The Bucks are keeping their veteran center in the mix for a few more seasons. Per multiple reports, Brook Lopez and Milwaukee have agreed to a two-year, $48 million deal.
Bucks retain their two cornerstones — Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton — in free agency. Massive for Milwaukee in a market that included a similar lucrative offer for Lopez from Houston. https://t.co/r2BEWGkHRX
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 1, 2023
Free agent Brook Lopez is returning to the Bucks on a two-year, $48 million contract, source tells ESPN. Bucks staved off Rockets' pursuit.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2023
Last season, Lopez started in 78 games, averaging 15.9 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 2.5 blocks per game in 30.4 minutes per game. It marked the most games Lopez had played in a season since 2018-19 and he helped Milwaukee amass an NBA-best 58-24 mark last season.
Lopez was the No. 10 pick by the then-New Jersey Nets in the 2008 Draft and has carved out a steady NBA career in his 15 seasons. A one-time All-Star, Lopez has gone from a low-post scorer and rebounder over the first 10 seasons of his career to a vastly different player since joining the Bucks as a free agent in 2018.
His ability to hit 3-pointers has been a new wrinkle to his game, something he added starting in 2018-19 and took flight with on the Bucks. In his first season there, he hit a career-best 187 3-pointers and was dubbed “Splash Mountain” by Bucks fans as a play off his size, 3-point shot and his favorite Disney ride of the same name.
He has become a defensive stalwart for the Bucks as well and finished second to the Memphis Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. for Kia Defensive Player of the Year honors last season. Milwaukee’s rise from 14th in defensive rating to fourth this season is owed much to Lopez’s successful back surgery, which fixed a problem that limited him to 13 games in 2021-22.
Lopez amassed a career and NBA-high in blocked shots (193) in 2022-23, and puts other high-end defenders to shame in volume. Lopez contested an average of 17.5 shots per game — 45% more than the next busiest man (Nic Claxton, 12.1). He had a defensive rating of 106.6 and shooters were off by 4.7% when he’s in their way or on their minds.
“Brook is a cheat code,” Antetokounmpo said in 2021. “He can rebound the ball. He can score the ball for us. He can make 3s. His defense is unbelievable. He’s just making it tough for anybody who comes in the paint.”
Information from The Associated Press and NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner was used in this report.