After the wildest summer ever of NBA player movement and drama fans are lusting for more — which puts MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in the spotlight.
He has two years left on his current contract in Milwaukee and after next season would be eligible for a five-year, $247 million supermax extension, which the Bucks will offer. Will he take it? This is the same contract situation that Anthony Davis was in with the Pelicans one year ago, and AD switched agents then forced his way to Los Angeles. Would Antetokounmpo do the same thing? There are 29 other teams interested in his services (the Warriors come up as one of those very interested teams, although the Bucks aren’t too worried about that one).
The Bucks want to keep him. Not just for his next contract, but for all his contracts. That’s what Milwaukee co-owner Wes Edens told TMZ Sports.
“He’s a special basketball player, obviously, but he’s an even more special person. What you see is what you get. He’s an amazing guy, he’s amazing to the organization, he’s amazing to his family. He’s really an incredible character. Obviously, we want to be a part of his life for the rest of his basketball career.”
Antetokounmpo has said that he wants to stay in Milwaukee for his entire career, although the number of players who said that then bolted a smaller market could fill the Bucks’ new arena.
Two things separate Antetokounmpo’s situation’s from Davis.
First, the Bucks are good. Very good. Title contender good. They built a team around Antetokounmpo and won 60 games last season then made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. They enter the season as the Las Vegas favorites to win the East and they have the third-best odds to win the title. That is a wildly different situation than the Pelicans and Davis a year ago.
Second, and this gets overlooked too much, Milwaukee is Antetokounmpo’s home in America, the only one he’s really known. Milwaukee is where he was drafted and has always lived. It’s the city where he and his family could live together safely (Antetokounmpo grew up in Athens but was a poor, immigrant family that never felt comfortable or safe.) Antetokounmpo has a real bond with Milwaukee, and that matters.
Never say never when it comes to NBA player movement. Anything can happen. However, sources from other teams around the league say of course they are monitoring the Antetokounmpo situation but nobody really expects he’s going to leave. He could join Stephen Curry and James Harden as guys who took the supermax payday and stayed.