The Milwaukee Bucks are certainly the center of several rumors so far this offseason. Khris Middleton turned down his $40.3 million player option and Brook Lopez is going to be an unrestricted free agent once free agency starts.
Additionally, many fans have been calling for the organization to trade All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday for a younger, more dominant player.
One really has to question the logic behind that, as no NBA team will trade a younger superstar for a player that has expressed his desire to retire once his contract is up.
Indeed, all signs point to the Bucks bringing Middleton and Lopez back, and they certainly plan on keeping Holiday. While many fans may not like it, everything the franchise has done this offseason points to this.
The Milwaukee Bucks Biggest Offseason Prediction Is Holding onto Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday
More and more NBA analysts are beginning to realize that all the Middleton-Holiday trade rumors were just smoke. In a Bleacher Report publication that gave one big prediction for each NBA team in free agency, Andy Bailey wrote:
Milwaukee Keeps Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton
The top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round loss to the Miami Heat was a disappointment big enough to open the doors for a roster shakeup. They were reportedly in on the Bradley Beal sweepstakes before the Phoenix Suns ended that.
And they could be players for other options in the coming weeks.
But Milwaukee can pretty reasonably attribute this postseason’s failures to poor health.
Giannis Antetokounmpo missed two games of the Bucks’ five-game series loss, and Khris Middleton spent much of the season on injured reserve.
But when those two have been on the floor with Jrue Holiday over the last three regular and postseasons, Milwaukee is plus-11.8 points per 100 possessions.
Keeping that together feels like the safest approach. And though Middleton declined his player option, the Bucks have his Bird rights and a “return to the Bucks on a new deal remains a possibility,” according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
What is most interesting about Bailey’s analysis is the line “But Milwaukee can pretty reasonably attribute this postseason’s failures to poor health.”
The Bucks still have not lost a playoff series in which Giannis, Middleton, and Holiday are all healthy for the entire series. Middleton showed in the Playoffs he is still one of the team’s best players. Holiday was an All-Star last year who was, frankly, called on to do too much defensively by former head coach Mike Budenholzer.
This core may not have much time left (Holiday plans to retire in two years), but there is no reason to think they cannot continue to make title runs with them. They can, and they will.