Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo Discusses His Future In Milwaukee

Bucks management had to be encouraged by Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s first public comments after winning his second consecutive MVP on Friday. Appearing from Greece on TNT’s “Inside the NBA,” Antetokounmpo speculated about a lengthy future with the franchise (Twitter link).

“As long as everybody’s on the same page and as long as everybody’s fighting for the same thing,” he said, “fighting for the same thing every single day, which is to be a champion, I don’t see why not to be in Milwaukee for the next 15 years.”

Antetokounmpo could go a long way toward making that happen by accepting a maximum extension that the Bucks have promised to put on the table this offseason. That new contract would take effect with the 2021/22 season and could be worth more than $250MM over five years, depending on what happens with the salary cap.

If Antetokounmpo turns down the extension and opts for free agency, he’ll become the top player in what could be a loaded market next summer. The Bucks could still offer more years and a higher salary than any of their competitors, but they would prefer to get a long-term deal completed as soon as possible.

Bobby Marks of ESPN offers a preview of what the market for Antetoukoumpo might look like. He notes that Milwaukee has strung together two straight impressive regular seasons and won’t need a full roster overhaul to be in the title race. Marks suggests the Bucks might be interested in Thunder guard Chris Paul, but isn’t sure if a package of Eric Bledsoe, Robin Lopez (if he opts into his current deal), Ersan Ilyasova, D.J. Wilson and draft picks would be enough to get a deal done.

If Antetoukoumpo opts for free agency, Marks has Miami in the “driver’s seat” to land him. The Heat already have two All-Stars in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, along with a collection of young talent. They can keep their current core together by offering free agent guard Goran Dragic a one-year, $20MM contract this summer, then renouncing his rights to clear room for Antetokounmpo in 2021 and re-signing Dragic with their $4.8MM room exception.

Marks lists the Raptors, Mavericks and Knicks as other serious contenders to add Antetoukoumpo in free agency, along with the Lakers if LeBron James is willing to sacrifice $16.2MM in his 2021/22 salary.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Wins MVP Honors

1:05pm: Antetokounmpo has officially been voted the NBA MVP for 2019/20, the league announced in a press release. The full voting results, which include LeBron James as runner-up and James Harden in third place, can be found right here.

10:15am: Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named MVP for the second straight season, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The official announcement won’t come until 2pm Eastern Time on NBA TV, but sources tell Woj that the Bucks’ star will be the winner.

The award officially makes Antetokounmpo eligible to sign a super-max contract with Milwaukee during the 2022 offseason as well as in 2020 and 2021, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

The Bucks hope Antetokounmpo will agree to an extension this year, but Marks notes that he could elect to sign a one-year deal with an option next summer that would be worth 30% of the salary cap. He could then cash in on the super-max the following offseason, giving him five years at 35% of the cap.

Antetokounmpo could only get those figures from the Bucks, giving them a financial advantage in their hopes of keeping their franchise player. Antetokounmpo hasn’t offered much indication of his plans for the future, but he did say he won’t ask for a trade this offseason, and he met recently with team ownership to discuss the direction of the franchise. 

By winning back-to-back MVPs, Antetokounmpo joins an elite list that includes 10 other players, with Golden State’s Stephen Curry the most recent to accomplish it. Antetokounmpo was also named Defensive Player of the Year, making him the third player to win that award and MVP honors in the same season, along with Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).

Antetokounmpo posted his best statistical season, with career-high averages of 29.5 points and 13.6 rebounds in 63 games. He also averaged 5.6 assists per night and shot 55.3% from the floor in leading the Bucks to the league’s best regular season record. LeBron James and James Harden were the other MVP finalists.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NBA Announces 2019/20 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2019/20 season. Voting was completed prior to the league’s restart in July and was based on results through March 11.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lakers forward LeBron James, widely considered the two frontrunners for this year’s MVP award, were the only two players to be unanimously voted to the All-NBA First Team this season. Rockets guard James Harden, Lakers big man Anthony Davis, and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounded out the First Team.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis and LeBron scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Among the players who just missed the cut were Bucks forward Khris Middleton (82 points), Sixers center Joel Embiid (79), Wizards guard Bradley Beal (32), and Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (26). A total of 11 other players also received at least one All-NBA vote — the full results can be found right here.

Today’s announcement is great news from a financial perspective for Siakam and Simmons. As a result of Siakam’s Second Team nod and Simmons’ Third Team spot, both players will earn starting salaries worth 28% of the 2020/21 salary cap, rather than 25%. Players who sign rookie scale extensions can earn maximum salaries up to 30% of the cap if they negotiate Rose Rule language into their deals.

