Bucks GM Jon Horst discusses the process to bring back Khris Middleton on 5-year deal
The Milwaukee Bucks were able to re-sign All-Star swingman Khris Middleton to a five-year, $178 million deal in free agency, a move that helped the team keep most of its core from last season intact. Some may wonder whether Middleton is actually worth that deal, but Bucks general manager Jon Horst certainly doesn’t.
In an interview with The Athletic’s Eric Nehm, Horst said re-signing Middleton was a great decision because not only is he one of the best players on the team, but he’s also someone who fits extremely well with the team both on and off the court:
“Khris was always a focus. You and I have talked about that a lot. He’s our second superstar, our second star. He’s an All-Star. He’s been one of our best players for a long period of time here. Fits our culture, fits our style of play, fits our aging curve. He’s become a leader of our team. For us, we want to try to recruit with him and play the culture fit, winning. Create an environment he wanted to play in for a long, long time. A place where his family is happy with Sam and the baby and everything.”
Last season, Middleton averaged 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 4.3 assists for the Bucks, helping the team secure the best record in the league. Although they lost to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals, Milwaukee still believes Middleton is an integral part of their roster. He will play a key role in their quest to win their first championship since 1971, and no matter what others say, choosing to keep Middleton was a no-brainer:
“The process was just identifying we wanted to keep him and figure out how to keep him. A lot of the moves we’ve done over the last two years have been to position ourselves to keep this team together and keep the core of this team together in a way that was financially responsible, in a way that allowed us to be productive and be flexible and have options. Khris was a target obviously and he got a contract that represents that and we think it’s a great contract because we got our second All-Star locked up for the next five years.”
The Bucks’ commitment to Middleton is a testament to how confident they are about the team’s ability to win a championship. The franchise is obviously in a win-now situation, and they made sure to pay up to keep a terrific player. It is now up to Middleton to repay the franchise’s trust in him by taking his game to another level next season.