Bucks Sign Eric Bledsoe To Four-Year Extension

MARCH 4: The Bucks have officially signed Bledsoe to his new extension, according to NBA.com’s transactions log.

MARCH 1: Ahead of an important summer in Milwaukee, the Bucks have gotten a head start on free agency, reaching an agreement with point guard Eric Bledsoe on a four-year, $70MM contract extension, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Bledsoe, 29, is in the midst of one of the best seasons of his career in Milwaukee. In 60 games (all starts), he has recorded 15.7 PPG, 5.5 APG, and 4.6 RPG with a career-best .492 FG%, emerging as a key contributor for the Bucks, who hold the best record in the NBA at 47-14.

While Giannis Antetokounmpo is locked up through 2021, many of the Bucks’ other most important players – including Bledsoe, Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, and Brook Lopez – are in contract years. As Wojnarowski tweets, Bledsoe could have tested the market in unrestricted free agency this July, but was “determined” to stay in Milwaukee and was in position to get something done early.

Middleton and Brogdon are also technically eligible for in-season veteran extensions, but are unlikely to sign them, given their respective contract situations. In Bledsoe’s case, he was eligible to receive up to a 120% raise on his 2018/19 salary of $15MM for the first year of his new deal.

Although his starting salary could have maxed out at $18MM, it sounds – based on the reported terms – like Bledsoe will get a little less than that in 2019/20, which will help allow the Bucks to maximize their cap flexibility. Meanwhile, Milwaukee remains in good position to secure Middleton and Brogdon in the offseason, with Middleton viewed as the team’s top priority.

The Bledsoe extension is the second noteworthy Bucks move that has been reported today. The club is also set to sign Pau Gasol, who has finalized a buyout with the Spurs.

For teams eyeing the point guard market this summer, one top option is now off the board. Bledsoe probably ranked behind Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, and D’Angelo Russell among FA-to-be point guards, but would have been at the top of the next tier. Clubs that miss out on those top three options now figure to focus on the likes of Terry Rozier, Ricky Rubio, Derrick Rose, and Darren Collison.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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23 thoughts on “Bucks Sign Eric Bledsoe To Four-Year Extension

  1. hiflew

    They picked Bledsoe over Middleton. I can’t say I disagree. I truly believe Middleton is going to be a huge free agent bust. I’m talking Chandler Parsons level bust. Especially if he goes to an up and coming team to play a bigger role than he currently plays.

    • Luke Adams

      They have the flexibility to lock up both, so I don’t think this means they’re choosing Bledsoe. An extension for Middleton isn’t practical since he wouldn’t be eligible for a starting salary higher than $15.6MM and he’ll get more than that as a free agent, but I fully expect Milwaukee to try to re-sign him.

  2. bdpecore

    Signing Bledsoe to an extension actually gives Milwaukee more cap room since his cap hold would’ve been ($22.5MM). At the very least it gives them $5MM more in cap space heading into the offseason. Smart signing by Horst if you ask me. Now they should be able to resign, Middleton, Brogdon and either Lopez or Mirotic without having to pay the luxury tax

    • rxbrgr

      At least three of those four. Not sure if they can keep Mirotic’s cap hold AND open up space for Brook.

      • bdpecore

        Or someone offers Middleton a max contract and they resign both Mirotic and Lopez while trading away Ilyasova for a wing or to clear cap space to sign another wing. Trevor Ariza would be a decent replacement for Middleton and might be willing to take the full MLE to sign with a contender.

        PG – Bledsoe, DiVi
        SG – Brogdon, Snell, Brown
        SF – Giannis, Ariza
        PF – Mirotic, Wilson
        C – Lopez, Wood

    • D$!LLKU$H-og

      Good move here. 19/20 should be around 16-17mm if it’s somewhat backloaded. They’ll keep Middleton, probably a max but it won’t be a terrible deal. He’ll continue to ascend. Brogdon probably getting around 10-12mm/year for 3 or 4 years. Brook will sign for the MLE over a couple years. Niko is gone but they got Illyasova and DJ Wilson gonna ball next year.

  3. Jason kapono

    Ugly deal, but the hand was kind of forced with the lack of replacements available. I think Collison for the price or even Rondo at a 4-6 mil deal would have been better value for the money, but it’s Milwaukee, you have to overpay to get players to go there.

    No 29 year old average pg should get this sort of deal. Would have liked to see him on the open market and establish a market before bidding against themselves.

    • x%sure

      Ugly my azz. Bledsoe would have done better as a FA. Maybe it’s it’s ugly for him but more like, well there won’t be a squeeze-out now.

      • Jason kapono

        He could have done better over a 1 year deal sure or with one of the dumb teams with cap space – Bulls per usual. I just didn’t think Milwaukee was one of them. Keeping him is good for them over the next 1.5 seasons or so, but he is not worth 17.5% of a team’s salary commitment and he will decline rapidly after 31.

        • x%sure

          Bucks have good reason to hope and plan for a title, and I don’t think Rondo or Collison gets them there.

          And lose crucial talent, lose Giannis.

          I hope you have updated the typical opinion of Bledsoe’s smarts.

  4. x%sure

    $17.5 per year, 4 yrs, to age 32/33. I think I suggested 3/66 earlier as a FA, 22 per. But there is security in staying where he’s having perhaps his best year ever at 29. Or, maybe Bledsoe figures he already made his big shake-up move last year and did not want a rep for that.

    He’s been sustaining PERs in the 19s & 20s for seven years. 60 of 61 games available this year, 70 of 71 last year, 66 of 67 in 2017 before the PHX FO shut him down. He was playing through knee soreness, but he doesn’t have to play so crazily to get his points on this team.

    Well my expectations went askew what can I say.

    I don’t see Walker or Russell as better, at least for the purposes of title-winning. In the playoffs both would be taken advantage of in the end, not that either can say. Walker has not done much with the Hornets.

    • D$!LLKU$H-og

      I know him and Dlo have about the same PER and Dlo was an all-star. Walker might score more than him but he’s a much better all around player. Bledsoe’s basically an all-star but he’s not going to be paid like one so great move here by Horst. PHX also liked him enough to get rid of IT and Dragic which shows not only the PHX front office is terrible, but EB has value.

    • D$!LLKU$H-og

      True. There is this replay of a Giannis dunk where he gets really fired up afterwards and Bledsoe looks like a kid in a candy shop just watching him. I guess if he was my teammate I’d do something similar.

  5. Good move by the Bucks. Bledsoe was the only FA starter they (practically) could lock up before the summer. Now, they can just focus on Middleton, and try and get ahead of the market there before the moratorium. After that, Brogden is an RFA (so he’s not going anywhere) and Lopez can probably be brought back with a nice raise, but without a bidding war of any kind.

    • x%sure

      GREAT move by the Bucks. They could win a title with this, some time in the next four years. I thought Bledsoe would wait to see what sorts of offers he gets and eventually get squeezed out by Dragic or join the Lakers.

  6. whodatcoon

    Absolutely solid move by the Bucks. He was the most important player for them to bring back. It’s a fair price and the contract ends when it needs to, 32 is still plenty young in the NBA. Bucks fans should rejoice this evening.

  7. Not a terrible move, but those $10-20 M contracts can handicap you pretty easily. Look at Miami.

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