The exact value of those new contracts will depend on where exactly the ’20/21 cap lands. Assuming it stays the same as in 2019/20 ($109.141MM), Siakam’s four-year extension would be worth $136.9MM instead of the $122.2MM it’d be worth if it started at 25% of the cap. Simmons’ five-year pact would be worth $177.2MM rather than $158.3MM.

While it’s also worth noting that All-NBA berths are of great importance to players seeking super-max contracts, there aren’t any real developments to report on that front as a result of this year’s votes. Antetokounmpo and Gobert remain eligible for super-max extensions, but they’d already qualified based on their previous accolades.

Embiid would have become super-max eligible in 2021 if he had earned an All-NBA spot, but he’ll need to make an All-NBA team next season to gain eligibility now, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our spring poll. Beal, Embiid, and Devin Booker were your picks who didn’t make the official list. Of the 12 who made it, 11 made the exact team you projected, with Paul (who made Second Team instead of Third Team) representing the only exception.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucks Rumors: CP3, Giannis, Bledsoe, More

While a potential Bucks trade for Chris Paul has been the subject of much speculation since Milwaukee was eliminated from the postseason last week, it’s not a foregone conclusion that the club will pursue such a deal. According to Sam Amick and Eric Nehm of The Athletic, sources with knowledge of Bucks ownership’s thinking say it’s “highly unlikely” that the team will seriously go after the Thunder point guard.

As Amick and Nehm explain, the exorbitant cost of Paul’s contract ($41.4MM in 2020/21, with a $44.2MM player option for ’21/22) is one factor working against a trade. There also may be concerns about bringing a strong personality like CP3’s onto a roster that already has a superstar leader in Giannis Antetokounmpo, according to The Athletic’s duo. All indications are that Milwaukee would prefer to look elsewhere for upgrades, per Amick and Nehm.

Here’s more on the Bucks from The Athletic’s latest report:

  • The reported three-hour lunch meeting between Antetokounmpo and Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry last Friday also included Bucks senior VP Alex Lasry (Marc’s son), Giannis’ brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo, and their agent Alex Saratsis, league sources tell Amick and Nehm. According to The Athletic, all parties left that meeting “in good spirits and with a sense of synergy.”
  • While Antetokounmpo’s future remains unknown, a source with knowledge of the Bucks’ perspective tells Amick and Nehm that they’ve long had confidence that the reigning MVP will ultimately sign a super-max contract to stay with the franchise.
  • The Bucks were more concerned about their outside shooting issues in the playoffs than about the defense the Heat employed against Antetokounmpo, per The Athletic. That’s one reason why Eric Bledsoe – who has made just 22.9% of his three-pointers during the last two postseasons – could find himself on the trade block this offseason.
  • Head coach Mike Budenholzer had been prepared to significantly increase Antetokounmpo’s workload for Game 4 against Miami (and beyond) if he had stayed healthy, according to Amick and Nehm. Based on how the series played out, Budenholzer may be more open to a minutes bump for his stars earlier in next year’s postseason.

Eastern Notes: Bertans, Vaughn, Nurse, Antetokounmpo

Wizards forward Davis Bertans‘ decision to pass on the restart was driven by free agency, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington relays. Bertans made his comments on the ‘Basketball Network’ show on YouTube.

“I think there were multiple reasons,” the Wizards’ sharpshooter said. “Of course, one of the main ones I guess is that I was an upcoming free agent and we were put in a position as very unlikely to make the playoffs. To risk an injury after not playing basketball and not really working out for almost two months [was not smart]. That was the main reason.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • The Nets are hopeful that Jacques Vaughn will remain on Steve Nash’s staff even though they passed on making him the permanent head coach, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post. Vaughn has been identified is a candidate for the Pacers coaching job. The Rockets are also reportedly interested, though the Nets would have to grant those teams permission to interview him.
  • Handing coach Nick Nurse an extension was an important first step during a tricky offseason for the Raptors, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Canada opines. The Raptors need to position themselves for the summer of 2021, when they could chase top free agents. The next step this offseason would be to reach extension agreements with team president Masai Ujiri and GM Bobby Webster, Lewenberg adds. Details of Nurse’s multiyear extension can be found here.
  • The safest bet regarding Giannis Antetokounmpo is that he stays put with the Bucks, either through a Designated Veteran Extension this offseason or re-signing on a shorter deal next year, according to Danny Leroux of The Athletic. Leroux looks at all the options and possibilities regarding Antetokounmpo’s future in the wake of the Bucks’ surprisingly early playoff exit.
  • The Raptors will have approximately $45MM to spend on their own free agents or using the mid-level exception before going into the luxury tax, according to Blake Murphy of The Athletic. Murphy takes a closer look at the Raptors’ balance sheet and impending decisions, including Fred VanVleet‘s free agency.

