Free agent swingman Kris Middleton is nearing a five-year, $70 million dollar deal with the Bucks, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.
HOW HE DECIDED
The former second-round draft pick was a bargain in his first three years in the league, making just $915,000 this past season. The Bucks knew they were going to have shell out a lot more than that to keep the do-it-all player, but they were prepared to do so, signaling they would match any offer sheet that Middleton attracted.
After seeing minimal playing time in his first year in the league with the Detroit Pistons, the Bucks watched Middleton blossom into a defensive gem with a surprisingly strong offensive game. Middleton averaged career highs in points, rebounds and assists last season with 13.4, 4.4 and 2.3 per game respectively. He was asked to take on more of the offensive burden once Brandon Knight was traded away this season -- in the 17 games since Knight left the team, Middleton scored at least 15 points in 14 games.
The best part of Middleton's offensive game is his shooting. He shot 46.7 percent from the field last year and 40.7 percent from the three-point line. His defense is stellar, too. At 6'7, he has size to hang with a stretch four but also has the quickness to guard a perimeter player.
WHAT'S NEXT FOR THE BUCKS
Once the Bucks retain Middleton, they can concentrate on adding to their already impressive core. The Bucks did falter in the final stretch of the season, but they still got the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and showed at points that they could beat the East's best. With a young core of Middleton, Michael Carter-Williams and Giannis Antetokounmpo and the possibility of signing a big man with some of their remaining cap space, the Bucks have a shot to make a leap to the East's elite.