The Bucks won a lot last season while managing four starters on expiring contracts. Milwaukee extended Eric Bledsoe, re-signed Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez and let Malcolm Brogdon go. The Bucks are still rolling.
Bucks owner Marc Lasry, via Sam Amick of The Athletic:
People want issues, and we don’t have any issues. And you know what, we didn’t have any issues last year either. If you think about it, we had four free agents (from last season). You had Khris Middleton (who signed a five-year, $178 million deal in late June), you had (Eric) Bledsoe (who signed a four-year, $70 million extension in March), you had Brook Lopez (who signed a four-year, $52 million deal in July), and then you had Malcolm (Brogdon, who was a restricted free agent but went to the Pacers on a four-year, $85 million deal via sign-and-trade with the Bucks). And you know, we re-signed who we needed to re-sign. So I think the great thing about the Bucks, good or bad, is that there’s very little drama. And I think we have surprised people with the lack of drama, and how good we are.
Lasry is right. The Bucks have done a great job avoiding drama.
Some of that is organizational culture. Some of that is Milwaukee being in a small market. Some of that is how new the Bucks are to the spotlight.
That last factor will wear out as Milwaukee contends for a title and Antetokounmpo nears his super-max decision. Even last season, tension began to emerge around Antetokounmpo as the Bucks lost in the Eastern Conference finals.
But Milwaukee won’t suddenly become a bigger market. If Antetokounmpo stays, the Bucks can maintain organizational stability.
This all works out to help the Bucks retain Antetokounmpo, who has stated an aversion to big-market drama.