Since the 2019 NBA offseason, rumors have been continuously swirling around reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and his future with the Milwaukee Bucks. Antetokounmpo will be eligible to sign a massive contract extension worth $253.8 million over five years in the summer of 2020 but as of now, he hasn't given the Bucks any assurance if he will ink a new deal or test the free agency market in the 2021 offseason.
Citing a Harvard Business School case study, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel recently shared controversial statements allegedly made by Antetokounmpo, hinting about his impending free agency. Antetokounmpo urged the Bucks to build a winning culture and added that if they continue to do great, he said that he doesn't see himself going somewhere else. However, if they underperform in the 2019-20 NBA season, Antetokounmpo reportedly said that re-signing with the Bucks "becomes a lot more difficult."
Antetokounmpo's statements immediately became the hottest topic all around the league, with most people perceiving it that the reigning MVP would leave if they fail to live up to expectations in the 2019-20 NBA season. However, in a recent interview with Eric Nehm of subscriber-only publication The Athletic, the "Greek Freak" denied making such comments, referring to the quote where he reportedly said that he will have a hard time choosing whether to re-sign or not if the Bucks don't perform as well as expected.
"As I've said there's going to be a lot of stories that are going to come out. I think everybody knows how sensitive this timing is," Antetokounmpo said, as quoted by Bleacher Report. "They're going to come out with a bunch of stories and all that. My girlfriend Mariah asked me yesterday. She said, 'Did you actually say this?' I said, 'If you're going to read the last quote, I've never used those words in my life.'"Despite the clarification from Antetokounmpo, most people still think that the outcome of the 2019-20 NBA season will play a major role in whether he will sign a massive contract extension with the Bucks next summer or not. After the reigning champion Toronto Raptors lost Kawhi Leonard in this year's free agency period, the Bucks immediately emerged as the heavy favorite to come out of the Eastern Conference next season. However, Milwaukee's road to next year's Finals won't be easy, especially with the emergence of other Eastern Conference powerhouse teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics.
As of now, Giannis Antetokounmpo has no interest in discussing his impending free agency. Antetokounmpo said that he isn't going to distract his teammates and wants all the attention to be focused on the Bucks and how they will hopefully bring home the Larry O'Brien Trophy to Milwaukee in the 2019-20 NBA season.