The Milwaukee Bucks, The City Of Milwaukee, and the entire NBA for all intents and purposes have been holding their collective breath — awaiting Greek Freak’s decision to stay in Cream City or transport his talents to a Super Team — since the team was eliminated by the Miami Heat in five games in the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Disney’s Orlando Bubble.
Giannis Antetokounmpo says he will be signing a 5-year, $228.2M supermax extension with the Bucks, per @ShamsCharania.
The largest deal in NBA history.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) December 15, 2020
Giannis is a superstar, who’s the reigning two-time NBA MVP and 2019-20 NBA Defensive Player Of The Year. He’s capable of dominating the game on both ends and changing the fortune of any franchise overnight. And they all knew he would be eligible for a record-breaking extension known as the “SuperMax”.
But with his team having the best record in the league the last two seasons and not reaching the NBA Finals, questions arose as to whether or not he would sign his record (5YR/$228M) contract extension or play out the final year of his current deal and hit free agency in the summer of 2021.
He had until December 21st to sign the deal or basically be traded in season, so the Bucks were never going to be left with nothing, but out of all possible scenarios, keeping Greek Freak was the top choice. His signing is a blessing for all who still like to see some competitive balance in the league.
Giannis’ extension was the hot topic during this historically short NBA off-season which will be 71 days total for the Heat and Lakers when the season begins on December 22nd.
Giannis is an extremely “LOYAL” person and he feels as if the city of Milwaukee has raised him from a skinny 19-year-old awkward but athletically gifted specimen to a 26-year-old NBA legend.
Larry Drew Knew
Never forget if the Atlanta Hawks hadn’t fired Larry Drew just weeks before the 2013 NBA Draft they would’ve had the “Greek Freak”. But then GM Danny Ferry made the cardinal sin of firing someone who’d taken multiple trips with him to see this kid workout in his native Greece and knew how intrigued and enamored he was with drafting him and molding him into the centerpiece in the “ATL”.
After his firing, Drew was immediately hired by the Bucks and convinced them to take Antetokounmpo two picks before the Hawks, just completely thwarting the plans of the Hawks brass.
This is my home, this is my city.. I’m blessed to be able to be a part of the Milwaukee Bucks for the next 5 years. Let’s make these years count. The show goes on, let’s get it. 🤎🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/895tCBE9RK
— Giannis Ugo Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) December 15, 2020
With him deciding to stay in “Cream City” and pursue a title and not join the new wave of “BuddyBall” or the “AAU Super-Team Era”, he essentially saved the NBA and small markets to an extent for now, something ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith said LeBron James in (2010) or Kevin Durant in (2016) didn’t do when they both joined or created Super-teams in Miami and Golden State respectfully.
The only glaring hole in Antetokounmpo’s game right now is a three-point arsenal. Once that surfaces, and as LeBron and KD age out, it’s a wrap. At some point, LeBron will have to abdicate the throne.
Greek Freak made a decision that people will question if he never reaches the promised land with Milwaukee. It’s one that also garners him respect.
And as exceptional as Anthony Davis, KD, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, LeBron and Stephen Curry are, The Greek Freak continues to rise on the scene like Jon Snow with a dope, hungry crew and some dragons in tow, ready to take his spot as the exalted, supreme ruler of all basketball kingdoms in the very near future.
Giannis Just Can’t Do It Alone
The Bucks did upgrade their roster by adding do-it-all guard Jrue Holiday in a trade from the Pelicans. As well as other solid pieces in veteran guards DJ Augustin, Bryn Forbes, and veteran forwards Torrey Craig and Bobby Portis. They also drafted professional scorer Jordan Nwara from Louisville in the second round of the 2020 draft after trading their first-round pick to get Holiday.
Is it enough to win an NBA title? I don’t think so. With teams like the Nets finally having a healthy KD and Kyrie, the Sixers with Doc leading the way, the Heat and the Celtics, it’s going to be challenging for Milwaukee.
I didn’t even mention the talented, gritty and well-coached Raptors led by Nick Nurse. Out West, there’s a slew of power squads driven by All-NBA titans.
At age 26, it’s nice to see Giannis avoid teaming up in Miami, Golden State or even with the Lakers.
WATCH: GREEK FREAK HIGHLIGHTS
After the fourth year (2024-25) of this deal, Giannis has an opt-out if he wants a fresh start or doesn’t like where the franchise is headed. He’ll be 30 and still in his prime, so you could very well see him in another uniform possibly teaming up with others if he.
But all those years wasted in Milwaukee would be similar to Kevin Garnett’s situation when he stayed in Minnesota a bit too long before joining the Celtics and getting one ring.
With that being said, the smartest thing Giannis did was sign the deal and I’m not saying he’ll ask for a trade but NBA players tend to get what they want if they sulk enough. This hasn’t been his MO so far but we don’t have a crystal ball. Bucks haven’t won an NBA title since Kareem and the Big O led them to the c’hip in ’71. It’ll be 50 years when this season ends.