tax, but that’s the price that the tournament contenders are paying.