Entering the final year of his contract with the Bucks, Antetokounmpo will be eligible for a five-year, super-max extension that would make him one of the NBA’s highest-paid players for years to come. However, after Milwaukee’s disappointing playoff showings during the last two seasons, there’s no guarantee that Giannis will sign that extension as soon as he’s eligible to do so.
Despite those postseason exits, Antetokunmpo has said all the right things about his desire to remain in Milwaukee long-term. And while we’ve heard those kind of comments before from star players who eventually leave their teams, Giannis’ stance seems genuine.
Milwaukee is the only home he has known since arriving in America, the Bucks are a talented team that has led the NBA in wins over the last two years, and Antetokounmpo doesn’t sound like he’s simply reading from a generic script when he talks about wanting to break through and win a title with the Bucks.
Still, until Antetokounmpo officially puts pen to paper on a new contract, anything can happen. Specifically, there are four scenarios that could play out for Giannis and the Bucks over the next year.
- Antetokounmpo signs a five-year, super-max extension with the Bucks this offseason. It would go into effect in 2021/22 and would start at 35% of the cap for that year.
- Antetokounmpo forgoes an extension this offseason, but remains with the Bucks for another year, then signs a new deal with the team during the 2021 offseason. He could still sign the five-year super-max in ’21. Or he could opt for a shorter-term deal, especially if the league’s updated salary cap projections suggest that approach might be more financially advantageous in the long run.
- Antetokounmpo doesn’t sign an extension this offseason, then joins a new team when he reaches free agency in 2021 — either by signing outright or via sign-and-trade. His max contract would be for four years, starting at 30% of the cap.
- Antetokounmpo doesn’t sign an extension this offseason and is traded before the 2021 deadline.
The fourth option has always seemed like the least probable outcome to me. As Tim Bontemps of ESPN reiterated this week, the Bucks are opposed to the idea of trading Antetokounmpo before his contract expires, preferring to make another run at a title with him in 2021. I imagine the team would only seriously consider a trade if Antetokounmpo asks for one, and he has stated he has no plans to do so.
The other three options are all more realistic possibilities, though I don’t have a feel yet for which outcome is likeliest. The Bucks will be able to put their super-max offer on the table for Antetokounmpo once the 2020/21 league year begins, which figures to happen in late November or early December. We should get a better idea by that point whether he’ll accept that offer this offseason.
If he doesn’t, the Bucks don’t need to panic. They’ll be able to put that same super-max offer back in play during the 2021 offseason and it’s worth more years and more money than Antetokoumpo can get anywhere else. Plus, if the Bucks can make the roster upgrades necessary to make a run to the NBA Finals in ’21, that would go a long way toward selling Giannis on a long-term future in Milwaukee.
We want to know what you think. Which outcome is the most likely for Antetokounmpo and the Bucks? Do you envision him remaining in Milwaukee for years to come, or are his days as a Buck numbered?
Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your two cents!
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