1. Bucks bring back Lopez
Middleton is the Bucks’ second-leading scorer, but bringing Brook Lopez back was an even bigger signing. Milwaukee needs both players to win, but Lopez’s ability to protect the rim, score, space the floor, and play stout defense makes him irreplaceable. This is no knock on Jrue Holiday or Khris Middleton, but Lopez is just more important to keeping the squad in contention.
The seven-footer finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting and forms one of the best defensive duos in the league with Giannis. The Houston Rockets made a hard charge for Lopez, and losing him would have made contending difficult in Milwaukee.
The Bucks had to re-sign both Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez to keep Antetokounmpo. Giannis is extension-eligible this summer, and Milwaukee falling from the championship picture could have forced the two-time MVP’s hand. Re-signing Lopez and Middleton gives the Bucks plenty of firepower and should keep the Greek Freak on the Bucks for at least one more season.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Cleveland Cavaliers improved their title odds in free agency, but things are far from done. Miami is the favorite to land Damian Lillard, and the 76ers are shopping James Harden. Those two massive dominos will alter the landscape, but the Chicago Bulls have plenty to prove in the deep Eastern Conference. Can they improve next season? Stay tuned to find out.