More On Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Extension, Bucks

Following the Bucks‘ second-round postseason loss to Miami, reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo made a conscious decision to play a more vocal role in upgrading the team’s roster, according to a report from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst and Kevin Arnovitz.

During a fall lunch with Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry, GM Jon Horst, and Giannis’ agent Alex Saratsis, Antetokounmpo named a number of players whom he thought would be good offseason targets for Milwaukee, including Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo, and Bogdan Bogdanovic, per Windhorst and Arnovitz.

Beal wasn’t available, the Bucks never got close to a deal for Oladipo, and their efforts to sign-and-trade for Bogdanovic fell through. However, Milwaukee zeroed in on another player on Giannis’ list, Jrue Holiday, believing he’d be a natural fit in the team’s lineup.

According to ESPN’s duo, the Nuggets and Celtics were aggressive in attempting to acquire a top-10 pick in last month’s draft to flip for Holiday. The Hawks were also interested in moving the No. 6 pick in a deal for the Pelicans guard, but ultimately abandoned that plan due to uncertainty over whether he’d want to remain in Atlanta beyond 2021.

The Bucks didn’t have a top-10 pick in 2020 to offer for Holiday, but were willing to put plenty of future first-rounders on the table. According to Windhorst and Arnovitz, Milwaukee initially offered Eric Bledsoe, two first-round picks, and a pick swap (plus salary filler), then “reluctantly” added George Hill to the offer. The Pelicans countered by asking for one more first-rounder and one more pick swap.

Sources tell ESPN that the Bucks’ decision-makers knew that giving up two rotation players, three first-round picks, and two pick swaps was an overpay, especially since an extension for Holiday may cost in the neighborhood of $30MM per year.

However, the club badly wanted to upgrade its roster and to send a message to Antetokounmpo and decided to pull the trigger. If that deal ultimately helped convince Giannis to sign his super-max extension, the front office presumably feels the cost was worth it.

Here’s more on the Bucks and the Antetokounmpo extension:

  • The report from ESPN’s Windhorst and Arnovitz is worth checking out in full, as it’s packed with interesting nuggets about the process of extending Antetokounmpo. According to the ESPN duo, when the Lakers acquired Dennis Schroder from Oklahoma City, Giannis wanted reassurance that Milwaukee had made a “valiant effort” to land Schroder.
  • As a trio of writers from The Athletic reported on Tuesday, Windhorst and Arnovitz confirm that the Bucks first formally made their extension pitch to Antetokounmpo on December 5. During that meeting, team ownership and management focused on the team’s commitment to building a champion, pointing to its aggressive pursuit of Holiday and its willingness to pay future luxury tax bills, per ESPN.
  • David Aldridge of The Athletic argues that the Antetokounmpo extension is good for the NBA, since it’s hard for fans in non-glamor markets to fully invest in their teams if they believe star players always have one foot out the door.
  • Joe Vardon of The Athletic throws some cold water on the news of Antetokounmpo’s extension, writing that the new deal offers the Bucks a temporary reprieve, but doesn’t guarantee the superstar forward will be with the franchise for the next five years. Jobs will be “on the line” in Milwaukee if the team doesn’t make the NBA Finals and win a title within the next couple years, says Vardon.
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32 thoughts on “More On Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Extension, Bucks

  1. julyn82001

    Wow huge money for one player plus the player dictates team’s management decisions? Not bad, not bad at all…

    • Jason Lancaster

      For a brief moment, I was worried that Giannis would escape the same “player GM” criticisms that have been leveled at LeBron. Thankfully, that is not the case.

      Seems to me, Milwaukee overpaid in a trade to make their demanding superstar happy.

      I wonder, is this still a “big win” for small market teams??

      • toddkirchenberg

        It’s 3 first rounders at the end of the draft. Not many of those ever turn out. Not a big deal. Would of been a bigger deal if he left because the picks would of been higher than.

        • if teams can’t develop talent at the end of the draft, they won’t be competing at the top of contender list for longer than a couple years. Milwaukee is already facing a bare cupboard of young cost controlled talent that they can mold into championships. Now they have some money on books for Portis and Middleton and not much more room after they, Lopez and Giannis to acquire talent. How much can they spend on Holiday and will it be enough to keep him?

          Not getting young talent makes it very tough to contend for long. The Spurs lasted as long as they did by capitalizing on late picks, in addition to holding on to their biggest star to anchor it all.

          • bdpecore

            Remind me how much young talent Kerr had on his championship teams. Because I’m fairly certain their rotation consisted of veteran players who signed bet minimum or exception level deals

  2. Sillivan

    I always think Heat and Knicks should prepare the trade proposal to get Giannis but not cap room

    • DeathbyDeathwest

      Bro NYK could offer all of their players and all their draff picks unprotected and Milwaukee would still hang up first.

