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Tuesday April 13th, 2021 1:24AM

Holiday, Bucks ink 4-year extension worth at least $134M

By The Associated Press
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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday has agreed to a four-year contract extension that would be worth at least $134 million if he exercises his option for the final season.

The move represents the latest step in the Bucks’ heavy investment in their trio of Holiday, two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and two-time All-Star Khris Middleton as the franchise chases its first NBA title since 1971.

"Jrue is one of the top guards in the NBA and we are thrilled to sign him to this extension,” Bucks general manager Jon Horst said in a statement Sunday. “Adding him to our team has made us better on both ends of the floor. He’s an elite defender and an impactful offensive player with the ability to score, shoot and facilitate.”

Holiday had a $26.7 million player option remaining for the 2021-21 season as part of the five-year, $126 million contract he signed with the New Orleans Pelicans in July 2017.

Under the terms of this deal, Holiday declines that option but receives base salaries of $30.1 million next season, $32.4 million in 2022-23 and $34.7 million in 2023-24. He also holds a $37 million option for 2024-25.

There are incentives that could push the total value of Holiday's deal to nearly $160 million.

The Bucks’ investment in Holiday, Antetokounmpo and Middleton — even without incentives — totals $105 million in 2021-22, $113 million in 2022-23 and would be $120 million in 2023-24 if Middleton exercises a player option he has for that season.

The 30-year-old Holiday is averaging 17 points, 5.4 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 1.8 steals this year in his first season with the Bucks. He ranks second in the league in steals per game.

The only other NBA players averaging at least 16 points, five assists, four rebounds and 1.5 steals this season are Miami’s Jimmy Butler, Denver’s Nikola Jokić and Toronto’s Fred VanVleet.

Milwaukee paid a heavy price to acquire Holiday in the offseason as it attempted to strengthen the team in hopes of getting a long-term commitment from Antetokounmpo, who signed a five-year supermax extension worth a reported $228 million in December.

The Bucks gave up guards Eric Bledsoe and George Hill, first-round draft choice R.J. Hampton and two future first-round draft picks as part of the four-team trade. They also acquired second-round pick Sam Merrill and gave New Orleans the right to swap two future first-round picks as part of the deal.

This extension comes at a time when Holiday is playing his best basketball of the season. The 6-foot-3 guard has scored at least 22 points in each of his last four games. He had 33 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds Saturday as the Bucks won 129-128 at Sacramento without Antetokounmpo, who sat out with a sore left knee.

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