Giannis Antetokounmpo is officially off the market, and the Internet definitely thinks that is bad news for his younger brother Kostas.
Giannis agreed Tuesday to re-sign with the Milwaukee Bucks on a five-year supermax deal, eliminating the possibility of a departure in free agency next offseason. Kostas plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, and many thought that Kostas’ presence might help lure Giannis to the team.
After news of Giannis’ extension broke, Kostas got hit with a deluge of Twitter memes. Here were some of the best ones:
Kostas did win a championship with the Lakers last season and had one really cool moment during the celebration. But he still made just five total appearances for them all year and averaged a meager 1.4 points per game. Thus, it is safe to say that Kostas is looking pretty expendable right now.
Any rumors of Giannis Antetokounmpo leaving the Milwaukee Bucks in the near future can officially be put to rest.
Antetokounmpo announced on social media Tuesday that he has committed to the Bucks for the next five years.
Giannis has agreed to a five-year, $228.2 million max extension with Milwaukee, according to numerous reports.
Antetokounmpo had until Dec. 21 to sign the max deal.
There have been rumors for quite some time that Giannis could consider signing with the Miami Heat or another team after his deal expired, but he hinted all along that he was never going to leave Milwaukee. Perhaps the birthday gift Giannis received from his teammates earlier this month sealed the deal.
Giannis has won two consecutive NBA MVP Awards. His Bucks finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference each of the past two seasons, but anything less than an NBA title will be a disappointment going forward.
Giannis Antetokounmpo won his second MVP award last season, but he is still working hard to improve on the weaknesses in his game.
The Milwaukee Bucks star had noticeably different mechanics at the free throw line in Saturday’s preseason opener against the Dallas Mavericks. Antetokounmpo started his routine holding the ball lower and closer to his body in an apparent attempt to generate more power from his motion.
When asked about the change on Sunday, Antetokounmpo downplayed it but admitted that he had indeed made a tweak during the offseason.
“No, there’s nothing different,” he said, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “I try not to think about it. Obviously, like a month and a half ago, yeah, I changed something, but now it’s in the past. I’m not thinking about [it]. This is how I shoot free throws right now. This is how I shoot the ball right now.”
Antetokounmpo, 26, shoots a ton of free throws because of how often he drives into the paint. But last season was the worst that he ever shot from the line, as he finished the year at 63.3 percent. Antetokounmpo is still a 72.2 percent free throw shooter for his career though.
The four-time All-Star has gotten trolled over his misses at the line before. But with Antetokounmpo’s new shooting mechanics, maybe that will be a thing of the past now.
Just in case it wasn’t clear, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks teammates would really like to see him stick around for a while.
To make that point, the Bucks recognized Giannis’ birthday by giving him a unique set of presents. Antetokounmpo turned 26 on Sunday, and according to Khris Middleton, his teammates celebrated by gifting him a whole bunch of pens.
“Me and (Pat Connaughton) thought the perfect gift to him from his teammates would be to give him a pen,” Middleton said, via Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “So, 19 pens in his locker for a birthday present. I told him those should be some of the best birthday gifts he’s ever gotten. So, hopefully he enjoys it and uses it.”
The joke, of course, is that the Bucks would like to see Giannis use one of those pens to sign a max contract. As it stands, Antetokounmpo is eligible for free agency in the summer of 2021, but he’s eligible to sign a five-year max deal with Milwaukee right now.
Antetokounmpo has until Dec. 21 to sign on the dotted line. There is some chatter about which way he may be leaning, but maybe a whole host of pens from his teammates will nudge him into a final decision. You never know.
Would Giannis Antetokounmpo want to form part of a “superteam?” It certainly doesn’t sound like the answer is no.
The Milwaukee Bucks star spoke to Greece’s COSMOTE TV and disputed the characterization that he wants to be the undisputed star of his team and lead the Bucks to a title by himself.
“If LeBron and Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis came to Milwaukee, I would have been good with that,” Antetokounmpo said, via Aris Barkas of Eurohoops.net. “I am not interested if I am the top, second or third name, ok? Because I want to win… For sure when I was 18 or 19 years old, maybe I didn’t understand what you need to do to win. But right now, I am 25 and I want to win because when I retire, that’s what people will remember. And if I got LeBron, KD, Davis, if all those came, I wouldn’t mind at all. I don’t care if I am the top (player) on the team.”
So that’s settled. The bigger question is where something like this might happen. Antetokounmpo is careful here, and he phrases everything in a way that suggests he’d want these other superstars to leave their current teams and come play with him in Milwaukee. There are some hints to back up his apparent loyalty.
It’s also worth noting that a couple of those players Giannis cited have taken actions to make teaming up appear less likely.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has won back-to-back NBA MVP awards, but it was a long road to get there.
