Milwaukee Bucks GM Jon Horst got his organization fined $50,000 for stating the obvious: Next summer the Bucks are going to offer Giannis Antetokounmpo a supermax contract worth five-years, $254 million. After that slap on the wrist, no way Horst was going to talk free agency at the Bucks media day Monday.
Antetokounmpo wasn’t going to play along, either.
Of course the Greek Freak was asked about it, it’s a cloud that will follow the Bucks around all season. However, Antetokounmpo said was not and is not going to talk about what will happen next July, he’s focused on May and June. Here’s his quote, via Eric Woodyard of ESPN:
“I’m not gonna talk about it a lot this season, and I’m not going to try to address it,” said Antetokounmpo, the NBA’s reigning MVP, of what could happen next summer…
“I feel like if you have a great team, and our goal is to win a championship and be the last team standing and get better each day, I think it’s disrespectful towards my teammates talking about my free agency and what I’m going through,” Antetokounmpo said. “So when the time is right, we’re all gonna talk about it. I don’t think the time is right.”
That is the right thing for Antetokounmpo to say on a few levels. First, try to make this less of a day-to-day issue around the team, less of a distraction. Second, it keeps some pressure on the Bucks — if this team misses Malcolm Brogdon more than it expects (a real possibility), they could feel pressure to make a move at the trade deadline.
Antetokoumpo is under contract for two more seasons (at $53 million, total). However, after winning the MVP last season, he is eligible for and will get a “supermax” extension offer from Milwaukee, potentially giving him 35 percent of the Bucks salary cap space.
Nearly everyone from other front offices expects Antetokounmpo will take the money and resign in Milwaukee, sources have told NBC Sports. Remember, Milwaukee is his home in the United States, the only city he’s ever lived and played in, he doesn’t have emotional ties pulling him elsewhere. Still, other teams will watch. There are few talents on the level of Antetokounmpo so any chance he leaves — or that Anthony Davis would not re-sign with the Lakers (an even longer shot than Antetokounmpo bolting) — has teams watching and hoping.
And looking for any signs in what Antetokounmpo says during the season.