John Henson is nearing an extension with the Bucks, as he told Gery Woelfel of The Journal Times on Monday. The sides have reportedly been in talks since July, and the team’s free agent signing of Greg Monroe, an interior player like Henson, hasn’t dissuaded the former 14th overall pick from wanting a future in Milwaukee, as Woelfel details.
“We’re close,’’ Henson said to Woelfel about the extension talks. “We’re just trying to work out some details. It’s a process; we’ll see what happens. But I definitely want to be here for a long time.’’
The sides appeared to be making progress toward a deal over the summer. They have until November 2nd to sign an extension, two days later than normal because the usual October 31st deadline falls on a Saturday. Henson would be set for restricted free agency next summer if they don’t strike an extension this fall, though the Jim Tanner client isn’t at all anxious to leave Milwaukee, according to Woelfel.
The legitimate possibility existed for Henson to become the team’s starting center if Monroe had not signed, Woelfel writes, though the team had its eyes on other marquee centers, too, as they reportedly planned to pursue Brook Lopez and Tyson Chandler. Henson has started only 43 of his 200 career games and recorded only 11 starts last season, mostly playing behind Larry Sanders and, later, Zaza Pachulia. The 24-year-old Henson averaged just 18.3 minutes per game, but, as Woelfel points out, he looked strong in the playoffs, averaging 8.8 points and 8.0 rebounds in 25.5 minutes per contest.
GM John Hammond has identified Henson as a member of the team’s core, along with Monroe, Michael Carter-Williams, Khris Middleton, Jabari Parker, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Grantland’s Zach Lowe has speculated that Henson would end up with eight-figure salaries on his next deal, and with the salary cap escalating and the Warriors thinking about an extension for backup center Festus Ezeli, Henson appears to be in a strong market position. I examined the situation in depth last month.
The Bucks have only about $36MM on the books for 2016/17, though that figure doesn’t count nearly $13.3MM in rookie scale team options that Milwaukee is likely to exercise. That would still leave a wealth of room under the projected $89MM cap for next season. Miles Plumlee is also eligible for a rookie scale extension this fall, but no indication has surfaced that the Bucks are considering one for him.
What would a fair extension for both the Bucks and Henson look like? Leave a comment to share your thoughts.