Bucks' Khris Middleton Declines $13M Contract Player Option, Will Be Free Agent

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2019

DETROIT, MI - APRIL 20: Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks shoots a free throw against the Detroit Pistons during Game Three of Round One of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on April 20, 2019 at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Chris Schwegler/Getty Images

Khris Middleton will officially become a free agent after declining his $13 million player option for 2019-20, according to ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The option was the final year of his original five-year, $70 million contract signed in 2015, which was front-loaded. He will now have the opportunity to potentially earn a max contract on the open market, which could pay him north of $30 million per year.

Wojnarowski added Middleton "is expected to command a five-year max contract to stay with the Bucks – or a four-year, max deal elsewhere in the NBA."

The 27-year-old is coming off an outstanding season as the No. 2 option on the best team in the NBA during the regular season. The wing averaged 18.3 points per game while setting career highs with 6.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

These efforts helped the Bucks finish an NBA-best 60-22 on the season while also giving him his first career All-Star selection.

Although this served as a bit of a breakout year nationally for Middleton, he was arguably even better in 2017-18 when he averaged 20.1 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. His all-around effort helped him finish last season ranked 36th in the entire league with 6.9 win shares, per Basketball Reference

He has been an elite perimeter defender throughout his time in the NBA and has continued to improve on the offensive end over the past few years. Adding in a 38.8 percent career mark from three-point range, he can fit in any system and be a key player.

The Bucks would love to keep him on the roster next to Giannis Antetokounmpo, although there will likely be plenty of demand throughout the NBA.

Wherever he ends up, Middleton will likely continue being one of the top two-way players in the NBA. The only difference is he will now be getting paid like one.