Khris Middleton opts out of deal with Bucks, seeks long-term contract as he enters free agency, per report

Khris Middleton will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

The Milwaukee Bucks All-Star forward opted out of his deal that would have paid him $13 million for the 2019-20 season. Middleton is seeking a long-term contract and will work toward that with the Bucks as he enters free agency this offseason, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The 27-year-old Middleton had a breakout campaign during the 2018-19 season, notching his first All-Star bid while helping to lead the Bucks to a league-best 60-22 record. They won their first playoff series since 2001 and finished with the league's best record for the first time since the 1973-74 season, when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the leading the way.

The breakout campaign by Middleton means that he'll be a candidate to command a max contact in the offseason. He is eligible to sign a five-year, $190 million deal with the Bucks or a four-year, $141 million contract with another team.

As the Bucks look to take that next step into being a championship team after being eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals, they'll have to retain their core. That not only includes Middleton, it also involves the likes of Brook Lopez, Nikola Mirotic and Malcolm Brogdon. In order to shed salary cap space to retain that aforementioned core, there have been reports that the Bucks could look to trade veterans Tony Snell and Ersan Ilyasova.

The 6-foot-8 Middleton averaged 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while serving as the team's starting small forward in 2018-19.

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