While Malcolm Brogdon is unlikely to receive the same sort of maximum-salary or near-max contract that Bucks teammate Khris Middleton will sign in free agency, the former Rookie of the Year is in line for a significant raise of his own after earning the minimum this season.
Executives around the NBA believe that Brogdon – who is eligible for restricted free agency – is looking at a contract worth just north of $60MM over four years, writes Sean Deveney of Sporting News. One general manager described Brogdon’s market as “Marcus Smart-plus,” Deveney adds.
Smart, a restricted free agent in 2018, ultimately re-signed with the Celtics on a four-year deal worth $52MM. While Smart’s contract was worth $13MM per year, it sounds like execs expect Brogdon to reach at least $15MM annually on his next deal. The 26-year-old is currently sidelined with a foot injury, but had his best season in 2018/19, averaging 15.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.2 APG with a sparkling .505/.426/.928 shooting line in 64 games (28.6 MPG).
It will be an interesting offseason for the Bucks, who already have approximately $70.6MM on their books for 2019/20. That’s before taking into account possible new deals for Middleton and Brogdon, not to mention role players like Nikola Mirotic, Brook Lopez, and George Hill — Mirotic and Lopez will be unrestricted free agents, while Hill will almost certainly be waived to avoid guaranteeing him an extra $17MM.
If the Bucks are forced to commit over $40MM in starting salaries for Middleton and Brogdon, it would significantly limit the team’s ability to make additional upgrades.
Of course, the fact that Brogdon will be a restricted free agent makes him a wild card as the Bucks enter the summer. If another team wants an RFA badly enough, it can force a team to make a tough decision by extending an aggressive offer sheet — Tim Hardaway, Allen Crabbe, and Tyler Johnson are among the RFAs who have signed oversized offer sheets in recent years.
On the other hand, if that sort of offer sheet doesn’t materialize by the time that cap room around the league dries up, leverage shifts back to the team, potentially forcing the free agent to accept a below-market deal. I don’t necessarily expect that to happen in Brogdon’s case, but it will be an intriguing situation to watch as Milwaukee potentially makes an effort to lock up its core for years to come.