So… what does Antetokounmpo think about Milwaukee now?
He has about a month to decide on his super max. I think he’s going to decide a lot sooner, and I think there’s a lot of warmth in Milwaukee right now. I’ll just leave it at that.
Marc Stein of The New York Times:
The last two weeks have been filled with chatter that Giannis Antetokounmpo indeed plans to sign his five-year supermax with the Bucks before the Dec. 21 deadline to do so …
The Bucks just made a trade that suggests they must believe it
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 17, 2020
There’s an underlying chicken-or-the-egg question: Would Antetokounmpo agree to the extension because the Bucks went all-in? Or did they go all-in because Antetokounmpo agreed to the extension? It’d be interesting to know whether they were operating from a place of confidence or desperation.
Of course, the question that matters most is whether Antetokounmpo will actually sign the extension.
Coldly, even if Antetokounmpo wants to stay in Milwaukee, it still probably makes sense for him not to sign the extension. A five-year super-max deal with the exact same terms will still be available during 2021 free agency. In the meantime, Antetokounmpo can evaluate key questions:
- How will the salary cap progress? It might be financially prudent to sign a short deal then lock in long-term once once the cap rises.
- How will this roster coalesce? It looks good on paper. But if doesn’t work, Milwaukee is hard-capped this season and devoid of future first-round picks and young talent.
- Will the Bucks continue to spend? They’re heading toward the luxury tax only now that his exit could be imminent.
On the other hand, Antetokounmpo signing the extension would quiet noise that could make the Bucks’ championship pursuit more difficult. It’d give him peace of mind and guarantee a massive payday. There’s an obvious appeal, too.