Giannis Antetokounmpo said he wouldn’t force a trade from the Bucks this offseason.
What about Antetokounmpo’s future in Milwaukee beyond his current contract, which expires in 2021?
Eric Nehm and Sam Amick of The Athletic:
in terms of the reading of the proverbial room, a source with knowledge of the Bucks’ perspective said they’ve had confidence for quite some time now that Antetokounmpo would sign the supermax.
Do the Milwaukee Bucks have reliable insight, or is this just wishful thinking? That’s the $254 million-or-so question.
Antetokounmpo could sign for the super-max either on an extension this offseason or a new contract in 2021 free agency. Either deal would carry the same terms – five years and a starting salary of 35% of the 2021-22 salary cap.
But the 2021-22 salary cap won’t be determined until 2021 and depends on the NBA’s revenue that year. That’s obviously complicated by the coronavirus pandemic and economic fallout. That $254 million estimate was based on the league’s pre-pandemic projections.
Even if the Bucks correctly surmised Antetokounmpo at one point intended to sign the super-max, this information could be dated. It might now make more sense for Antetokounmpo to take shorter contracts then lock in long-term once league-wide revenue stabilizes at a higher level.
If delaying his decision until 2021 free agency, Antetokounmpo would also get another year to assess Milwaukee. Antetokounmpo himself said the Bucks underperforming would make it more difficult to sign with them. Losing to the Heat in five games in the second round certainly qualifies as underperforming. With an older supporting cast and questions about ownership’s willingness to spend, Antetokounmpo shouldn’t blindly assume Milwaukee will solve its problems.
The Bucks would have to prove themselves, and maybe they would. Antetokounmpo could definitely stay.
But playing out next season with an unextended Antetokounmpo would present massive risk for Milwaukee. He could leave for nothing in 2021 unrestricted free agency.
Antetokounmpo could end all the drama by signing a super-max extension this offseason. If he bypasses that deal, it puts a lot of pressure on everyone involved as the 2021 offseason approaches.
For their sake, the Bucks better hope their confidence is founded.