Per NBA rules, teams are allowed to enter negotiations on a new contract with first round draft picks just before the start of the player’s fourth season in the league. In some cases the decision whether or not to offer and extension (and for the player, whether or not to accept) can go right down to the late-October deadline. That wasn’t the case for the Milwaukee Bucks and skilled guard Giannis Antetokounmpo, as they came to an agreement on a new deal with little fuss Monday.
News of Antetokoumpo’s new contract, which will pay him $100 million over four years, was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical with the franchise scheduling a press conference for Tuesday afternoon to make things official. The “Greek Freak” has improved markedly throughout his three seasons in Milwaukee, developing into the face of the franchise and having a significant impact on the way in which general manager John Hammond goes about putting together the roster (hard to think that Antetokounmpo’s growth didn’t impact the decision to roll the dice on Thon Maker in June’s NBA Draft).
How Antetokounmpo Helps the Bucks
The better approach here would be to ask how Antetokounmpo doesn’t help the Bucks, thanks to his vast array of skills on both ends of the floor. At 6-foot-11, Antetokounmpo has proven to be an incredibly tough matchup for opponents despite the fact that he isn’t a significant threat from beyond the three-point line. Antetokounmpo shot 50.6 percent from the field last season, and in addition to averaging 16.9 points per game he also dished out 4.3 assists per contest.
Antetokounmpo posted five triple-doubles last season, and head coach Jason Kidd said in the spring that he has the potential to average a triple-double for a season. Antetokounmpo will turn 23 in December, and he is Kidd’s choice to be the team’s starting point guard when camp begins next week.
Defensively, Antetokounmpo’s size, wingspan and athleticism make it possible for head coach Jason Kidd to ask him to guard nearly any player on the court. Antetokounmpo averaged 7.7 rebounds, 1.2 steals and 1.4 blocks per game last season, and his physical tools have helped the “Greek Freak” change a number of shots as well. The next steps for Antetokounmpo are to continue to make strides offensively, and continue to evolve as the face of the Bucks franchise.
Antetokounmpo’s New Deal Won’t Go Into Effect Until Next Season
Antetokounmpo’s extension is less than the max that Milwaukee could have paid him, and the extension won’t go into effect immediately either. Per NBA rules the new contract can’t begin until the year after the expiration of the rookie deal, which in Antetokounmpo’s case means the 2017-18 season is the first year.
As a result Antetokoumpo will make $2,995,420 in 2016-17, a flat-out steal given the skills and productivity that the guard brings to the table. Exact terms of Antetokounmpo’s new contract aren’t known just yet, but the contract will make him the highest paid player on the roster. And thanks to the NBA’s rules when it comes to negotiating with players still on their rookie deal, it can be argued that being Milwaukee’s highest paid player is overdue for Antetokounmpo.