With few big names on the free agent market this offseason, many teams around the league are already positioning themselves for 2021, when a number of stars could be available. Without a doubt, the biggest name on the list is Milwaukee Bucks big man Giannis Antetokounmpo, the reigning back-to-back MVP.
The Bucks will be able to offer Giannis a five-year max extension worth around $221 million when free agency begins later this year. But while that’s more money than he can make anywhere else, there’s no guarantee he signs the extension given the Bucks’ failures in the playoffs, which include a second-round exit against the Miami Heat in the bubble a few months ago.
If he signs the extension that will be the end of it, and interested teams can move on to other players and other plans, but if he turns it down, the rumors and speculation will really heat up. However, no matter what happens, expect Giannis to remain with the Bucks through next season. The team has no plans to trade him if he turns down their offer, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN:
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.
While Giannis hasn’t given any indication one way or the other regarding the extension, he has made it clear that he won’t request a trade ahead of his free agency. “It’s not happening. That’s not happening,” Antetokounmpo told Yahoo’s Chris Haynes last month. “Some see a wall and go in [another direction]. I plow through it. We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season.”
Obviously, things can change, but it appears that for now both star and front office are on the same page about next season. Despite their failures in the playoffs, the Bucks are still one of the best teams in the league and are going to be a title contender as long as Giannis is on the roster. Management has also made it clear to the MVP that they’re willing to do whatever’s necessary this offseason to get him the help he needs and show him he should stay in Milwaukee.
Though this approach opens the Bucks up to the possibility of losing Giannis for nothing in 2021, it’s without a doubt the right way to go. Nothing they could get in a trade would be worth giving up another chance at winning a championship.
Courtesy: CBS Sports