The Milwaukee Bucks are coming off a productive off-season in which they re-signed franchise cornerstones Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez and, among other moves, also brought in sharp-shooter Malik Beasley on a team-friendly deal. Long-time Bucks fans will know that summers like this are the exception rather than the norm in Milwaukee.

For many years, the franchise failed to retain its top talents while choosing to overspend on players undeserving of the tens of millions of dollars they received from the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks do not have a proud tradition of signing free agents. In fact, very few of their signings could be categorized as net positives. Rather, much of the team's success on the court has come via players obtained through the NBA Draft. Still, Milwaukee has managed to make some smart additions over the years — with many of them coming in recent seasons and correlating with the team's NBA Title triumph in 2021. It might not be the most impressive list, but here are the seven best free agent signings in Milwaukee Bucks history.

Bucks: 7 best free agent signings in franchise history, ranked

7) Dell Curry (1998)

The father of the much more prominent Steph Curry, Dell Curry was a prolific three-point shooter in his own right, hitting 40.2% of his career three-point attempts. Much of his time was spent with the Charlotte Hornets — earning NBA Sixth Man of the Year Honors in 1994. But after a decade in North Carolina, Curry joined the Bucks in the summer of 1998.

His lone season with the Bucks was the strike-shortened 1998/99 campaign, and Curry posted the most efficient shooting season of his career. The veteran guard made a league-leading 47.6% of his three-point attempts and the Bucks made their first playoff appearance in eight years. Curry left in 1999 to finish his career with the Toronto Raptors, but that 1998/99 season set the foundation for the Bucks' relative success at the turn of the century.

6) Bryn Forbes (2020)

You know this list is bleak when you have another guy who played just one season with the Bucks on it. Forbes did help the Bucks secure their first NBA title in 40 years, averaging 10 PPG while hitting a career-high 45.2% of his threes. His numbers may have been worse than Dell Curry's, but the postseason success gets Bryn Forbes a little higher up on this list.

5) Pat Connaughton (2018)

Connaughton joined the Bucks when the team was on the verge of breaking through Milwaukee had narrowly fallen in the playoffs each of the last two years, and in Connaughton's first season, the team earned the number-one overall seed in the Eastern Conference and would reach the conference finals for the first time since 2001. The Notre Dame product has spent five seasons in Milwaukee now, helping the franchise win an NBA Title in 2021 and leading the team to no worse than a three-seed.

Statistically, Connaughton's contributions have been modest: 7.3 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.5 APG, but he is a selfless, high-energy player off the bench who can easily slot into the starting lineup while needed. Planet Pat also offers a unique skill set as a guard who crashes the boards and is a prolific dunker as well.

4) Mo Williams (2004)

Mo Williams played for the Bucks during one of the worst periods in franchise history. During his four years in Milwaukee (2004-2007), the team went 124-204 and made a single playoff appearance as an eight-seed in 2006. Williams was the team's number-two scorer behind Michael Redd during this period, averaging 14.1 PPG as a Buck while leading Milwaukee in assists in three of his four seasons (5.7 APG). On December 20, 2006, he also became the 15th player in franchise history to record a triple-double, putting up 19 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists in a blowout win against defending champions the Miami Heat.

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Williams only got the recognition he deserved once he left Milwaukee. The point guard signed a six-year, $51.3 million extension with the Bucks in 2007 and was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers after one season. In his first season with the Cavaliers, Williams helped the Cavs earn the number-one overall seed in the Eastern Conference and he earned his first and only All-Star Game nomination despite putting up similar numbers to his best years in the Cream City.

3) Greg Monroe (2015)

On July 9, 2015, the Milwaukee Bucks re-signed Khris Middleton to a five-year, $70 million deal. That same day, the franchise also brought in free agent center Greg Monroe, signing the former Detroit Pistons center to a three-year, $50 million deal. Middleton's contract will go down as one of the best bargains in Bucks history, but the signing of Monroe signaled to the rest of the NBA that Milwaukee was not going to sit idly by anymore. Milwaukee had frequently thrown money to re-sign its own players, overpaying the likes of Michael Redd, Larry Sanders, Dan Gadzuric, and Tim Thomas, but rarely spending on outside free agents. And when they did, these players usually underperformed; Anthony Mason, Bobby Simmons, and Drew Gooden are the main examples.

But Greg Monroe was different. Even though he did not quite fit in the Bucks' system and stayed for just over two seasons, they were two very productive years in Milwaukee. Across 2015-16 and 16-17, Monroe put up 13.5 PPG while also bringing down 7.7 rebounds per contest. Monroe was also part of the trade that brought Eric Bledsoe to Milwaukee in 2017, furthering the Bucks' progress in their quest for an NBA Title. He was not the most impactful signing on this list, but Greg Monroe was the type of player the Bucks needed at a time when they needed him.

2) Bobby Portis (2020)

“Bobby, Bobby, Bobby” was the chant from Milwaukee Bucks fans every time Bobby Portis made a bucket in Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Finals. Portis scored 16 points in total in 22 minutes off the bench, providing the energy boost the Bucks needed to cross the finish line in their NBA Title triumph. That was the type of production Portis — who joined on a two-year, $7.4 million deal from the New York Knicks — gave the Bucks all season. The veteran big man only started seven games but averaged 11.4 PPG and 7.1 RPG across 66 contests while averaging only  20 minutes per night.

Portis' output only increased the next two years, as he averaged nearly a double-double while featuring in the starting lineup more often. He also gave the Bucks a much-needed edge — a guy who is willing to get in a scuffle or two to defend his teammates and boost his side's energy on the floor. Bobby Portis is another key championship contributor, making him one of the best free agent signings in Milwaukee Bucks history.

1) Brook Lopez (2018)

Stat of the day: Brook Lopez did not make a three-point shot during the first six years of his career. During his five years with the Milwaukee Bucks, Lopez has hit 539 shots behind the arc. Add in an average of 2.1 blocks per game, and Brook Lopez is something of a unicorn even by modern NBA standards. Last season, only three NBA players posted a 122 offensive rating on at least 10 shot attempts/game while also earning a defensive rating of less than 110: Joel Embiid, Anthony Davis, and Brook Lopez. And Lopez was the only one to shoot better the 33% from deep.

When Brook Lopez joined the Bucks in 2018, the team already had a pair of veritable superstars in Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Lopez provided Milwaukee with the consistent presence down low — both on offense and defense — that the team desperately needed. Brook Lopez is hardly a superstar, but few free agents in recent years have made the kind of impact with their new teams that Lopez has.