When the free agency season started on June 30th, the Milwaukee Bucks immediately locked up center, Brook Lopez, on a 4 year, $52 million dollar all guaranteed deal.
At 31-years-old, Lopez is on the wrong side of his prime, but he is perhaps coming off his most impactful season since 2014-15. Last year, he only missed 1 regular season game for the Bucks and averaged 12.5 points per game, 4.9 rebounds, and a career high 2.2 blocks. Also, he shot 45.2% from the field and 36.5% from three while setting an NBA record for 3-pointers made by a player 7 feet or taller. Speaking of 3-pointers, as fellow Cream City Central writer, Alexander Juneau, started on Twitter @junesfoshiz, “Lopez hit 187 threes for Milwaukee last season. If he can hit 387 more over this contract (about 97 per season), he will pass Brandon Jennings for 4th All-Time among Bucks. Lopez could end up being one of the most prolific shooters in Bucks history.” This seems very likely to happen given Brook’s style of play. Brook’s advanced numbers also looked very good for the Bucks last season meaning his averages had some merit to them. Lopez had a 14.6 player efficiency rating in 2018-19 which was actually higher than Warriors’ star, Draymond Green. He also had 2.3 offensive win shares and 4.3 defensive win shares. The 4.3 DWS Brook had was higher than All-Stars Joel Embiid, Karl Anthony-Towns, Lamarcus Aldridge, and Blake Griffin.
At first glance, 4 years, $52 million seems like a lot for Brook Lopez but when you compare his deal to other centers deals like Jonas Valanciunas and Dewayne Dedmon, Lopez is a steal. Admittedly, I was one of those guys who didn’t want to pay Lopez and just sign someone like Dewayne Dedmon to fill in his role. However, when free agency hit, Dedmon signed with the Kings for 3-years, $40 million. If the Bucks signed Dedmon for that amount of money, I’d be furious. To me, Dedmon was a guy worth 7-10 million per year, not 13. As for Valanciunas, he was signed by the Grizzlies for 3-years, $45 million. Both of these deals are overpays for guys who aren’t as valuable as Lopez. Out of those three players, if I’m going to pay one of them $13 million a year, it’s going to be Brook Lopez every single time. When looking deeper into it, the Bucks essentially got Lopez at a very fair price.
The last time Brook Lopez was a UFA and signed with a team (Nets), he put up 20.6 points per game and almost 8 rebounds the very next season. Lopez is a guy who will go out and prove he is worth the money, not a guy who will get paid and take his foot off the gas. Except the same for him in the Cream City.
Lopez became a Milwaukee fan favorite because of his shoot first mentality and his willingness to let it fly from anywhere on the court. He hit 5 or more threes in over 10% of his games with Milwaukee and fans should be excited to see more of that from the 7 footer for the next 4 years. Brook Lopez is a top 15 center in the league and the Milwaukee Bucks made a smart move bringing him back to pair with Giannis and Middleton.