The league’s reigning MVP is expected to be offered a five-year supermax contract worth anywhere between $200 to $250 million. But without any assurance that The Greek Freak will be in a position to compete for a championship in a competitive Eastern Conference topped by teams such as the Miami Heat, Boston Celtics, and the highly-anticipated Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant-led Brooklyn Nets, many speculate Antetokounmpo will, in the end, be reluctant to make the five-year recommitment.
Giannis Antetokounmpo & Milwaukee Bucks’ Plan
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who weighed in on the matter alongside Rachel Nichols and Jorge Sedano on a recent episode of “The Jump,” discussed how can the Bucks and Giannis come to an agreement that best satisfies both parties.
“Is there a middle path here? Is there a negotiation that can be done? And there may be, as you mentioned, what happened with Paul George and the Thunder a couple of years ago,” Windhorst said. “This wasn’t publicized, this wasn’t formalized, but the Thunder were worried about Paul George leaving so they said to him ‘look, why don’t you sign a long-term extension here, you’re going to be with us and for whatever reason you feel like you don’t want to be here anymore, we’ll work with you privately, quietly to trade you.’
“And a year after that extension, that’s exactly what happened and they handled that trade as clean and quiet as possible, and both sides benefitted.”
Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder’s “Secret Agreement” in 2019
Last year, the Los Angeles Clippers sent guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, forward Danilo Gallinari, and three first-round picks (2022, 2024, 2026) to the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for George.
“Now, nobody can predict the future. But it’s an $82 million difference for Giannis Antetokounmpo between signing the supermax extension or leaving and signing somewhere else,” Windhorst explained. “So that’s got his incentive right there and could the Bucks and Giannis have a secret agreement under the same thing?
“With that, he would be tied to the team for, at least, two years because you can’t be traded for a year after signing the supermax and you would be committed to the team; you would get your money, you would remove the pressure but you wouldn’t 100% give up your optionality.”
And if you’re Giannis, this is an offer you can’t refuse. Staying in Milwaukee not only maximizes his dollars but it also applies pressure to the organization to mold its best roster, otherwise, watch your franchise player walk out the door.
As for the Bucks, blatantly stating the obvious, this is the best-case scenario.
“Look, this is not something that the Bucks can ever come out and talk about, or Giannis can ever come out and talk about,” Windhorst said. “But I got to believe that it’s something that they have to have had discussions about as they head towards, now, a deadline at the start of the season for him to sign that extension or not.”