Last night, the NBA free agency period opened. Multiple players already have signed deals with new teams. Others signed deals to return to their teams from this past season. Bobby Portis, for example, signed a two-year $8.9 million deal to stay with the Bucks.
RUN THAT SHIT BACK! Proud to call Milwaukee my home. Wouldn’t want to be no where else! #UNDERDOG
To the fans, thank you for your continued support. Now let’s get it! pic.twitter.com/Xwp8Yfwry1
— Bobby BP Portis (@BPortistime) August 2, 2021
Unfortunately, the Bucks were not able to reach an agreement with PJ Tucker. The player who taught his teammates to be dogs signed a two-year $15 million contract with the Miami Heat. He did, however, have a heart-warming message for the Milwaukee fans.
PJ Tucker on Instagram pic.twitter.com/8MmgsdY2wJ
— Jake Reetz (@jajareetz) August 3, 2021
Milwaukee finished the first night of free agency by signing forward Semi Ojeleye to a one-year deal worth $1.7 million. The veteran forward carries career averages of 3.5 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.
Obviously, the Bucks are not done yet. They still have the tax-payer mid-level exception that they can use, which is worth up to $5.8 million per season. Additionally, they have money available that they saved by not signing PJ Tucker back (the feeling is that they lowballed him). In addition, the Bucks have two trade exceptions they can use, valuing approximately $5 million combined. With this in mind, here are three free agents the Bucks could still consider. Note, they cannot sign all three.
The three-time sixth man of the year is a free agent after spending the last three seasons with the Clippers and Hawks. At 34 years old, he is no longer going to get the long contract offers that he might have a few years ago. The 15-year veteran averaged 11.3 points per game last season, which was his lowest average since the 2013-2014 season. Between the 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, Williams averaged over 20 points per game off the bench for the Clippers.
Obviously, the Bucks could use as much scoring off the bench as they can get. Lou Williams is a well-known scoring threat around the league. Bryn Forbes has turned down his player option, so the Bucks need another shooting threat beyond the arc. Last season, Williams shot a career-best 39.9% from three. He could definitely be a potential signee using the TPMLE or the trade exception from DJ Augustine (a little over $4 million).
What a strange season Victor Oladipo had last year. He started last season with the Pacers, but was very vocal about wanting to be traded, particularly to Miami. Instead, he was shipped off to Houston where he played 20 games. Eventually, the Rockets did trade him to Miami. However, he appeared in just four games after sustaining a quadriceps tear. He tore the same muscle back in 2019.
Due to his injury history and attitude about being traded last season, Oladipo may have taken a huge hit on his value. He just finished a contract that paid him over $20 million per season, but may not get anything near that value this year. If he is willing to take a MLE deal, perhaps for one year just to prove he can stay healthy, the Bucks would be a great fit for him.
With Oladipo, Donte DiVincenzo would move back to the bench. The Bucks would then have a starting five of Oladipo, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Brook Lopez. In his four seasons with Indiana, Oladipo averaged 20.6 points per game. If he came to Milwaukee and put up that kind of production, the Bucks would have one of the most feared offenses in the NBA.
Of course, this scenario is completely dependent on other teams NOT offering Oladipo anything above a MLE deal. Additionally, the TPMLE is not as valuable as a regular MLE, so Oladipo would have to choose the chance for a title over a few more million dollars.
Remember when the Bucks signed Bryn Forbes, a sharpshooter free agent from the San Antonio Spurs? The Bucks could do it again this offseason by going after Patty Mills, a lethal three-point shooter and 12-year NBA veteran.
Over the course of his career, Mills is a 38.8% three point shooter. Additionally, he has averaged 10 points or more off the bench in three of the last four seasons. The one season he did not, he averaged 9.9 points.
Last season, Bryn Forbes averaged 10 points per game off the bench for the Bucks. However, he was also a liability on defense. Forbes also cooled off considerably in the Finals, and did not even play in the last three game. Adding Mills will certainly be a lot like having Forbes on the team, as he is a sharpshooter that does not play defense well.
Mills is coming off of a four-year $50 million contract from the Spurs. There is no way he is going to take a minimum deal. The best the Bucks could offer him is their TPMLE. That would mean he would be making about $8 million less than he did last season. If other teams are not willing to offer him much more than what the Bucks can offer, he may choose the chance at a title over a few million dollars.
*Edit: Since the writing of this article, Mills has signed with the Brooklyn Nets.
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