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Report: Bucks signing Jrue Holiday to largest-possible contract extension

The Bucks traded a whopping three first-round picks and two first-round pick swaps Jrue Holiday last offseason – even though Holiday was only one year from being able to enter unrestricted free agency. Milwaukee would have been capped out with or without Holiday. Especially as a championship contender, the Bucks practically had to pay whatever it took to retain him.

They did.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

Base salary in Holiday’s largest-possible extension:

  • 2021-22: $30,133,333
  • 2022-23: $32,544,000
  • 2023-24: $34,954,667
  • 2024-25: $37,365,333
  • Total: $134,997,333

The rest of the “$160 million” comes from incentives and rounding up.

Some of those incentives are for making the NBA Finals or winning a championship – definitely possible in Milwaukee. Giannis Antetokounmpo is a superstar. Khris Middleton should have been an All-Star, and Holiday deserved far more consideration than he got. The Bucks are outscoring teams by an Eastern Conference-best 6.5 points per 100 possessions. And that’s with increased experimentation to better prepare for the playoffs.

Holiday proved his postseason bona fides with the Pelicans in 2018. He played lockdown defense on Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum then held his own against the Warriors in the second round. Holiday looked so confident scoring and passing on that level.

This isn’t like the last time Milwaukee extended its starting point guard. Eric Bledsoe had already stumbled in the playoffs then continued to do so during his extension. The Bucks can have more faith Holiday’s game will translate to the postseason.

Holiday’s extension will begin when he turns 31 and run through age 34. Antetokounmpo’s supporting cast is aging.

But the championship window is open right now. Milwaukee is correctly prioritizing the present.

Especially considering Holiday could have gained even more leverage this summer.

If he waited until the offseason to sign a new contract, his max would have been at least five years, $228,200,826 ($176,265,466 over the first four years). Again, losing him rather than paying whatever necessary would have been catastrophic for the Bucks.

It’d be surprising if Milwaukee didn’t know when trading for him that Holiday would accept this extension once he became eligible in February. Of course, after the Bogdan Bogdanovic fiasco, the Bucks would have kept any prearrangement with Holiday even more hush.

With Antetokounmpo set to begin his super-max extension, Milwaukee now has $141,600,749 in committed salary for next season. The projected luxury-tax line: $137 million.

Holiday’s extension adds no money to the Bucks’ payroll this season. They slid under the luxury-tax line with the P.J. Tucker trade and will likely remain there. But maybe they’ll make good next year on their pledge to Antetokounmpo about paying the luxury tax.

Or maybe they’ll dump a helpful role player like Pat Connaughton to save money.

Questions still remain about how Milwaukee goes from championship contender to champion. But it’s easier to find answers with a highly productive Holiday locked up.

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