Just hours into the beginning of what could be an awkward and tumultuous offseason for Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, the superstar forward is already saying all the right things.
When asked by Yahoo’s Chris Haynes if he would force a trade this offseason after yet another disappointing end to the team’s season when the Miami Heat eliminated the Bucks on Tuesday, he was adamant.
“It’s not happening. That’s not happening,” he said. “Some see a wall and go in . I plow through it. We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season.”
That’s exactly what the Bucks want to hear heading into an offseason in which Antetokounmpo will be a year closer to free agency. And there was this report from ESPN’s Tim Bontemps: “If Antetokounmpo passes on signing the supermax, multiple sources are adamant that the Bucks won’t trade him. Milwaukee will have to persuade him to stay — and quickly.”
That’s great that they’re on THAT same page. But in that last quote is the key to the next steps, a question that the Greek Freak hasn’t answered yet: will he sign a so-called supermax contract extension that he qualified for with the Bucks, assuming they offer one?
By the way, there’s no question about whether they’ll offer him one, unless the front office goes back on its word. The Bucks were fined $50,000 last year by the NBA when GM Jon Horst said publicly the franchise would offer him one.
So that’s the question we need the answer to. Maybe Antetokounmpo is waiting for a formal offer to make that decision. But the future of the franchise hinges on it. Because the Bucks can declare right now that they won’t trade him, and the megastar can say he won’t force a deal.
But if Milwaukee sees he can hit free agency in 2021 and lose him for nothing, the Bucks may change their tune about dealing him.
Yes, the offseason has JUST begun for Antetokounmpo and the Bucks. But when we focus on what’s next for them, it starts and could end with that extension. If he declines it, some of that talk about a trade might be reignited again.