Bucks, Knight can’t reach agreement on extension prior to deadline
MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks and Brandon Knight were unable to reach an agreement on a contract extension prior to Friday night’s deadline, making the point guard a restricted free agent following the season.
Teams had until 11 p.m. Central time Friday to reach contract extensions with 2011 first-round picks.
Acquired from Detroit along with Khris Middleton in the Brandon Jennings trade in July of 2013, Knight averaged 17.9 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.9 assists in 72 games during his first season with the Bucks.
"It is unfortunate," Knight said. "I definitely wanted to get it done. I love the organization. I love the coaching staff so far and the players are like my brothers. It is unfortunate that it didn’t happen, but I won’t be worried about it throughout the year.
"This is what I work hard for. I know I’ll be able to do what I did last year and continue to improve as a point guard. I know I will be able to lift my teammates up and win more games this year. I’m looking forward to the year. Hopefully when we revisit it, it will work out."
The No. 8 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Knight has averaged 14.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists over 215 career games with Detroit and Milwaukee.
Several players from the 2011 draft class have received extensions, including: Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Denver’s Kenneth Faried, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic, Utah’s Alec Burks and Phoenix’s Markieff and Marcus Morris.
On Friday, Thompson agreed to a four-year, $70 million extension with the Warriors, while Burks received a four-year, $42 million extension with the Jazz. Ricky Rubio, lumped with the 2011 draft class because of when he made his NBA debut, agreed to a four-year, $55 million extension with the Minnesota Timberwolves just hours before the deadline.
Knight is joined by San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard, Orlando’s Tobias Harris and Chicago’s Jimmy Butler as noticeable players who didn’t reach extensions and will become restricted free agents in the summer.
"At the end of the day, I’m confident in my abilities," Knight said. "I know what I bring to the game and to the team. It is about being in the best situation.
"I felt for me in my situation, what the team is going through and what I’m going through as an individual, it would probably be better to wait it out and just play. There’s no pressure. It’s playing basketball. Either you get it now or you get it later."
Bucks coach Jason Kidd agreed with Knight and feels things will work out for the 22-year-old in the end.
After putting up 22 points, eight rebounds and 13 assists in the season opener, Knight finished with 13 points, seven rebounds and eight assists in 29 minutes Friday in Milwaukee’s 93-81 victory over Philadelphia.
"It is not a negative," Kidd said. "It can only be a positive. If B-Knight plays the way he did in Charlotte for the opener (22 points, eight rebounds, 13 assists), I think he’ll be the one smiling at the end."
With Knight as a restricted free agent, the Bucks will be able to match any offer sheet the former University of Kentucky star may sign with another team.
Although things didn’t work out between the two sides prior to Friday’s deadline, Knight is definitely interested in revisiting negotiations with the Bucks following the season.
"I have a year to play," Knight said. "I’m confident in my abilities and my team, especially. We’ll revisit it and hopefully it will work out.
"I love the Bucks. It is a great organization, and we’re continuing to improve. It is definitely something I want to be a part of."
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