Details On Giannis’ Meeting With Marc Lasry

After Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported over the weekend that Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo met with franchise co-owner Marc Lasry to discuss the direction of the franchise, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has provided a few details on that meeting.

According to Wojnarowski, the three-hour lunch meeting covered both the 2019/20 season and how the Bucks can improve their roster going forward, with the two men brainstorming personnel moves that might be possible this offseason. Lasry confirmed to Antetokounmpo that the Bucks are willing to spend into the luxury tax to make upgrades, Woj notes.

The Bucks’ approach to Malcolm Brogdon‘s free agency last offseason would seem to contradict the assertion that the team is ready and willing to cross the tax threshold, but Milwaukee was known to have some long-term health concerns about Brogdon. Team ownership may also be more comfortable paying an annual tax bill once Giannis has been locked up long-term.

According to Wojnarowski, Antetokounmpo and Lasry agreed to talk again after the reigning MVP returns from vacation.

While speculation figures to run rampant this offseason about Antetokounmpo’s future and the possibility of him changing teams, he said at season’s end that he has no intention of asking to be traded. The Bucks will also retain the ability to pay him significantly more on a long-term deal than any other team can, regardless of exactly how much their super-max extension offer ends up being worth.

Giannis’ current contract runs through the 2020/21 season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Meets With Bucks’ Co-Owner

Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo had a private meeting today with Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry to talk about where the franchise is headed, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Speculation has been rampant about Antetokounmpo’s plans for the future, especially after Milwaukee was knocked out of the playoffs in the second round. Earlier today, Antetokounmpo unfollowed hundreds of people on Twitter and Instragram, including teammates and the Bucks’ team account, Haynes adds.

This offseason, Antetokounmpo will be eligible to sign a super-max extension that could pay him as much as $254MM over five years. Only the Bucks can offer him that much, but Antetokounmpo hasn’t decided if he wants to make a long-term commitment to Milwaukee. His contract expires after the 2020/21 season, and several teams are already maximizing cap space in case he becomes available.

Another option is to ask for a trade while he still has a year left on his current deal, but Antetokounmpo said last week he doesn’t plan to do that.

“Some see a wall and go in (another direction). I plow through it,” he said after the Bucks were eliminated. “We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season.”

Examining What Super-Max For Giannis Would Be Worth

With the Bucks‘ season over, all eyes are on Giannis Antetokounmpo. Last season’s Most Valuable Player has said he has no intention of asking to be traded out of Milwaukee, and has given indications that he intends to stay with the team long-term. But until he officially signs a contract extension, there will be those who question his commitment to the Bucks.

Unsurprisingly, as Shams Charania of The Athletic confirmed earlier today, the Bucks intend to put a five-year, super-max extension offer on the table for Giannis as soon as they’re eligible to do so. That extension window will open once the 2020/21 free agent period begins, but it remains to be seen exactly how much the offer will be worth. Some reports have suggested it’ll be valued at upwards of $250MM, while others have said $220MM.

When it comes to maximum-salary extensions, imprecise projections are nothing new. By definition, extensions go into effect in future league years, and max deals are based on a percentage of the cap (35%, in the case of the super-max). Until the salary cap figures are finalized for the first year of the extension, we can’t know the exact value of a maximum-salary deal.

In Giannis’ case, there are a pair of factors increasing the uncertainty and resulting in the wide range in projections:

  1. An extension for Antetokounmpo would go into effect in 2021/22, rather than in 2020/21. That’s still two league years away, creating an extra layer of uncertainty about where the cap will eventually land.
  2. The coronavirus pandemic – and everything else that has gone on during this NBA season, including the league’s standoff with Chinese partners – has impacted the league’s revenues and upended its usual cap projections. Until the NBA audits the ’19/20 season and has a better sense of what revenues for the ’20/21 campaign will look like, projecting a ’21/22 cap figure will be extremely difficult.

As a result of all this uncertainty, it will be some time before we know how much Antetokounmpo would earn if he accepts a five-year, super-max contract. Still, we can project some hypothetical scenarios based on potential cap figures.

Previously, this season’s cap ($109,141,000) was projected to increase to $115MM in 2020/21 and then $125MM in ’21/22. Now, it appears more likely that next season’s cap will be about the same as this year’s. That could be true again in 2021/22 — or perhaps the jump to $115MM will be delayed by a year. A small dip – maybe to $105MM or so – isn’t even out of the question. So let’s break down all of those scenarios and examine what a super-max deal for Giannis would look like in each case…

(Note: If you’re a mobile/app user, you can view the full chart by turning your phone sideways.)