      Miami could put something of a package together, but jeez, if the man verbally REcommitting his future to the team and signing his contract won’t end the ridiculous comments, nothing will.

    • I'm a starboy not a Dr...

      Bron, KD, Kyrie,Kemba didn’t choose the Knicks. You think Giannis would have???

  3. Sillivan

    If Knicks sign free agents VanVleet Harrell and Wood, they would have assets to acquire Harden at TD
    Add unprotected Firsts

  4. Little_Dunker_45

    Who was the guy on here who said Giannis dont care about money because hes poor and eats McDonald’s with his trainer and videotaper. Now goannas can buy his own McDonald’s! Ha! He is superficial and shallow like the test of us. That is what america does…even to the greeks

    • Little_Dunker_45

      Hey Luke here’s a headline for u: Greek Freak shows his commitment to the green, cash rules everything in Cream city…typical

      • bdpecore

        That was me and it still holds true based on it was brought up when you and others suggested Giannis would leave for a larger market for endorsement purposes. Clearly he chose to stay in one of the smallest markets which hurts his marketability. Did he sign a max deal? Sure but he clearly states Milwaukee is his home and he always wanted to stay as long as ownership was also committed to winning championships like he is. Btw there were plenty of lesser players who signed max deals this offseason, but I’m sure you also commented that they too showed their commitment to the green cash.

        • andremets

          Dunker is a self-proclaimed top-3 blogger on this site. That’s all you need to know about him.

  5. Are you guys suggesting he shouldn’t have taken the max and that he shouldn’t care about the direction the FO is taking the team? Or where are you people going with these statements? If Giannis has a foot in the door to make sure his prime years aren’t spent like James Hardens then why is that an issue? He wants to make sure the Milwaukee Bucks are going to do what they can to field a competitive roster around him. Because if that wasn’t going to be the case then why would he stay. It’s like you people expect him to say “I’ll re-sign with Milwaukee and ya know what, I do it for less money and while we are at it lets make moves to stay under the cap”
    Come on people, he didn’t have to sign the extension, he didn’t have to stay in small market Milwaukee. His wanting to make sure his goals and the goals of the front office were aligned was a no brainer for one of the best players in the world.
    Him signing that extension is a huge win for the NBA, the city of Milwaukee, the Milwaukee Bucks organization and for Giannis himself and his family.

  6. getoffmylawn

    I hate to be negative, but as time goes by I think what we will see Giannis signing with the Bucks as an aberration and not the rule for superstars and small-to-medium sized markets. There’s only a handful of teams the superstars really want to play for, and the powers that be in the league (starting with Commissioner Silver) are willing to play along with it, effectively making 22-24 of the 30 teams the Washington Generals every year, while the Lakers, Celtics, and other NBA royalty operate in a different climate than everyone else. I don’t understand why the NBA insists this is the optimum business practice; an NFL-style approach would be far more competitive and healthier league-wide. That approach would start with a hard salary cap instead of the ineffective luxury-tax approach currently in use. Until then, enjoy having a league run by LeBron and Harden and other superstars. And people wonder why older basketball fans prefer the 70’s and 80’s when the league was more balanced and competitive.

    • LordBanana

      7 different teams have won the championship in the last ten years. Odd that you’re railing against “basketball royalty” Lakers and Celtics but then you want basketball to go back to the era where they were by far the two dominate teams.

      Not sure why you think Harden runs the league, lmao, and Lebron has been the best player in the league on three different teams, what’s more balanced than that? A large majority of the best players in NBA history played for multiple teams.

    • x%sure

      This sounds like a rant against free agency… but free agency is the norm for Americans.
      That’s a new one, Harden runs the league. Does exercising the right to move around mean you run everything?

      True the cap could be harder. But I don’t think that policy has been abused… Golden State was said to want to but I doubt it is going to work.

      PS The 70s were better

      • getoffmylawn

        You and banana have taken me out of context. I didn’t say Harden runs the league by himself. I specifically mentioned that the superstars of the league run it, not for the betterment of the league, in my opinion. Furthermore I never said anything against free agency, the “norm for Americans,” but rather, I did mention the need for a hard cap. If a free agent wants to sign with another team for half its cap, great, but then live with the team around you being young guys or vets on the backside of their careers. A salary cap exists for a reason, for financial certainty and clarity as well as competitive balance. We Americans not only experience free agency as the “norm” but also experience the limits of financial constraints at our work as a “norm,” not being able to go WAY over a budget to bring in new machinery or one or two more superstar employees. Your attempt at sarcasm regarding Harden may have scored cheap and easy points but doesn’t address the reality of the NBA, namely that it is turning off a lot of fans who feel that superstars are being allowed to congregate on teams together without any risk to them or the team they choose, like a pickup game where they get the first two or three choices.

