Bucks’ Pat Connaughton Opts In For 2022/23

Bucks swingman Pat Connaughton has decided to exercise his player option for 2022/23, putting off free agency for another year, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Having opted in, Connaughton will assure himself of a $5,728,393 salary for next season.

Connaughton, 29, had the best season of his seven-year career in 2021/22, averaging 9.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game in 65 appearances (26.0 MPG). He also established new career highs in three-pointers per game (2.2) while knocking them down at a 39.5% clip. Connaughton’s emergence on the wing was one factor in the Bucks’ decision to trade Donte DiVincenzo at the 2022 deadline.

Connaughton’s option decision comes as a bit of a surprise, since he likely could’ve earned a raise if he had chosen to test the open market. John Hollinger of The Athletic (Twitter link) says he felt Connaughton was worth twice as much as his $5.7MM salary and got the sense that a number of teams agreed.

Now that his option has been exercised, Connaughton will be eligible to sign a contract extension for up to four years and approximately $59MM. As Hollinger notes in a follow-up tweet, it’s possible the veteran wing and the Bucks have already discussed the possibility of an extension and reached a mutual understanding contingent on Connaughton opting in.

Theoretically, the Bucks could commit to paying Connaughton the same amount over the next few seasons with an opt-in and extension as they would have if he’d opted out and signed a new free agent contract. Locking in a lower ’22/23 salary should benefit Milwaukee financially, with team salary projected to be well over the luxury tax line next season.

Connaughton had been the No. 20 player on our list of 2022’s top 50 free agents. If you enter our free agent prediction contest and select the Bucks as his destination, you’ll earn a free point.

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