Antetokounmpo is Nigerian but was born and raised in Greece. The 25-year-old Milwaukee Bucks star was the No. 15 overall pick by the team in 2013 and was not well known back then.
Giannis was the subject of an in-depth podcast exploration on “The Woj Pod.” During the podcast, Giannis talked about how malnourished he and his brothers were before the NBA.
“I did not eat … looking back with the way we eat now, and what you have to do to take care of your body, we didn’t eat enough,” Antetokounmpo recalled. “Sometimes I used to go to school, no breakfast. Not sometimes, every time. Come back, there was sometimes food, sometimes no food. So now you have to go to practice. I used to come back from practice at 11 and have my first meal then.
“We definitely didn’t eat right.”
Antetokounmpo’s agent set him up with a nutritionist, who put the young player on an eating program. Giannis says that he got so much food through that program but he split it with his four brothers.
“He thought I was eating the food,” Antetokounmpo said of his adviser. “I was not eating the food. I was eating 1/4 of the food. I was raised that if my brothers don’t eat, I don’t eat.”
When you think about the kind of beginnings Antetokounmpo came from, his ability to develop into an MVP is one heck of an accomplishment. It also signals that he might be more appreciative of the monster contract he is poised to sign.
Three of Giannis’ brothers play basketball, including one who just won the championship.
The Milwaukee Bucks made a big move on Monday night, and that may not be their only big news in the near future.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is under contract with the Bucks for one more season before he can become a free agent. He has the ability to sign a 5-year max contract extension to remain with the team, and he may end up doing so.
The New York Times’ Marc Stein believes the Bucks’ acquisition of Jrue Holiday signals that Antetokounmpo will likely sign with the team long term.
Antetokounmpo has become a two-time NBA MVP, but he has not yet reached the NBA Finals. Success in the postseason is what is missing on his resume. Adding Holiday to a core with him and Khris Middleton should make Milwaukee a lot more dangerous moving forward and help Giannis feel more comfortable about the team’s direction.
The Miami Heat are viewed as one of the top potential landing sports for Giannis Antetokounmpo if he ends up leaving the Milwaukee Bucks, but the two-time NBA MVP wants tennis star Nick Kyrgios to stop fueling the rumors.
Kyrgios, who is friends with Antetokounmpo, said he recently had a FaceTime call with “The Greek Freak.” One of the first things Kyrgios asked Giannis was whether or not he is planning to sign with the Heat.
“I asked him straight away if he was going to go and join Miami and then he had a massive smile on his face,” Kyrgios told Michael Chammas of the Sydney Morning Herald. “Maybe that could be brewing.”
Kyrgios was almost certainly trying to start trouble, and Giannis sent a tweet on Monday accusing him of doing just that.
Giannis is only under contract with Milwaukee for one more season, but the Bucks are reportedly confident he will sign a supermax extension. Antetokounmpo also recently gave Bucks fans reason to feel optimistic about the situation.
Even if Giannis is intrigued by the idea of playing with Jimmy Butler in Miami, the Bucks can offer him a lot more money than anyone else. He also may feel he has some unfinished business in Milwaukee after dominating the regular season the past two years but failing to reach the finals.
Would Giannis Antetokounmpo ever end up on the Portland Trail Blazers and teammates with Damian Lillard? Probably not, but Lillard still reacted to the possibility.
A popular NBA Twitter user tweeted a suggestion about Giannis ending up in Portland to team with Lillard.
Lillard saw the tweet and reacted with a few shrug emojis.
Antetokounmpo is signed through next season but can become a free agent after that. Milwaukee is confident that Giannis will re-sign with them. If he doesn’t, we don’t imagine he would be looking to Portland, though the combination of Antetokounmpo and Lillard as teammates would be nice. Just don’t expect Lillard to hold his breath waiting for it to happen.
Photo: Frenchieinportland/Wikimedia via cc-by-sa 4.0
Giannis Antetokounmpo would be the biggest free agent on the market if he decides not to sign with Milwaukee long term. But the Bucks apparently are confident he will decide to remain with them.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe had a lengthy notes column published on Thursday that is well worth your time. The main part of the column had to deal with Antetokounmpo’s status.
According to Lowe, many within the Bucks’ organization remain confident that Antetokounmpo will remain with the team. They think he will sign a five-year supermax contract that will be worth an estimated $220-$250 million.
Antetokounmpo has been with Milwaukee since they drafted him No. 15 overall in 2013. He has blossomed into a two-time MVP with them. While the Bucks have dominated in the regular season the last two years, they have yet to reach the NBA Finals during Giannis’ peak. Antetokounmpo may feel like he has some unfinished business with Milwaukee.
Giannis recently gave fans reasons to be optimistic about about his future.