NBA Rumor: Giannis Antetokounmpo Extension

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For three hours, they discussed a wide range of topics: the state of the franchise, the ins and outs of this past season and the way it all went wrong at the end, the bubble experience, offseason priorities, the looming question of when the NBA’s next season might start and whether or not there will be fans on hand when the games begin. Since league rules prohibit the Bucks from engaging in any sort of contract talks with Antetokounmpo just yet — team officials even have to sign a document swearing they followed the rules — no specifics about his supermax extension were discussed.

Giannis Antetokounmpo discussing future with Bucks ownership

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo met with ownership Saturday afternoon to discuss the future of the franchise, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Last season’s MVP and this year’s Defensive Player of the Year met privately with co-owner Marc Lasry, sources said. The meeting came on the same day the 6-foot-11 star unfollowed hundreds on Twitter and Instagram, including the Bucks team account and his teammates’ accounts.

Gozlan: “From Giannis’ perspective, if he doesn’t take the supermax, two things: One, if he’s really interested in signing a supermax and wants the long-term security, wants the money, I think he would want it, but what could be holding him back could be what the salary cap is going to be. We still haven’t gotten any guidance from the NBA. The recent cap projection was $115 million. The following year was $125 million. Now, it could end up being the same salary cap figure for the next two years. If it were to be much lower and closer to what it is now, even less, then I would imagine Giannis would want to hold back on signing the supermax because that’s a lot less money to lock down versus what he was expected to get earlier. Under the $125 million salary cap, he was going to get around $250 million over five years. If it’s going to stick closer to the current $109 million salary cap or lower, he’s looking at closer to $210 or $220 million. That’s a big difference right there.”

Scotto: “If I’m Milwaukee, purely from a basketball standpoint in trying to win a championship, whatever he says (about an extension), he’s not going anywhere in my opinion, because Milwaukee’s never been a traditional free agency destination. It’s a cold-weather city, and it’s not a location that’s really been desired by a bunch of free agents in the past. If you try to trade him, you’re not going to get equal value back for the reigning MVP in a trade. For me, it’s never going to get better for the Bucks. I think you’ve got to push all the chips into the center of the table and really go for it.”

If he doesn’t sign an extension, Milwaukee must decide if it’s willing to go all-in and sacrifice young players and draft picks to improve the supporting cast in the short term or trade him before potentially losing him for nothing. “I’d want him to be honest,” an Eastern Conference general manager told HoopsHype when asked what he would do if Antetokounmpo didn’t sign an extension. “Are you not taking the extension because you don’t want to be here? Are you keeping your options open? I’d keep him because you have as good a chance to win next year as anyone. That’s why we all are in this thing. If things are not going your way by the trade deadline, then it’s a different story.”

Here’s the financial breakdown of the offer the Bucks can make this offseason versus the offers that other teams can make next season (2021), based on the initial cap projection of $109.1 million. Any team other than the Bucks would be limited to offering Antetokounmpo a four-year deal for a smaller percentage of the cap. 2021-22: $38.2M (Milwaukee) vs. $32.7M (new team) 2022-23: $41.3M (Milwaukee) vs. $34.4M (new team) 2023-24: $44.3M (Milwaukee) vs. $36.0M (new team) 2024-25: $47.4M (Milwaukee) vs. $37.7M (new team) 2025-26: $50.4M (Milwaukee) Total: $221.5M (Milwaukee) vs. $140.8M (new team)

But in truth, all of the above should be on the table even if Antetokounmpo signs the extension because the Bucks are in win-now mode. But with an extension, they can make moves with the luxury of knowing they have a six-year window rather than a one-year window. Inevitably, that changes things. Finally, there is the thought that if he doesn’t sign the extension the Bucks should trade him. I wouldn’t do this unless they have very clear smoke signals that he plans to sign elsewhere. Again, the Bucks aren’t getting access to another talent like this for a long time in all likelihood. And any trade involving Antetekounmpo is impossible to win.

In this case, both sides would be strongly motivated to figure out a reasonable cap number because underpaying the players relative to the BRI generated in that 2021-22 season would create a shortfall to the players and a cap spike in 2022. We already know the value of the national TV contract and will know all the local TV deals by then too, so expect a fair and substantial number. That is good for Antetokounmpo but also likely for the Bucks because a higher 2021-22 cap means a larger difference between what they can offer and what everyone else can bid. After all, Milwaukee can pay him 35 percent of the cap for five years with 8 percent raises while every other team can only offer 30 percent of the cap for four years with 5 percent raises.

The difference between the offer sheets is staggering. $92.5 million is a massive amount of guaranteed money to give up. Some will point to one deal being five years and the other offers only being four years, but even if you take out the $57.75 million in Year 5 (which is a massive year to remove), there is still a $34.75 million difference in the first four years. The financial advantages of signing with the hometown team as an MVP winner are clear when signing an extension eight seasons into your career. Some of the differences between what the Bucks could offer as opposed to other teams in the league disappear following Year 10 though.

In this case, both sides would be strongly motivated to figure out a reasonable cap number because underpaying the players relative to the BRI generated in that 2021-22 season would create a shortfall to the players and a cap spike in 2022. We already know the value of the national TV contract and will know all the local TV deals by then too, so expect a fair and substantial number. That is good for Antetokounmpo but also likely for the Bucks because a higher 2021-22 cap means a larger difference between what they can offer and what everyone else can bid. After all, Milwaukee can pay him 35 percent of the cap for five years with 8 percent raises while every other team can only offer 30 percent of the cap for four years with 5 percent raises.

The difference between the offer sheets is staggering. $92.5 million is a massive amount of guaranteed money to give up. Some will point to one deal being five years and the other offers only being four years, but even if you take out the $57.75 million in Year 5 (which is a massive year to remove), there is still a $34.75 million difference in the first four years. The financial advantages of signing with the hometown team as an MVP winner are clear when signing an extension eight seasons into your career. Some of the differences between what the Bucks could offer as opposed to other teams in the league disappear following Year 10 though.

Giannis likely to stay in Milwaukee?

There’s little doubt that Giannis Antetokounmpo, reigning and likely repeat MVP, has every reason to stick around in Milwaukee over the long term. The Bucks have a sparkling new downtown arena and a state-of-the-art practice facility, a long way from the state of play when Antetokounmpo arrived—back then, the Bucks were in the mostly moribund Bradley Center and practiced on the grounds of a Catholic Diocese headquarters in St. Francis, a few miles south of Milwaukee.

Giannis' agent keeping options open on extension

In an effort to keep their star in Milwaukee, the Bucks are expected to offer Giannis Antetokounmpo a supermax contract this summer. “Is he a client you could see staying with one team for his whole career?” asked Zervakis. “Yeah, I think so. Obviously everybody talks about his impending free agency, and I think everything is open,” Saratsis said. “I think he’s someone who could easily say, ‘I’d like to be in Milwaukee my entire career.’ I think he’s also someone who, depending on how the team does, could say, ‘I need a change.’ But for him, staying is absolutely a viable option.”
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