Milwaukee Bucks: Thanasis Antetokounmpo’s return remains uncertain

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 07 (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JUNE 07 (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

Fresh off their title-winning campaign, the Milwaukee Bucks have spent the offseason refining their roster with several stellar additions.

Re-signing Bobby Portis, adding George Hill, and trading for Grayson Allen are just some of the moves the Bucks have made this offseason, arguably upgrading their roster from the previous season. However, one question currently making the rounds surrounds a well-known player from that championship-winning team in Thanasis Antetokounmpo.

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While he was not exactly a key contributor, it seemed certain that Thanasis would get a contract extension from the Bucks after their title run. Many will point to the fact that he is the older brother of two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, and that relation would guarantee him a spot on the roster, but he still remains unsigned.

This was undoubtedly not what many expected to happen, particularly following a move the team made on Wednesday.

That move was signing Georgios Kalaitzakis, Milwaukee’s 60th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, to a three-year deal while using their taxpayer MLE, first reported by The Athletic’s Eric Nehm. Considering Sandro Mamukelashvili, the team’s other second round draft pick, received a two-way contract, it was initially believed that Kalaitzakis would get that other two-way slot. However, that is now not the case.

With their roster spots finite and spending money tight, this latest move begs the question, will Thanasis Antetokounmpo be back with the Bucks next season?

Thanasis Antetokounmpo returning to the Milwaukee Bucks next season is no longer set in stone

With each passing roster move that the Bucks make, it seems more unlikely that Antetokounmpo will be back with the Bucks next season. Nothing is certain just yet, but it would take some major string-pulling to get the 29-year-old back next season given the reality that their roster is nearing no-vacancy limits.

There might be as much controversy involving this situation as there was when P.J. Tucker signed a deal with the Miami Heat to kick off free agency, but there is still some present. While the older Antetokounmpo was not exactly a prime contributor statistically, but everyone that watched the Bucks this past season understood how important Thanasis was to this team.

While he did not receive the most minutes or score the most points, Thanasis managed to carve out a role for himself with his persistent hustle and drive. Whether he was on the floor or on the sidelines, Antetokounmpo could often be found firing up his teammates, most notably Giannis by constantly chirping in his ear. His energetic presence was widespread and he would always stand out on the sidelines as he cheered the loudest for the Bucks.

When he was fortunate enough to get minutes, which he certainly did by playing a career-high 591 minutes during the regular season, that hustle stayed consistent. He was always skying up for rebounds, throwing himself at loose balls, and throwing down some highlight-reel-worthy dunks. He was an energy guy, which is something that every team can use on their roster.

Following a season where he played the most minutes of his career, it seemed certain that Thanasis would be back in Milwaukee next season. It could undoubtedly still happen, but it seems far less likely than it might have been several weeks ago.

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Only time will tell, but fans would certainly welcome Thanasis back with open arms if he does indeed make his way back onto the roster.