Middleton, Lopez will return to Bucks

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The Milwaukee Bucks went into the offseason intent on keeping their core together.

Even before free agency has officially started, the Bucks have apparently taken two giant steps toward doing exactly that.

Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez both plan to be back in Milwaukee next season and for the foreseeable future. Middleton intends return on a five-year, $178 million deal, with the final year being a player option, while Lopez will be on a four-year, $52 million deal. Lopez’s deal does not include any option years, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA TODAY.

The news regarding both players was first reported by ESPN and confirmed by the Journal Sentinel.

Middleton is coming off an all-star season in which he put up the best per-36 minute averages of his career at 21.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists while shooting 44.1% from the field and 37.8% from three-point range.

Lopez had one of the best seasons of his NBA career with the Bucks last season after signing with the team during the summer. He averaged 12.5 points and 4.9 rebounds while contesting more shots than any player in the NBA and becoming the league’s first player to record an average of two made three-pointers (2.3) and two blocks (2.2) per game.

Check back later for more on this developing story.