After their season ended in a disappointing fashion with a second-round ousting at the hands of the Miami Heat, the Milwaukee Bucks find themselves navigating a pivotal offseason headlined by the effort to keep NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo with the franchise for the long term. To that end, a new report from ESPN has indicated that many within the organization are feeling good about the team’s chances of convincing the four-time All-Star to sign an extension.
According to Zach Lowe, Milwaukee’s decision-makers believe Antetokounmpo will ultimately put his name on a five-year supermax extension that will pay him between $220 million and $250 million — depending on where the league’s salary cap and basketball-related income figures fall — ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.
The 25-year-old’s supermax agreement would obviously be a major development for the club. However, it would also be significant in that Antetokounmpo wouldn’t be eligible to sign the supermax extension during the actual season, as noted by Lowe. Therefore, in the event the sides aren’t able to solidify a deal, the team would potentially be leaving itself vulnerable if it continues to underperform and Antetokounmpo decides to explore his options.
In 2019-20, the Bucks were arguably the best unit in the association during the regular season, finishing with the league’s top record at 56-17 and entering the playoffs with the look of a title contender. However, the club was subsequently outclassed and eliminated by a fifth-seeded Heat squad in an embarrassing five-game series. Although Antetokounmpo maintained his MVP level throughout the postseason, other key contributors — namely, Eric Bledsoe and fellow All-Star Khris Middleton — struggled mightily.
That underperformance reignited fears that Antetokounmpo could consider taking his game elsewhere to give himself a better chance at capturing an NBA title. The Greek national later fanned those flames by reportedly unfollowing a number of his teammates and others within the Bucks organization on social media, as relayed by NBC Sports. That same day, he met with the team’s co-owner, Marc Lasry, who reportedly reassured him the franchise would do everything necessary to compete at a championship level.
Shortly thereafter, Antetokounmpo told Ernie Johnson during an NBA-TV interview that “as long as everybody’s fighting for the same thing, which is to be a champion, I don’t see why not to be in Milwaukee for the next 15 years.”
Antetokounmpo is coming off of a career year in Milwaukee, averaging nearly 30 points, 14 rebounds and six assists per contest while boasting an effective field goal percentage of 58.9, as tracked by Basketball-Reference.