Khris Middleton continued to improve during his third NBA season with the Bucks, and finished the year with averages of 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists, while starting in 58 of his 79 appearances and playing 30.1 minutes per contest.
Middleton will be a restricted free agent this summer, and teams may come calling with sizable offers. But Milwaukee wants to make it known that it is willing and able to step up and match.
As far as Khris Middleton is concerned, sources say the Bucks will issue the required qualifying and have every intention of matching any offer sheet Middleton may receive from other teams. The Bucks view Middleton as a core piece to their success last season and will meet whatever price is necessary to keep him in Milwaukee.
That’s a bold statement, but one that needs to be made if the intention is to keep Middleton around.
The way restricted free agency works, teams are reluctant to tender offer sheets if it’s believed they will ultimately be a waste of time. Cap space can be tied up for three days while the team with the player’s rights weighs the option of whether or not to match, and that time is precious during the traditional July frenzy where teams race against one another to get highly-coveted free agents to commit to sign.
We saw this play out last summer with Greg Monroe of the Pistons, and Eric Bledsoe of the Suns. The public stance was that those teams would match, so even as time went on with no deal in place, other clubs simply weren’t willing to commit their cap space with formal offers. It’s the way the restricted free agency game is played in the NBA, and Milwaukee, at this point, is playing it to perfection.