The implication here is Antetokounmpo could’ve gotten more.
There was a max number out there, and that was discussed, discussed internally and externally. And the one thing we asked Giannis to do was take that into consideration as we move forward. Give us every opportunity. We want to become a championship-level team. There’s going to be guys and guys who have done that, players who have given back some. And it’s a little bit of the time, as we move forward, hopefully we’re going to have other guys with the organization willing to do that. Those small pieces can turn into a bigger chunk at some point.
If Antetokounmpo passed on a true max deal, we won’t know how much he saved the Bucks until next offseason. By the time the new salary cap is set and the Collective Bargaining Agreement is agreed upon, it could be substantially more than $6 million over four years. (The complication: With a max deal Milwaukee could have given Antetokounmpo a fifth year on his extension. The non-max limit was four.)
The Bucks have done well in this area. Not only did Antetokounmpo take less than his apparent market value, so did Milwaukee’s second-highest-paid player – Khris Middleton, who signed for $70 million over five years last summer. This puts some pressure on Jabari Parker, who’ll be eligible for an extension next offseason.
As Hammond said, these prudent signings give the Bucks extra money to spend elsewhere.