When/if basketball returns this season, the NBA will have a lot of adjusting to do. They might have to play in empty stadiums for a while and they might have to jump right to the playoffs or some form of it. Looking beyond this season, they’ll have to accommodate their loss of basketball-related income by potentially dropping the salary cap in the immediate future.

COVID-19 forced the NBA to suspend their season with 21 percent of their games remaining, meaning the league is losing out on one-fifth of it’s income while still paying player and executive salaries, among other expenses.

After playing under a $109.1 million salary cap this season, at the end of January the league projected the cap to rise to $115 million next year. Now, that could drastically change depending on what happens the rest of the season.

The league is set to lose out on a ton of money no matter how this all plays out. FiveThirtyEight projects the league could lose $1 billion while a team executive told Ben Golliver of the Washington Post the number could be closer to $1.2 billion.

How will that affect the salary cap next season? John Hollinger of The Athletic thinks the cap could drop by $8 million even if the postseason is played out.

This is all hypothetical and there’s a lot of ballgame left before any final decisions are made. As of now, the Milwaukee Bucks have at least $109.1 million tied up in 2020-21. Let’s take a look at who is under contract (and what they’re owed) and who is set to be a free agent next year:

Under Contract Next Season

Khris Middleton: $33.1 million. Middleton signed a massive extension with the Bucks last summer and will be starting the second year of his five-year, $177.5 million deal. The contact maxes out at $40.4 million in the final year, 2023-24, and is also a player option.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: $27.5 million. Contrary to some beliefs, Antetokounmpo is still under contract with the Bucks for one more season. He was initially eligible to sign a supermax deal on July 1 worth 35 percent of the cap. We’ll have to see how that changes with the league currently on hiatus.

Eric Bledsoe: $16.9 million. Bledsoe will go into the second year of a four-year, $70 million extension he signed in 2019. After 2020-21, he’s owed $18.1 million and $19.4 million respectively, although the final season is only partially guaranteed at $3.9 million.

Brook Lopez: $12.7 million. Lopez signed a fairly reasonable four-year, $52 million deal with the Bucks last summer and will be in the second year in 2020-21.

George Hill: $9.6 million. Hill will be entering the second year of a three-year, $28.8 million deal he signed with the Bucks last summer. He’s owed $10 million in 2021-22, but only $1.3 million is guaranteed.

*Ersan Ilyasova: $7 million. Ilyasova is technically under contract next season, but it’s basically a team option. It’s fully non-guaranteed, meaning Milwaukee can cut him loose without owing him a penny.

D.J. Wilson: $4.5 million. Wilson will be entering the final year of his rookie contract before becoming a restricted free agent in 2021-22.

Donte DiVincenzo: $3 million. One of the best values on the Bucks’ roster, DiVincenzo still has two years remaining on his rookie deal before entering restricted free agency. He will make $4.7 million in 2021-22 when Milwaukee picks up his club option.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo: $1.7 million. Antetokounmpo will be in the final year of his fully-guaranteed, two-year deal he signed last offseason. He’ll be a restricted free agent in 2021-22.

Player Options

Wesley Matthews: $2.7 million. The Bucks would be very fortunate if Matthews accepts his player option next season. He signed for the veteran minimum last summer and worked in a player option to regain some control.

Robin Lopez: $5 million. Similar to Matthews, Lopez signed for under the market value and asked for a player option in return. He could probably command more in unrestricted free agency so it will be interesting to see what he does.

Restricted Free Agents

Sterling Brown: A former second-round pick, Brown will be a restricted free agent this season, meaning the Bucks have the ability to match any offer. It’s a weak free agent class and Brown has been buried on the bench more this season than ever before.

Unrestricted Free Agents

Pat Connaughton: Connaughton signed a two-year, $3.4 million deal in 2018 and has merely lived up to the contract. He’s a fine ninth-man, but nothing more and nothing less.

Kyle Korver: Giannis Antetokounmpo and company recruited Korver to join the Bucks last summer instead of retiring. At 39-years-old, he can still shoot but do little else. It will be interesting to see if he feels he has enough left in the tank.

Marvin Williams: Williams joined the Bucks in February after being bought out by the Charlotte Hornets. Milwaukee could use a guy like him next year, especially if they cut ties with Ilyasova.




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