Giannis Antetokounmpo has kept his cards close to his chest when it comes to if he will sign a five-year, $254 million supermax contract extension with the Bucks this summer.
He’s said how the team performs in the playoffs will be a significant factor, but little else. It’s a page out of LeBron James‘ playbook, it keeps pressure on the organization. It also keeps fans of the Milwaukee Bucks on edge, and gives fans of other franchises’ hope.
Antetokounmpo’s agent, Alex Saratsis, of Octagon Basketball, played things the same way when speaking to TMJ4 News of Milwaukee — but he also gave Bucks fans reasons to be hopeful.
“Giannis believes in loyalty, he believes in the people who’ve been there with him from the beginning, and I think he feels that kinship to the city because they have really helped raise him,” he said…
“Is he a client you could see staying with one team for his whole career?” asked [interviewer Pete] Zervakis.
“Yeah, I think so. Obviously everybody talks about his impending free agency, and I think everything is open,” Saratsis said. “I think he’s someone who could easily say, ‘I’d like to be in Milwaukee my entire career.’ I think he’s also someone who, depending on how the team does, could say, ‘I need a change.’ But for him, staying is absolutely a viable option.”
There are more than 254 million reasons for Antetokounmpo to stay with Milwaukee, although that much money is going to factor into any decision (the most another team could offer in free agency is four-years, $188 million).
Another reason to stay is Antetokounmpo wants to win, and the Bucks had the best regular-season record in the East last season, are on their way to doing it again this season, and will enter the playoffs the clear favorites to come out of the East. Any team Antetokounmpo would leave for would instantly become good, but would it be built around him and ready to contend like Milwaukee? Probably not.
The other thing, often the most overlooked thing, is something Saratsis mentions: For Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee is home. This isn’t a Paul George/Kawahi Leonard situation where Antetokounmpo wants to get back to where he grew up, he’s not going to play for Panathinaikos. Milwaukee is the only city in America he’s lived in, it’s the first place he and his family could feel safe, and now he has a child in that city. That all ties someone to a place.
It also doesn’t mean Antetokounmpo is staying, either.
On July 1, Milwaukee GM Jon Horst is going to drop that $254 million contract in front of Antetokounmpo. That’s when this story really gets interesting, and we see what the Greek Freak’s cards are.