With the likes of Kevin Durant, Jimmy Butler, Klay Thompson, and Kyrie Irving getting most of the attention as far as the NBA's 2019 free agency period is concerned, Milwaukee Bucks small forward Khris Middleton is oftentimes overlooked as someone who could opt out of the final year of his contract next summer. As Middleton is coming off a strong 2017-18 campaign and hoping to play even better this year, ESPN's Zach Lowe recently predicted that the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers could show great interest in the 27-year-old wingman if he chooses to enter free agency after the current season.
In a report published Tuesday, Lowe detailed his list of predictions for the 2018-19 NBA season, which included a number of forecasts for the Milwaukee Bucks, including the possibility of Giannis Antetokounmpo winning MVP and All-Defense honors and the team finishing third place in the Eastern Conference behind the 76ers. Regarding Middleton, Lowe wrote that the seventh-year forward could end up earning close to $30 million a year if he declines his player option and signs a new contract in the summer of 2019, and could make a good addition for teams that miss out on the top names in free agency, with the 76ers and Pacers particularly worth watching out for.
"Middleton is the ideal second banana on a good team, and third banana on a great one. Every team that strikes out on the biggest names will come calling. The Bucks want to retain Middleton, and if he has a good year, they will have to pay up. Keep an eye on Philadelphia and Indiana."Commenting on what could happen if Khris Middleton signs with the Philadelphia 76ers, USA Today's Sixers Wire wrote that the erstwhile Bucks standout could be an "ideal fit" because of his strong outside shooting and passing skills for a wing player. The blog site also called him a "perfect option" to team up with young Sixers stars Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric, even if Philadelphia is likely to look for even bigger names during the 2019 offseason.
Despite Lowe's prediction that Middleton might choose to enter free agency in 2019, the Bucks appear committed to keeping him in Milwaukee. As previously reported by Get More Sports' Chris Sheridan, the Bucks rejected a trade proposal from the Minnesota Timberwolves that would have had Jimmy Butler and Middleton swapping teams.
After missing 53 games in the 2016-17 NBA season due to injuries, Khris Middleton played all 82 games in 2017-18, averaging career-highs of 20.1 points and 5.2 rebounds and adding four assists per game for the Milwaukee Bucks. As shown on his Basketball-Reference player page, Middleton is currently in the fourth year of his contract and will be making $13 million in the 2018-19 NBA season.