Bucks: Greg Monroe, Khris Middleton sign new deals


While it didn’t have the entertainment value of the DeAndre Jordan saga, the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday quietly went about the business of building on last season’s 41-win, playoff campaign by officially signing free agent center Greg Monroe and re-signing shooting guard Khris Middleton.

Monroe was introduced at a press conference at the Bucks training facility in St. Francis, with Middleton—his teammate for a season with the Detroit Pistons—with him.

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“I feel like this was the best fit for me,” Monroe said, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It was purely a basketball decision. I’m a basketball player. I love this game. Nothing else mattered but basketball to me and that’s why I’m here.”

Monroe signed a three-year, $50 million deal that includes a player option after the second year. Middleton’s contract is for five years and $70 million.

Middleton didn’t even get a visit from the Bucks. A phone call was enough.

“There was no need to come visit me,” Middleton told reporters. “I just needed a simple phone call. They wanted to go down to see Greg, so I was definitely OK with that.”

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Middleton played a role in the recruitment of Monroe. The pair were teammates in 2012-13 with the Pistons.

“I was bugging him quite a bit, I will say that,” Middleton said of his contact with Monroe via telephone. “Almost every couple hours.

“When I was in Detroit, Greg was somebody who competed as hard as he could every night and wanted to win. He’s very talented and skilled and he can score on the block. He can step away, make moves and make plays for everybody. I think he’s going to fit in great with us.”

Monroe’s agent, David Falk, said when the agreement was announced that Monroe chose Milwaukee because he wants to go to the playoffs. When asked about his hunger to play in the postseason after five playoff-free seasons in Detroit, Monroe was honest.

“Maybe the correct word is starving for the playoffs,” Monroe said.

Monroe, at 25, will be one of the older players on the roster after the trade of Jared Dudley to the Washington Wizards and Thursday’s deal sending center Zaza Pachulia to the Dallas Mavericks.

The starting lineup will feature Monroe, Middleton—who will be 24 in August, 23-year-old Michael Carter-Williams and a pair of 20-year-olds in Jabari Parker and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

If that isn’t the definition of a “young core,” I don’t know what would qualify.

Monroe was the seventh overall pick out of Georgetown in the 2010 NBA Draft and spent five years in Detroit, averaging 14.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.2 steals in 31.3 minutes per game and shooting .505/0-for-7/.693.

Last season, he averaged 15.9 points and a career-high 10.2 rebounds per game—his first career double-double season—to go with 2.1 assists and 1.1 steals in 31 minutes per game, while shooting .496/—/.750 (also a career high).

He was limited to 69 games because of a knee strain after missing just three games in his first four NBA seasons.

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  • But the Pistons never sniffed the playoffs during Monroe’s time in Detroit, winning 30, 25, 29, 29 and 32 games under five different coaches in five seasons.

    Middleton was also a Pistons draft pick, going in the second round out of Texas A&M in 2012. After playing only 27 games as a rookie while recovering from a knee injury in his last collegiate season, Middleton was part of the return package in the summer of 2013 in the sign-and-trade deal that sent point guard Brandon Jennings to Motown.

    Last season, Middleton started 58 games and played in 79, averaging 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals in 30.1 minutes per game on .467/.407/.859 shooting.

    But his performance picked up after Brandon Knight was traded to the Phoenix Suns at the trade deadline in February and he was Milwaukee’s No. 1 option in their first-round loss to the Chicago Bulls, averaging 15.8 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 steals and two assists in 38.7 minutes a night.

    He shot just .380/.325/.933 in the series, in part because he was the primary focus of Chicago’s stingy defense under former coach Tom Thibodeau.

    Next: Does Monroe Make Milwaukee Legit?

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