2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks were a popular sleeper contender pick entering the 2018/19 season, but few fans or experts anticipated they’d make the sort of jump they did. After having failed to get past the first round of the playoffs since 2001, Milwaukee led the NBA with 60 wins and built a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference Finals before falling to Toronto. While falling short of the NBA Finals was a disappointment, the franchise took a huge step in the right direction this past year and is poised to build on that progress going forward.

Here’s where things currently stand for the Bucks financially, as we continue our Offseason Salary Cap Digest series for 2019:

Guaranteed Salary

Player Options

Team Options

  • None

Non-Guaranteed Salary

Restricted Free Agents

Unrestricted Free Agents / Other Cap Holds

Projected Salary Cap: $109,000,000
Projected Tax Line: $132,000,000

Offseason Cap Outlook

  • Cap room projection No. 1: $10.3MM
  • The Bucks’ cap situation is a fascinating one, given the various free agent cap holds and non-guaranteed contracts in play. This scenario is one I view as pretty plausible. It assumes the Bucks waive-and-stretch Hill, keep the rest of their players on guaranteed contracts, retain Connaughton, Brown, and their first-round pick, and keep the cap holds for Brogdon and Middleton ($19.5MM) on their books, renouncing the rest. That would leave $10.3MM in cap room for Lopez and/or other FA targets, plus the room exception. After using that room, the club could then go over the cap – and potentially even into the tax – to re-sign Middleton and Brogdon using Bird rights.
  • Cap room projection No. 2: $0
  • This scenario assumes the Bucks keep all their cap holds – including Lopez’s and Mirotic’s – on their books and remain an over-the-cap team. It’s another one of the most realistic outcomes, since Milwaukee would still be able to use some form of the mid-level exception. But it only really makes sense if the Bucks can re-sign Mirotic with his Bird rights or Lopez with his Non-Bird rights.
  • Cap room projection No. 3: $28.9MM
  • This projection assumes the same series of events as scenario No. 1, but assumes Middleton signs elsewhere and his cap hold comes off the team’s books. I don’t think that’s too likely, but the Bucks could get pretty close to a maximum-salary slot even without renouncing Brogdon.
  • It’s worth noting that the Bucks’ cap projection could look different than any of these scenarios if the team makes a trade or two, potentially dumping Snell’s contract to create more flexibility.

Cap Exceptions Available

  • Mid-level exception: $9,246,000 2


  1. Hill’s salary becomes fully guaranteed after July 1.
  2. This is a projected value. In the event the Bucks use cap room, they’d lose this exception and would instead would gain access to the $4,760,000 room exception. If the Bucks are at risk of going into tax territory, they may have to use the taxpayer mid-level exception ($5,711,000) rather than the full mid-level exception.

Note: Minimum-salary and rookie-scale cap holds are estimates based on salary cap projections and could increase or decrease depending on where the cap lands.

Salary information from Basketball Insiders, ESPN.com, and RealGM was used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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13 thoughts on “2019 NBA Offseason Salary Cap Digest: Milwaukee Bucks

  1. Why would they stretch Hill? Just pay him the $1m next year, that’s not bad at all.

    • Luke Adams

      I was referring to stretching the $1MM cap charge so it’s only $333K over three seasons. If they’re trying to maximize cap room this year, that approach makes the most sense.

      (And yes, as DXC noted, his full salary would be $18MM if he remains on the roster — the rest is listed under the non-guaranteed section here).

  2. x%sure

    Lopez’s non-bird rights only gets him a $4MM deal, so the Bucks will have to use their MLE on him if they keep their cap holds. In that case $5.711MM may not top any offers he gets (I’m assuming they will be into the tax after signing Middleton & Brogdon later). To keep Lopez for sure, and offer Lopez up to $10.3MM, they have to renounce holds, making Brogdon UFA. Maybe Brogdon wants to stay and will take the Bucks’ offer anyway if it at least matches.

    Mirotic subbed for Lopez successfully but he might not like that arrangement permanently. It may not work long term either. There is also Ilyasova, and Giannis able to help from the 4.
    I think they need to retain everyone except maybe Mirotic to contend again– that means going into the tax. Mirotic was expensive insurance that hopefully they do not need.

    • x%sure

      Don’t renounce, trust Lopez wants to stay for $5.7MM MLE.
      Renounce, trust Brogdon wants to stay (Deveney estimate 4/70) and MLE retained.

      • If Brogdon is UFA he will take the most money wherever. He’s already been seriously injured so he knows how fragile the league is for players. Money trumps anything else for him.

        But, I love Brogdon as a player. Hope the Bucks can keep him even ahead of Middleton.

      • You don’t renounce Brogdon if you want him, because you’ll lose his Bird Rights (which is more important than him becoming an UFA).

        You renounce Lopez, because losing his non-Bird rights doesn’t matter. He’s an UFA that will sign for the MLE or not.

        • x%sure

          Thank you. So renouncing Brogdon is a mistake in that I suspect Brogdon will not want to sign quickly without an overpay, so bird rights may well be needed.

          I think the format HR uses for these off-season digests is strained by the more complicated cases such as this. For one, cap holds could be listed. Though that assumes readers could grasp it all!

          • Luke Adams

            The figures next to all the RFAs and UFAs are their cap holds.

            Also, the scenario I outline to get to $10.3MM in cap room doesn’t involve renouncing Middleton or Brogdon — just Mirotic, Frazier, and Pau.

            • x%sure

              Basketball insiders shows cap holds for Brogdon at $1.93MM and Middleton at $19.50MM. The text mentioned the 19.5 but it wasn’t clear if that included Brogdon’s too.

              • Luke Adams

                Brogdon’s, as noted in the post, is actually $3.02MM since he met the starter criteria. Either way, it’s very modest and it’s hard to imagine a scenario where they’d have to renounce it (unless he gets a massive offer sheet they decide they won’t match).

  3. Danthemilwfan

    Sign Lopez, Brogdon and give George hill a 3 year 10 mil contract. Let miratic walk and feel around about upgrades on Middleton(Klay Thompson, trade for Bradley Beals etc…). If not sign Middleton to hopefully less then max deal.

    • Pretty good plan. Run it back.

      If everyone improves, including the team as a whole, as much as they did last season, good things are ahead for Milwaukee.

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