The Buck Stops Here Roundtable #6: Extensions, Injuries and Trades

Nov 4, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34), guard Michael Carter-Williams (5) and forward Khris Middleton during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee won 91-87. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 4, 2015; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34), guard Michael Carter-Williams (5) and forward Khris Middleton during the game against the Philadelphia 76ers at BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee won 91-87. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports /

Having come to an agreement with the Bucks to sign a four-year, $100 million contract extension, Giannis Antetokounmpo is now locked up through the 2020-2021 NBA Season. Were you surprised that the Greek Freak wasn’t given Milwaukee’s player designation which would have allowed him to sign a five-year deal at the maximum salary? Also, how does this affect the Bucks going forward, particularly in relation to Jabari Parker’s extension and avoiding the luxury tax in 2018?

John Heffernon (@Silky__Johnson_): I was really happy to see Giannis get the extension. The fact that he left a little money on the table was also really positive. Obviously we all want to have Giannis as long as possible and that might make it seem like anything less than the max five year extension is a negative. However, this extension will end when the Greak Freak is 26 and then the Bucks can sign him to a five-year max then. That way they will pay him max money for only five of the next 10 years instead of 10 of the next 11. That is a lot of money the Bucks are saving. Hopefully they use those saved funds appropriately to put the best team possible around Giannis. This extension should help Milwaukee have a better chance paying Jabari what he’s worth and avoiding the luxury tax in the next five years.

Rohan Katti: I was honestly very surprised that the Giannis wasn’t given the five-year player designation. However, that does not necessarily equate to a bad thing. By taking a little less than the max, Giannis set the precedent for extensions within the Bucks organization, which means that next year, Jabari will most likely feel inclined to take less than the max as well. Giving Giannis an extension this large also poses a deadline of sorts. Assuming the Bucks can’t avoid the luxury tax in 2018, the owners might not be so happy to pay tax for a team that is still competing for a playoff spot.

Adam McGee (@AdamMcGee11): I was surprised. More than not being prepared to pay Giannis the max now, I feel it probably comes down to fear of what the uncertain cap/CBA/potential lockout scenario could make his max deal during its duration.

Still, the extra year matters to me. The six years between now and what would have been its end date, at least in my mind, gave the Bucks every chance of getting into contention for what their timeline should be, and it would have done so without Giannis even having a sniff at speaking to another team. I just have a horrible feeling that the extra year could make a difference in terms of where this team is at when it’s time for both sides to negotiate again.

In terms of what he did actually sign for, as great as it is that Giannis took a discount, it’s been blown up to be something that it really isn’t. The discount he took is minor in context of his deal (although I understand choosing to pass up over a million per year is an impressive act of selflessness, regardless), but it’s only even more minor when put in context of the cap. It might help the owners to dodge the luxury tax down the line, but a similar discount for Jabari might only amount to a combined $2.5 million per year. You don’t even have to be paying attention to realize that gets you nothing in the NBA now, and so although the gesture is a positive one on Giannis’ part, it shouldn’t be spun into something it isn’t, as it really has little impact on their overall flexibility.

I think the problem is lying in most people assuming Giannis passed up the difference between the $130-140 million numbers once reported, to his eventual $100 million. With the indication being that designated player never really came into play, in reality, it was more like $5 million total that was passed over.

Jordan Treske (@JordanTreske): I was definitely a bit surprised that Giannis didn’t receive the designated player extension. Although giving him that distinction would have added some complications for a future extension for Jabari, it just seemed in the cards for Giannis to receive that type of deal. However, with the Bucks facing the same scenario just a year from now, coming to a deal like both sides did certainly helps to keep the team’s established players down the line. But like Adam said, while I think it does help the ownership avoid a possible luxury tax, it hardly moves the needle for their future flexibility.

Tim Wray (@TRW24): At no point this off-season did I think that Giannis’ extension as the Bucks designated franchise player was going to be anything other than a mere formality. Naturally, hearing that Giannis has signed a straight four-year deal for just under the maximum salary was quite surprising. Regardless, my feelings towards the extension were overwhelmingly positive. Although we all knew it was coming (eventually), it was an extremely proud moment to be a Bucks fan. Further, I was absolutely elated for Giannis. More than being an incredible talent on the court, he’s especially humble and has an amazing story, having travelled a truly inspirational journey from poverty in Greece to an $100 million NBA contract.

As Rohan said, I think Giannis and the Bucks front office have set a strong precedent for Jabari to sign a similar extension next summer. Unless Jabari lights up the league and becomes an All-Star calibre player next season, I can’t see the franchise player designation coming into play, especially because it wasn’t given to Giannis. On that note, I think a five-year contract at the $138-$144 maximum salary would have been on the table if Giannis’ representation had demanded that deal. Nevertheless, I agree with Adam that the uncertainty over the future salary cap and new collective bargaining agreement would have made the Bucks very hesitant. Ultimately, Giannis’ $6 million discount over four-years isn’t enough to significantly impact the Bucks financial flexibility, although it should help ownership avoid the luxury tax in the near future. However, from a fans perspective, it is an encouraging sign of Giannis’ loyalty to Milwaukee and willingness to win with the Bucks.