Giannis Antetokounmpo’s future has been a hot topic since the moment the Milwaukee Bucks were eliminated from the playoffs last season, and the reigning NBA MVP does not want to keep discussing it.
Ahead of the beginning of Milwaukee Bucks training camp, Antetokounmpo addressed his contract status with reporters. He said the subject was not something he wanted to keep talking about, saying it is disrespectful to his teammates.
“I feel like if you have a great team, and our goal is to win a championship and be the last team standing and get better each day, I think it’s disrespectful towards my teammates talking about my free agency and what I’m going through,” Antetokounmpo said, via ESPN’s Eric Woodyard. “So when the time is right, we’re all gonna talk about it. I don’t think the time is right.”
He’s right that it’s a distraction and not something helpful to his goal of team-building. A report when the Bucks were eliminated said Giannis wants to make the NBA Finals before signing a long-term extension with Milwaukee. Antetokounmpo will be eligible to sign a massive five-year, $253.3 million extension next year. The Bucks want to see nothing more than Antetokounmpo sign with them long-term; he’s critical to their championship hopes.
The Milwaukee Bucks have every intention of paying Giannis Antetokounmpo as much money as they possibly can to convince him to finish his career with the team, but apparently they are not allowed to say that publicly.
On Tuesday, the NBA announced that the Bucks have been fined $50,000 for comments general manager John Hurst made about the team’s plan to offer Giannis a super-max contract extension next summer. NBA rules state that they are not allowed to talk publicly about that yet, even though Antetokounmpo is their own player.
Fine is in response to Bucks GM Jon Horst recently saying Giannis Antetokounmpo will be offered the five-year, nearly $250M supermax next summer when he is eligible for extension. https://t.co/tUR7nIKXk7
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 24, 2019
That seems a bit absurd.
The NBA recently took steps toward penalizing teams more severely if they are found guilty of tampering, but tampering almost always involves talking about a player who is under contract with another team. Giannis is one of the best players in the NBA, and contract rules are designed to give the Bucks the advantage in re-signing him before or when he becomes a free agent. They shouldn’t be fined for stating the obvious.
For what it’s worth, Giannis has hinted that he may accept the insane max extension the Bucks will be eligible to offer him after next season.
Giannis Antetokounmpo has already accomplished some things on the basketball court that the overwhelming majority of NBA players could only dream of, but the reigning NBA MVP still feels he has not come close to reaching his full potential. Veteran teammate Brook Lopez agrees.
After he took home the NBA MVP Award last month, Antetokounmpo said he believes he has only accomplished 60 percent of what he is capable of. When asked about that comment in a recent interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Lopez said he sees it the same way.
“I mean, it’s crazy that with the level he’s at now, he still has another level or two to go in his game,” Lopez said. “He could become a way better player than he is now, which has got to be a scary thought for the entire league.”
Giannis averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.3 steals per game last season. He’s virtually unstoppable when he’s on his game, and there are few players in NBA history who are or were more explosive going to the basket. Despite that, he seems to do a great job of keeping himself grounded and always wanting more. Remember, this is the same player who asked Bucks fans to stop calling him the MVP even after he won the award.
Antetokounmpo is just 24, so his best years could very well be ahead. He’s made it clear what his No. 1 goal is, and it has nothing to do with taking home more MVP hardware. If Giannis is only at 60 percent now, we can’t wait to see him at 100.
The reigning NBA MVP tried his hand at baseball for the first time ever, and it did not go well.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is on a tour to promote the release of his new Nike shoe and was at Yankee Stadium for Monday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Before the game, the Greek Freak tried to take some swings off a tee beneath the stands. Let’s just say he looked very much like a beginner.
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) July 15, 2019
Antetokoumpo said that was his first time ever playing baseball and even holding one. He said it was heavier than he expected.
“I would be a terrible baseball player,” the Milwaukee Bucks star said.
Antetokounmpo is one of the best basketball players on the planet, so we’ll cut him some slack for having a raw swing.
Hopefully he enjoyed baseball as much as he liked some other American classics.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the reigning NBA MVP, but he’s already putting it firmly in the rearview mirror.
The city of Milwaukee celebrated Antetokounmpo’s MVP award on Sunday, with roughly 20,000 fans crowding around Fiserv Forum to hear the star forward speak. When he did, he made an unusual request of the Milwaukee crowd: he doesn’t want to hear himself called MVP until he wins it again next year.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is on stage addressing the crowd. “After this day, please don’t call me the MVP until I win it again next year,” he said.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) July 14, 2019
Antetokounmpo has demonstrated a mentality that he wants to keep improving and looking forward, not back. Ultimately, the Bucks fell short of their ultimate goal of an NBA title, losing to the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals. That’s the big goal for Giannis, and he wants to do it with Milwaukee as well.
Giannis Antetokounmpo will be eligible to sign the richest contract in NBA history next summer, and it sounds like he is planning to do just that if the Milwaukee Bucks make the offer and the team remains competitive.
ESPN’s Malika Andrews reported during the playoffs back in May that Giannis may be convinced to sign a contract extension next year if the Bucks make it to the NBA Finals. While speaking with ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk at the PUBG MOBILE Team Up Superstar Showdown event over the weekend, Antetokounmpo seemed to indicate that is accurate. The reigning MVP said his ultimate goal is to win a championship, and he fully intends to remain with the Bucks as long as they share that same level of commitment.
“As long as that we are all on the same page and we are all focused on that goal, why not play for the Bucks 20 years, why not play 25 years?” he asked. “Why not, after playing, be a member of the coaching staff or a member of the front office? But we got to have the same goal. We got to have the same principles. … We got to focus on winning a championship.”
Giannis reiterated that he wants to be part of a winning team, and he said he would love to take the same career path as superstars like Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan if the Bucks find sustained success.
“As long as we have the same mindset and same approach to the game, there’s no reason for me to move and not be like Steph [Curry], not like be like Dirk [Nowitzki] or Kobe [Bryant] or Tim Duncan,” he added.
The contract Antetokounmpo will be eligible to sign next summer has some truly eye-popping figures, but he has the potential to own the NBA after LeBron James retires. The supermax exists to give teams like the Bucks a chance to keep their star players, and it may end up working the way it is intended to in this instance.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks broke down what a supermax contract is expected to look like next summer. Based on the current projected salary cap increase, a supermax deal for Antetokounmpo would average more than $50 million per year over five years.
Here is the breakdown of the Giannis Antetokounmpo supermax extension that he is eligible to sign in the summer of 2020:
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) June 30, 2019
Giannis is obviously a once-in-a-generation talent, but almost every team in the NBA would have to think long and hard about writing that type of check. The Bucks would still be in a position to offer Giannis significantly more money than any other team with a regular max contract before he becomes an unrestricted free agent following the 2020-21 season, but he’s likely going to want all of the money he’s entitled to.
As we’ve seen with the way the Kemba Walker situation is unfolding in Charlotte, some teams simply don’t want to risk crippling themselves by having a supermax player on their roster. The Hornets were actually nowhere near offering supermax money to Walker, which isn’t a surprise. He’s not in the same class as Giannis.
If Antetokounmpo does sign the supermax deal, he would become the highest-paid player in NBA history.