NBA

A Breakdown of How the Milwaukee Bucks Get Paid

The NBA bubble allowed more teams into the playoff picture than usual. Yet eyes are set on the Lakers in the West and Bucks in the East. LA’s salaries are no secret; they include huge contracts for LeBron James and Anthony Davis and even a nearly $15 million annual salary for Danny Green. However, we know much less about how the Milwaukee Bucks get paid.

Where’s the money going? How much is reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo earning, and is the team set up to thrive?

The new Bucks owners took charge to land Giannis Antetokounmpo

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According to NBA.com, a team of Wisconsin investors originally controlled the Milwaukee Bucks. Then, in 1985, Herb Kohl eventually purchased the team. The Kohl’s department store co-founder controlled the team for the next 30 years. Then, in 2014, he sold it to a group of entrepreneurs, Marc Lasry, Wes Edens, Jamie Dinan, and Mike Fascitelli.

Since then, the Bucks have returned to the national spotlight with the emergence of Antetokounmpo. Poised to be at the forefront of the NBA for the next decade, the team’s young star is thriving.

Antetokounmpo will be a free agent after the 2020 season. He’s announced that staying with the Bucks is a distinct possibility. It makes sense; he built his career in Milwaukee. If they pay to keep him then he’ll likely take them to the finals again. On the other hand, testing free agency can be hugely lucrative, especially for someone working on back-to-back MVP seasons.

How the Milwaukee Bucks get paid for 2019-20

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo
Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks sits on the bench between teammates | Stacy Revere/Getty Images

Full information on the Bucks’ payroll is available on Spotrac. The Greek Freak is the second-highest-paid player on the team behind Khris Middleton, though this will likely change as he hits free agency next year. The rest of the players’ salaries are fairly standard.

The only surprise involves journeyman Kyle Korver‘s minimum contract. It makes sense; Korver is at the end of his career with his best playing days behind him. But signing Korver to a contract shows the Bucks front office is seeking leadership for their young team. With plenty of experience, Korver has been in the NBA for almost two decades.

Eight of the Bucks’ players are under 30 years old, and some of their most exciting, including Antetokounmpo, are younger than 25. Korver is a great pick to ensure they avoid common mistakes while coming up in the league.

Another growing star could strain the Bucks’ budget

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Aside from Antetokounmpo’s looming free agency, there’s also for Khris Middleton’s player option in the 2023-24 season. Currently the highest-paid player on the Bucks, it will take a lot of clever financial work for the team to pay him the staggering $40,396,552 on the books for that year.

Rumors are already floating that the Miami Heat are interested in Antetokounmpo. Some think they may angle for Middleton in addition or instead. All in all, the Bucks seem to know what they’re doing from a salary standpoint. Grappling with Antetokounmpo’s free agency will be a struggle, but it also hinges on Milwaukee’s postseason performance.

If Giannis and company pick up a championship ring, it’s much more likely he’ll stay in Cream City. Additionally, one of the Bucks’ larger investors is Aaron Rodgers, who’s taken a Wisconsin team to the big game and won it. Maybe that will convince Antetokounmpo to stay.