Since being upset by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, rumors have been continuously swirling around reigning MVP and DPOY Giannis Antetokounmpo and his future with the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks may have publicly stated their plan to offer Antetokounmpo a massive contract extension but as of now, he hasn’t given them any assurance that he will ink a new deal. He may be wanting to test the free agency market in the summer of 2021. As such, all teams in the league are closely monitoring Antetokounmpo’s situation in Milwaukee.
If he refuses to sign an extension, most people believe the Bucks will be left with no choice but to start listening to offers for the “Greek Freak.” However, whether he accepts their offer or not, Tim Bontemps of ESPN revealed the Bucks don’t have any plans to trade the face of the franchise this offseason. Instead of moving him, they will reportedly do their best to show him why he shouldn’t leave Milwaukee.
“Multiple sources have emphatically said Milwaukee will not look to trade Antetokounmpo if he passes on the extension. Instead, the Bucks will try to improve their roster and use the next year to show Antetokounmpo why he should stay. Waiting would give Antetokounmpo maximum leverage over Milwaukee over the next 12 months. If the Bucks are willing to add to their payroll to improve the team — something ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported they are — Milwaukee could chase a significant upgrade in trades (despite being short on prime assets).”
If they fail to convince him to sign a new contract, it will definitely be a huge gamble for the Bucks to keep Antetokounmpo on their roster, since they could lose him as an unrestricted free agent without getting anything in return. However, for a small-market team like Milwaukee, it’s the type of risk they should be willing to take in order to remain relevant in the league.
Upgrading their current roster won’t be easy for the Bucks. They currently don’t have enough salary cap space to go after big names in the 2020 free agency and if they want to chase All-Star caliber players on the trade market, they will likely be needing to part ways with some of their core players. One of the areas they need major improvement in is the point guard position.
Eric Bledsoe may have played well during the regular season but in the playoffs, where games matter the most, he struggled to perform under pressure and failed to become consistent on both ends of the floor. In the past months, Milwaukee has already been linked to numerous floor generals who are expected to be available on the trading block this offseason. These include Chris Paul of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Jrue Holiday of the New Orleans Pelicans, and Mike Conley of the Utah Jazz.