NBA free agency: Malcolm Brogdon to join Pacers on four-year, $85M deal via sign-and-trade with Bucks, per report
Brogdon was a restricted free agent this summer
The Milwaukee Bucks have decided not to retain all of their key free agents. After agreeing to deals with both Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, the Bucks were not willing to pay up to retain Malcolm Brogdon. They were, however, able to avoid losing him for nothing.
According to a report from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Bucks have agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Indiana Pacers in which Brogdon will join the Pacers in exchange for a first-round pick and two second-round picks. Brogdon will sign a four-year, $85 million deal, which is fully guaranteed, per ESPN's Zach Lowe.
The Bucks' decision not to retain Brogdon, which it's quite clear was financial in nature, is going to be re-litigated for years to come. Matching the Pacers' offer to Brogdon of over $20 million per year would have put them in the luxury tax, and it's clear they weren't willing to go there. That's understandable in certain situations where a team isn't competitive, but the Bucks were just two games away from their first Finals trip since 1974 last season, and the title race figures to be wide open next season.
Replacing Brogdon will be easier than replacing either Lopez or Middleton, but there's no question that losing the superb role player will make the Bucks worse next season. Perhaps the Bucks have other moves in store this summer, and Brogdon has had some injury problems early in his career, but it would be disappointing if simply saving a few million dollars in tax payments was the only reason they didn't want to retain him -- especially considering how much money has already been invested in the current roster.
In any case, Brogdon is a great pick-up for the Pacers. He's a terrific defender, capable of guarding multiple positions, as he showed during the Eastern Conference finals when he battled with Kawhi Leonard. And on the offensive end, he's a guard who will prove a perfect compliment to Victor Oladipo with his ability to play both on and off the ball. Last season, Brogdon became just the eighth player in league history to record a 50-40-90 season when he shot 50.5 percent from the field, 42.6 percent from 3 and 92.8 percent from the free throw line.
It will be interesting to see how Brogdon performs in a bigger role, and without the benefit of playing next to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Almost all of his 3-point attempts were classified as wide open -- no defender within six feet -- by the NBA's tracking data, and because of the Bucks' numerous weapons, he could often take advantage of opponents' lesser defenders. But even if his efficiency drops a bit, there's no question that he's a very solid player, and will make the Pacers better on both sides of the ball.
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