  7. El Don

    Good to see how many fans in here were wrong by saying that AD & Giannis might do 1+ 1 or similar contracts to keep flexibility… real good they signed big long contracts… not that there ever was any doubt they would, right?

  8. El Don

    BTW has anyone noticed that next years FA market is gonna be one of the worst ever?
    AD, LBJ, Giannis, PG13… all gone, the question is… is there any FA left at all for the next summer?
    I like this as we can concentrate in the season at hand instead of all the tiresome wonderings about the next offseason!

    • Little_Dunker_45

      If oladeepo doesnt get traded before the deadline he will be free agent. Kawaii technically too. And Ralph…think there is another couple biger names

  9. I don’t believe in players making GM decisions. Not just because they’re bad at it, but because that, as a rule, the player won’t own his part in the decision. Like a kid who begs his parents to let him do something, only to blame them for allowing it when it doesn’t go well.

    But here, I think the Bucks’ FO lost enough credibility with GA based on the prior offseason, that this was, under the circumstances, a good move. It goes back to Brogden really. Regardless of what anyone else thinks, GA respected his game, believed he was a core player (one of 3 with he and KM) and was surprised they let him go. He might have deferred to the FO on the basketball merits, but it was clear that the luxury tax (down the road) was a big part of it. At the end of the day, maybe the best asset the Bucks acquired in the deal was credibility with GA on their willingness to commit to future spending.

    • LordBanana

      Using that logic only the owner should make decisions. A GM can easily tank a franchise much more than any one player ever could and still get a nice risk-free payout when they’re fired.

      Seems ridiculous to me that a team would pay a player $30 million+, 5 times more than what they pay their coach and GM combined, build their team around him, and then NOT get their input in building the team. It’s like hiring Gordon Ramsey to be the chef in your restaurant but then not letting him choose any cooks.

      • No. It’s basic logic that a premise that the FO should be making the decisions they are paid to make (and for which they, presumably, experts or at least professionals) could never lead to conclusion that only the owner (likely not a professional in making such decisions) should make decisions.

        Giving a foundational player “input” into FO decisions is a given, but nothing close to allowing him to be the driving force in making particular acquisitions. Like I said, this is largely because it almost never ends well. Logic would dictate that one refrain from doing something that almost never ends well.

        As far as Mr. Ramsey is concerned, I have no view, as I don’t know enough about his business. I do know that many head coaches don’t make good personnel decisions. I believe all head coaches should have input into personnel moves (even more than stars), but unless they are also GM, they should not be the decision makers, particularly for a major roster move.

        • LordBanana

          How can you say it never ends well? Giving lebron input into team building decisions has led to 4 championships.

          • Again, “input” isn’t the issue. It’s dictating moves.

            LBJ proves my point. 2 of 4 came in Miami, which paid no attention to his various overtures regarding personnel moves (it’s one of the reasons he left). In Cleveland (both stints) he had outsized influence. In both cases it led to a roster full of players he requested, but – on second thought – didn’t think he could win with. He won one with KI (who was on the roster when he returned, and who he didn’t think was essential).

    • x%sure

      Do you think there was a way for the Bucks to keep all the players last offseason? At the time, I was getting hyper on this site about their cap squeeze, and there did not seem to be a way. It was Brogdon or Lopez, and they could get something for Brogdon.
      People say, Horst could find a way if he wanted to, one that is not apparent to an observer.

      I was wrong about Bledsoe, maybe Horst was too, offering the big contract in midseason. Well of course he was, dumping Bledsoe later. Brogdon would have been more valuable in Milwaukee.

      • Certainly they could have retained Brogden (RFA), to go with GA, KM and Bledsoe. Doing that might have meant asking Lopez to accept a MLE offer, and they likely couldn’t have signed both Lopez and Hill at close to the numbers they gave them. But they are older players, and not part of the core that GA came of age playing with. Of the core, Brogden was the closest in age to GA.

  10. x%sure

    Looking at it more closely… he Jrue Holiday trade did not cost as much as 4 or 5 unprotected picks, so it was not so bad. The difference is, since Giannis did sign, they will likely be low picks! If Giannis did not sign, the Pels might have gotten a top pick, but no. (And it is two firsts + 2 swaps.)
    Indeed Giannis may not have signed without the FO making such effort and risk.

    I note that, based on the disparate collection of talent he asked for, Giannis seemed to prioritize success more than fit… so he can’t complain about Jrue. And, probably won’t need to. It looks like a better team, and Jrue is flexible.

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