Well, now that Antetokounmpo has agreed to the extension, the truth is coming out about how Milwaukee would have handled Antetokounmpo entering a contract year.
If Antetokounmpo had given some assurance that he was likely to re-sign in Milwaukee as a free agent, perhaps indicating that he’d be back so long as their season didn’t end before, say, the conference finals, then sources say Bucks officials likely would have taken their chances and moved ahead with the partnership. But if there were no assurances given, with Antetokounmpo simply stating that he planned on being a free agent and that he’d figure out his future when that time arrived, it’s clear the Bucks would have seriously considered whether they needed to take trade calls on him.
An NBA team lying in order to maximize its leverage? This is my shocked face: 😐.
The Bucks didn’t have to trade Antetokounmpo if he declined the extension. It would have been difficult to get satisfactory return considering there was always a possibility he’d re-sign in 2021 free agency. But not even considering trade offers would have been malpractice when the downside was losing him for nothing.
Thankfully for Milwaukee, it’s now moot.
But this revelation will really hurt the Bucks’ credibility the next time they have a generational superstar approaching free agency.