With NBA general managers, including the Milwaukee Bucks’ Jon Horst, expected to travel to Orlando, the offseason tone will be set in Walt Disney World.
The Milwaukee Bucks are in for a monumental offseason. Under normal circumstances, they’d currently be preparing for next week’s draft, trying to work out plans for their various free agents, and most crucially trying to come to terms on a supermax extension with Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Of course, nothing about the present moment is normal, and so it will now be October at least before some of those key junctures in the franchise’s long-term future come around.
Between now and then, the NBA’s plan will see the Bucks join 19 other teams in Walt Disney World in Orlando as they’ll look to close out an outstanding season with easily the most unique championship win in NBA history.
There is another intriguing element that needs to be considered about the NBA’s potential restart, though, and that is the unprecedented environment it will create for players, coaches, and executives to mix, and spend undue amounts of time in relatively close proximity.
As Ethan Strauss of The Athletic recently explored ($), with the majority of NBA general managers and top executives expected to make the trip and the commitment to place themselves in the league’s campus-style bubble in Florida, the season’s resumption could effectively equate to the beginning of negotiating the various deals that could shape the league for years to come.
This will most obviously and loudly lead to talk of tampering in the weeks ahead, and with Antetokounmpo’s decision looming, that kind of narrative may well end up centered around the Bucks more than any other team.
For as much as fans of teams such as the Miami Heat or Toronto Raptors might like to fuel their delusions with the idea of Giannis forming deep bonds with their players to eventually trigger his departure, the reality on that front remains much more simple for the Bucks, and possibly even more complicated from an opponent’s perspective.
If any team wants to use the Orlando experience to lure Antetokounmpo away from the Bucks, their best chance of doing that would come in beating the reigning MVP and Milwaukee on the court and making him rethink the franchise’s direction.
The intermingling of personnel could also factor into the Bucks’ offseason in a much more positive light, though, albeit one that will almost certainly receive less attention in the months ahead.
If Jon Horst is on the ground at Walt Disney World, it will afford him the opportunity to spend even more time than usual with his players. This could allow him to gain an even greater sense of what players with options for next season, such as Robin Lopez and Wesley Matthews, are thinking of doing. It could allow him to get a sense of the plans of unrestricted free agents such as Pat Connaughton, Kyle Korver, and Marvin Williams too.
Of course, it could also play to the Bucks’ advantage in the imagined Antetokounmpo sweepstakes. If Milwaukee takes care of business on the court at Walt Disney World, Giannis’ future likely becomes a formality. But even off the court, the Orlando experience could end up only further cementing the strong relationships Antetokounmpo has built with his current teammates, coaches, and Horst.
Extending beyond that, with the Bucks’ organizational culture having been completely reworked in recent seasons, this will be an opportunity for the rest of the league’s players to get an up close look at those dynamics in action. If Milwaukee plays to their potential on the court, and continue with the remarkable harmony they’ve demonstrated off of it, players may take notice of the Bucks as an increasingly appealing free agent destination in their own right.
In other words, not only will what happens on the court at Walt Disney World matter to the Bucks, as what happens off the court could also play a big role in shaping their future.