In a shortened 2020 NBA offseason, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s future with the Milwaukee Bucks is the domino that could completely change the future of multiple teams.
So far, the two-time MVP has said he won’t push for an exit from this team this offseason and discussed the future of the franchise in a private meeting with ownership, but there have also been more cryptic signs, like unfollowing his Bucks teammates on Instagram.
Even if Antetokounmpo says he’s staying with the Bucks next season, the bigger questions of Antetokounmpo’s free agency next offseason remains. Will Antetokounmpo sign a supermax extension worth over $200 million in the coming weeks to stay with the team in the long term, or will he decide to test the market and potentially go elsewhere?
One interview with Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet provided another glimpse into Antetokounmpo’s thinking about the situation. Simply put, Antetokounmpo wants to stay with the Bucks, provided they give him the chance to win championships. The important snippet of the conversation, via Alexander Nilson:
Antetokounmpo: There are a lot of rumors. Everyone has opinions. But at the end of the day, I will do what is best for my family. I do not see why I could not be in Milwaukee for several years. As long as Milwaukee and I are on the same page when it comes to being one of the best teams in the league and winning championships, that's fine. When it changes, it will not be good. It's easy, I want to be a winner. I do not care about the money. My family is fine and I can take care of my children and grandchildren so that's not the most important thing right now, it's winning. As long as we can win and create a winning culture, it will be good.
Aftonbladet: So your plan is to stay in Milwaukee next year and then maybe sign an extension?
Antetokounmpo: I do not know what the plan is. It depends on what decisions they make. If they make the right decision, I'll be there for many years. If they do not, we'll see. The NBA is business and we take it day by day. Hopefully we can succeed together.
It’s not clear what decisions Antetokounmpo is looking for from the Bucks, but the team is probably well aware of his wishes. We can at least assume that standing pat with the team that excelled in the regular season only to again fall short in the playoffs is not the decision Antetokounmpo wants to see.
The rub of the Bucks’ Antetokounmpo situation is that if the team can’t convince him to lock in for the long term, it likely won’t be able to sign him to an extension until after next season. ESPN’s Zach Lowe pointed out that Anteokounmpo won’t be able to sign a supermax in the middle of the season.
Antetokounmpo says he doesn’t care about money in the interview above, but turning down the tens of millions of extra dollars the supermax represents just to commit to the Bucks during the season doesn’t sound like a sacrifice anyone would be willing to make.
So, for the Bucks, it’s either make the right moves and get Antetokounmpo to sign the supermax this offseason, or wait until next offseason and hope that this year’s playoffs were enough to convince him Milwaukee is the place to be going forward.
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