The Bucks kept their core intact by re-signing Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, but it will be challenging to fill out the roster while remaining under the second tax apron, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. The two new contracts bring Milwaukee’s projected spending for next season to nearly $170MM for eight players, leaving six more to be added without reaching the $182.79MM apron. Nehm points out that they can’t avoid the apron if they use their full $5MM taxpayer mid-level exception and will have to complete the roster mostly through veteran’s minimum contracts and re-signing their own players through Bird rights.
A new one-year deal with Jae Crowder will help, Nehm adds. The Bucks parted with five second-round picks to acquire the veteran forward in February, but he wasn’t a lock to return because he didn’t have the impact on defense that the team was expecting. Thanasis Antetokounmpo will likely be back, according to Nehm, but the Bucks are expected to wait until later this summer to officially sign him to retain their financial flexibility.
Nehm notes that finding a backup point guard will be a priority after losing Jevon Carter to the Bulls. He names Kendrick Nunn as a potential low-cost option, along with Cory Joseph, who is on the market after spending the last two seasons in Detroit.
Nehm suggests that Milwaukee could look for bargains with its other open roster spots. He mentions Kings shooting guard Terence Davis and Raptors point guard Dalano Banton as possibilities, as well the Lakers’ Malik Beasley and Lonnie Walker if they’re willing to accept minimum offers for one year to join a title contender.
There’s more from the Central Division:
- Instead of signing free agents, the Pistons used their cap room to trade for two veterans, which sets them up for big moves at the deadline and next summer, observes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Joe Harris at $19.9MM and Monte Morris at $9.8MM use up virtually all of Detroit’s $30MM in cap space, but they both have expiring contracts that could be valuable at the deadline in February. Sankofa notes that the same is true for Alec Burks‘ $10.5MM deal, while Bojan Bogdanovic is virtually expiring because his 2024/25 contract only carries a $2MM guarantee.
- A family matter will prevent Jabari Parker from joining the Bucks for the Las Vegas Summer League, Nehm tweets. The former No. 2 overall pick is hoping for another NBA opportunity after sitting out all of last season.
- Pacers assistant Ronald Nored will join Quin Snyder‘s staff with the Hawks, tweets Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. Indiana will move Jenny Boucek to the front of the bench and make Jim Boylen an assistant after he served as a consultant last season.