Bucks GM confirms team will offer Giannis Antetokoumpo supermax next summer

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This is about as big a secret as President Donald Trump’s feelings about Joe Biden:

Next summer the Milwaukee Bucks are going to offer Giannis Antetokoumpo a supermax contract, worth five-years and an estimated $247 million.

But if you need proof, here is Bucks GM Jon Horst at a recent town hall event in Milwaukee, courtesy Fox Sports Wisconsin.

Here’s your money quote:

“First of all, the answer for now is that we can’t talk and negotiate anything. So Giannis, basically, a year from now will be eligible for a supermax extension. At that time, of course, he will be offered a supermax extension.”

While Antetokoumpo is under contract for two more seasons (at $53 million, total) next summer he can be offered an extension. After winning the MVP last season, he is eligible for the “supermax,” giving him 35 percent of the Bucks salary cap space.

Of course the Bucks were going to offer the max. That was never in doubt. The question is, will Antetokoumpo accept it?

Very likely, yes.

There have been rumblings that if he doesn’t feel the Bucks are doing all they can to win a title, he could look around.

That may be mostly wishful thinking from some quarters. Talking to sources around the league, teams are watching the Antetokoumpo situation but widely expect he will re-sign in Milwaukee. Unlike Anthony Davis and others, there are no meaningful signs of discontent.

The rumors Antetokoumpo wants to make the finals may be simply a warning to the Bucks front office. This is a team that heads into the coming season as a title contender and Antetokoumpo wants to keep the pressure on so the team doesn’t make cost-cutting moves that hurt them on the court.

Horst seems to get that in his comments, mentioning coach Mike Budenholzer.

“Bud and I talk about this all the time. It’s our responsibility to create an environment, a culture, a basketball organization where our players want to come to work everyday, players that they want to play with everyday, and they want to win at the highest level. And we’ve taken great steps towards that last year. We’ve continued to build on that. We’re going to continue to build on that. I think we all fully believe that if we continue to put the right things in place and give Giannis the right opportunities — he loves Milwaukee, he loves the state of Wisconsin — I think he’ll be a Buck for a long time.”

Giannis is a loyal person and considers Milwaukee his home in America — it’s the only place he’s lived and played. He almost certainly takes the big paycheck and stays, but in this NBA nothing is 100 percent certain.

Watch Dinwiddie get ejected for elbow to Poole’s face; Mavs still win behind Doncic 41 points

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Dallas has gotten in trouble this season because of a lack of secondary shot creation behind Luka Doncic, so when Spencer Dinwiddie got ejected for an elbow to the face of Golden State’s Jordan Poole, it seemed like the Mavericks might be in danger of falling to the Warriors.

Doncic had other plans — and a 41-point triple-double.

The ejection happened early in the fourth quarter, when Dinwiddie drove the lane on Poole and, bringing the ball up, elbowed Poole in the face.

That was reviewed by the referees who ruled it a Flagrant 2. The league has cracked down on blows to the face and head — intentional or not — the past couple of seasons.

Dinwiddie being out just meant more Luka — and that was bad news for the Warriors.

Despite Doncic and his triple-double, the Warriors had a couple of chances in the final seconds. First, Stephen Curry got called for a travel.

The Warriors argued that call but got nowhere with the referees. But they got one more chance on a Klay Thompson 3 to tie, but it was just not their night.

The Mavericks got the 116-113 win. Tim Hardaway Jr. pitched in 25 points, including five 3-pointers for Dallas. Curry led the Warriors with 32.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.