Ever since the Milwaukee Bucks lost to the Miami Heat in the opening round of the NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs, there have been questions surrounding Khris Middleton’s future with the team. Since their season ended, numerous trade scenarios have been floated by a variety of outlets that send Middleton away from Milwaukee. However, as the NBA Finals ended with the Denver Nuggets being crowned champions, more and more signs point to Middleton’s inevitable return to the Bucks.
NBA Insiders Expect Khris Middleton to Stay with the Milwaukee Bucks
Middleton was limited last season due to his recovery from multiple injuries. He averaged just 15.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game in 33 games (19 starts). Prior to last season, he had averaged over 20 points and at least 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game in four of the previous five seasons. In other words, his injuries limited his production. This was evident in the NBA Playoffs, when he was healthier, and he averaged 23.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 6.2 assists per game.
The fact of the matter is that Middleton is still a vital part of the Bucks’ championship aspirations. He knows it. The team knows it. All signs point to his return for the 2023-24 season (and possibly beyond) according to Shams Charania and Chandler Parsons of Fanduel TV:
“He’s expected to resume basketball activities later this summer… When you look at his future in Milwaukee, I think there’s a lot of signs that would point to him going back” 💪@ShamsCharania & @ChandlerParsons on Khris Middleton’s successful right knee surgery #RunItBack pic.twitter.com/miS0FFr9cI
— FanDuel TV (@FanDuelTV) June 14, 2023
“This is a guy who has a $40 million player option. We’ll see, his deadline to pick it up or not is next week before the draft. We’ll see what he does there. But I think when you look at his future in Milwaukee, there are a lot of signs that point to him going back.
“He was very involved in the Bucks’ coaching search. He spent time meeting with ownership, meeting with team officials, as far as where that would go. The fact that he was involved leads me to believe that he feels good about it.”
Charania then asked former NBA player Chandler Parsons what kind of timeline Middleton was looking at in terms of recovery from his offseason arthroscopic knee surgery. Parsons responded:
“This is the perfect time to do it. He’s got the whole offseason ahead of him to [rehab]. This is a super simple procedure. Go in there, 30 minutes, clean it up, it’s just a scope. He can walk out of the hospital after that surgery, Quick rehab. A month, tops, I would say.
“People forget when the Bucks made their run, Khris Middleton was their guy. He was their closer. The ball was in his hands when they needed a bucket, as great as Giannis is. If he opts out, it will be to just get a longer deal. I don’t think he’s going anywhere. He’s a perfect fit.”
A healthy Khris Middleton will certainly make the Bucks more competitive, especially in the NBA Playoffs. People forget, too, that the Bucks have yet to lose a Playoff series in which Giannis Antetokounmpo, Middleton, and Jrue Holiday are all healthy. If Giannis had not gotten hurt against the Heat, Milwaukee may have pulled out a series win this year. If Middleton had not missed the series against Boston last year, Milwaukee probably would have won that one, too, and could have repeated as NBA Champions.
As much as some fans do not want to admit (and I am not sure why), Middleton is vital to the team. He is, in fact, a good player. Just by suggesting that the Bucks could trade him for another All-Star like Bradley Beal or Damian Lillard is proof of his talent.
That being said, he is not going to be traded. He is not going to leave. Why involve him in the search for a new coach just to bid him farewell afterwards? That’s not how these things work.