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Despite interest elsewhere, Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez likely to return to Milwaukee Bucks

Two years after winning the NBA Finals, the Milwaukee Bucks are still looking to keep the core parts of their roster together. Coach Mike Budenholzer may not be returning, but the team would reportedly like both Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez back in the fold for the 2023-24 season.

Middleton, a three-time All-Star, has a $40.3 million player option for next year. Being that he’s coming off a season where he missed 49 games due to injury and will be 32 by the time next season starts, Middleton likely wants to pick up that contract option. The alternative could be to opt out, only to secure a long-term extension that guarantees more money in the long run, yet, Middleton may want to prove himself again before entering contract negotiations first.

Lopez’s four-year, $52 million contract signed back in 2019 is set to expire, meaning he’s set for unrestricted free agency later this summer. Despite being 35, the 7-footer is coming off a strong season where he averaged 15.9 PPG, 6.7 RPG, and 2.5 BPG, playing a key role as the Bucks’ starting center.

Naturally, if either or both Middleton and Lopez hit the open market, several other contenders would have an interest in the proven vets. But NBA insider Marc Stein says the Bucks’ cap flexibility should allow them to retain their key pieces this offseason.

“The working assumption around the league is that both Middleton and Lopez will stay in Milwaukee. But even that comes with considerable uncertainty because A) no one knows yet how much it will cost to re-sign them and B) if the Bucks will have any flexibility to make the moves they need to make to freshen up the rest of the roster.”

NBA insider Marc Stein on Milwaukee Bucks’ plans Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez

The Bucks may have been eliminated in the first round of the NBA playoffs this year, but after securing the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, even though we’ll see a coaching change, the front office isn’t looking to drastically alter the roster this offseason. After winning 58 games, even without Middleton available for much of the season, the Bucks believe in their core.

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