Out of all the steamy, intriguing off-season NBA headlines, nothing is perhaps more followed than Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and his plans for the future.
We’ve been hearing it for more than a year now: will he sign the supermax contract to officially stay in Milwaukee, or will he let it pass by and let the franchise and fanbase sweat it out?
The burning question will be answered this December 22nd (Manila time), his deadline to ink the deal. As you know, if he doesn’t push through with the re-up, he will become an unrestricted free agent next off-season, where he’ll be freely courted by a handful of contending, bigger-market teams. All are sure to be tough competitors for the lesser-billed, low-profile Bucks organization – especially if they can’t put the pieces around him to win a title this year.
As fans and media alike are continuing to be glued for updates, especially now that training camps have started, Giannis himself delivered an update today via Twitter.
It wasn’t as revealing as we want it to be – or maybe it is. We’ll let you decide.
Improve every day! pic.twitter.com/pv8qqP23g7— Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) December 10, 2020
“I think about everything. I think about Milwaukee. I think about my teammates. I think about my family. I think about what’s the best decision for me. That’s pretty much it. And after that I realize I’ve gotten so far because I focused on how I can improve every single day.
You know I love the city of Milwaukee. I love the organization. I love my family to death. I love winning. At the end of the day I wouldn’t be in this situation if I wasn’t working hard, if I wasn’t winning games, if I wasn’t improving. Every single day if I didn’t have this mentality…I can’t change who I am. I cannot change this mentality. And I’m going to focus on improving. And day by day everything is going to take care of itself.”Giannis Antetokounmpo reflects on Milwaukee
You don’t need to be in an NBA team to know the likeliness of losing superstar like Giannis, particularly in today’s climate, where player empowerment reigns supreme.
This isn’t like the Cleveland Cavaliers’ situation with LeBron James in the late 2000s, though, or the New Orleans Pelicans’ last year.
The Bucks, for the most part, have tried their very best to surround their beloved Greek Freak with the necessary pieces. Along with bringing in veteran coach Mike Budenholzer, who molded Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe, and Brook Lopez into effectively fitting with Giannis’s style, the Bucks have shown aggressiveness in shuffling the roster for more firepower.
It’s just that the basketball gods aren’t fully siding with them.
Part of that needed aggressiveness was evident when the trade window opened weeks back. The Bucks traded away All-Defensive guard Bledsoe, George Hill, and four first-round picks (two are pick swaps) for sought-after, two-way guard Jrue Holiday.
Shortly after, Milwaukee basically emptied out the team’s supporting cast to verbally complete a sign-and-trade with Sacramento Kings swingman Bogdan Bogdanovic.
The Serbian is not only a highly-rated free agent and versatile offensive weapon, he’s also close friends with Giannis, so it was a no-brainer. Unfortunately, controversies latched on to the move as tampering and miscommunications went on, which eventually lead to Bogdanovic signing with the Atlanta Hawks instead.
The frustrating issue has slowed down Milwaukee’s front office since, and while the Holiday acquisition is good, the quest to persuade their superstar to stay likely took some steps back. For now, the Bucks and their fans will remain hopeful and hold on to Giannis’s huge admiration for the city. They better hope he loves their supermax contract too, though.
The Bucks contract is reportedly $228M for five years, much higher than what other teams can offer.