Year/Cap $105MM
2021/22 $36,750,000 $38,199,350 $40,250,000 $43,750,000
2022/23 $39,690,000 $41,255,298 $43,470,000 $47,250,000
2023/24 $42,630,000 $44,311,246 $46,690,000 $50,750,000
2024/25 $45,570,000 $47,367,194 $49,910,000 $54,250,000
2025/26 $48,510,000 $50,423,142 $53,130,000 $57,750,000
Total $213,150,000 $221,556,230 $233,450,000 $253,750,000

As our chart shows, if the cap really does stand pat for the next couple years, a super-max for Antetokounmpo would be worth more than $30MM less than what was originally projected.

That shouldn’t provide Giannis with any incentive to leave Milwaukee. The super-max option would still be way more lucrative than an outside offer from any other team, which would be limited to four years starting at 30% of the cap. Based on the four hypothetical cap scenarios listed above, a rival team’s best four-year offer would range from $135.5MM to $161.3MM.

Still, the lingering cap uncertainty could incentivize the star forward to take a wait-and-see approach to extension talks. After all, he’ll still be super-max eligible when his contract ends in 2021 — by waiting until that point, he’d have a much clearer idea of what the deal would actually be worth when he signs it.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Bucks Rumors: Budenholzer, Bledsoe, Giannis

Despite leading the Bucks to the NBA’s best regular-season record in each of the last two seasons, head coach Mike Budenholzer has faced criticism in the playoffs after losses to the Raptors in 2019 and Heat in 2020. In each series, there were concerns that Budenholzer was slow to make adjustments when things weren’t working and was reluctant to lean more heavily on his star players for big minutes.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Budenholzer’s job is safe heading into the 2020/21 season. Still, Charania stresses that there’s an understanding across the Bucks’ leadership group that “everyone must learn from this season and be better.” It’s probably a safe bet that Budenholzer’s seat will get a whole lot hotter in 2021 if the team’s next postseason run closely resembles the last two.

Here’s more on the Bucks from Charania:

  • According to Charania, there’s an expectation among rival executives that the Bucks will focus this offseason on acquiring a play-maker and adding more shooting to the roster as they look to complement reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. Chris Paul has already been cited multiple times as one possible target, but Milwaukee figures to explore many options on the trade market and in free agency.
  • Starting point guard Eric Bledsoe is considered likely to become a potential trade candidate this offseason, sources tell Charania. Bledsoe, who made the All-Defensive Second Team this season, has two fully guaranteed years left on his contract at $17.5MM annually. The final year of his deal in 2022/23 is only partially guaranteed ($3.9MM of $19.4MM).
  • Charania confirms that the Bucks intend to put a five-year, super-max contract extension offer on the table for Antetokounmpo as soon as the 2020/21 league year begins, which could happen in November. The value of that offer remains up in the air, since the starting salary will depend on where the ’21/22 cap lands.

O’Connor’s Latest: Bucks, CP3, Giannis, Clippers, Dragic

Shortly after the Bucks were eliminated from the postseason on Tuesday night, Marc Stein of The New York Times tweeted that a number of rival teams believe Milwaukee will explore a trade for Thunder point guard Chris Paul this offseason.

In his latest column, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer digs deeper into that idea, arguing that the Bucks need an upgrade at the point and making the case that Paul would be an ideal fit alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.

While the Bucks likely wouldn’t face a ton of competition if they pursue Paul due to his exorbitant cap hit ($41.4MM in 2020/21), O’Connor cites league sources who say the Sixers have “seriously debated” the idea of going after the veteran guard. The Knicks – whose front office is now being run by CP3’s former agent Leon Rose – are also a potential suitor, as O’Connor notes.

The Bucks could conceivable outbid either team for Paul, but they don’t have a ton of appealing assets, in O’Connor’s view — after this year’s No. 24 overall pick, the next first-rounder Milwaukee can trade is in 2024.

Here’s more from O’Connor:

  • League sources view the Bucks as the “clear favorite” to retain Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021, but the Heat, Raptors, Warriors, and Mavericks are among the teams hoping to make a run at him, according to O’Connor.
  • Interestingly, O’Connor also reports that multiple league sources have said recently that the Clippers intend to pursue a deal for Antetokounmpo. It’s hard to imagine such a deal coming to fruition, but Giannis has an “admiration” for Clippers head coach Doc Rivers, O’Connor writes.
  • Goran Dragic is one player the Bucks could try to sign in free agency as they seek a point guard upgrade, but league sources expect Dragic to remain with the Heat, per O’Connor.
  • League sources expect a somewhat quiet trade market this offseason, says O’Connor.