A recent report from The Athletic suggests the Milwaukee Bucks are confident internally that Giannis Antetokounmpo will sign his supermax extension.
Another day, another report surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo and his long-term future with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Over a week since the Bucks fell to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals, Antetokounmpo has already addressed his desire to see out the final year of his current contract amid speculation that he would ask for a trade out of Milwaukee.
Now, per a report from The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Eric Nehm ($$) that dug in on the details of Antetokounmpo’s recent meeting with co-owner Marc Lasry, the Bucks remain confident that the Greek superstar will sign his supermax extension.
Of course, Antetokounmpo will be offered his supermax extension once this year’s free agency period opens up at an undetermined date and the same goes for what the official figures will look like on that as it is dependent on where the salary cap is set next season.
On the surface, details suggesting the Bucks’ organization remain confident that Antetokounmpo will stay in Milwaukee long-term is far from revelatory.
Even as they continue to stew in their latest and greatest playoff disappointment in recent memory, the Bucks have put together a viable foundation to become a playoff contender with Antetokounmpo front and center of their success.
There’s a lot to be done in order to raise their game in hopes of reaching the NBA Finals as they have looked to do the last two seasons and some of that falls at the feet of ownership. Reports that Lasry pledged to go into the luxury tax next season and improve their roster already surfaced earlier this week.
What may be interesting to some, especially to those outside of Milwaukee, is the confidence that Antetokounmpo not only stays with the Bucks, but does so by signing his supermax extension.
Recent projections from ESPN’s Bobby Marks ($$) have slotted in Antetokounmpo’s extension coming at five years and for a total $220 million, which is taking into account of current cap projections in the face of the league’s calendar being disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. If that’s the case, it may not be the richest contract in NBA history, it’s sure a hell of a lot more than opposing teams can offer in the 2021 offseason, should it come to that.
The Bucks have the financial advantages in their favor, but work obviously has to be done in order to improve their standing in the pursuit of their and Antetokounmpo’s goal in winning an NBA title.
ESPN’s Malika Andrews reported on the night of the Bucks losing to the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals that a run to the NBA Finals this 2019-20 season would “tip the scales as he weighs his contractual future.” In an NBA Finals trip-or-bust season, the Bucks’ playoff run this year was nearly the equivalent to a grand opening, grand closing.
The organization’s championship aspirations still remain, but they are farther away in their pursuit and have to go great lengths by shaking up their core to a reach their ultimate destination.
If winning is the only barometer that Antetokounmpo will weigh what he does with his future, the Bucks have vastly improved their outlook in all but the very area where it is of the utmost importance. Even for someone that has put off thoughts of his future and has steadfastly believed in the Bucks’ decision makers and ownership to put a viable supporting cast around him, Antetokounmpo support and trust in the organization will face its greatest test this offseason.
Even as discussion regarding Antetokounmpo’s future has steadily bubbled up over the last year, the Bucks have always put up a strong front and reiterated that they have put Antetokounmpo in the best position to succeed. To hear more of the same is far from a surprise.
The Bucks can certainly believe that they have built up plenty of good will with Antetokounmpo to this point, but they are at the mercy of the reigning MVP who is faced with a decision that will plot out the rest of his playing career and legacy. Trust remains secure now, but it’s the following weeks and months that will determine whether that trust will remain for the future.