Thursday, May 30, 2024

Giannis Antetokounmpo agrees to three-year, $186 million extension with Bucks


Giannis Antetokounmpo has agreed to a contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks, the two-time MVP announced himself on Twitter. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski went on to report the details: three years for $186 million with a player-option for the 2027-28 season. That option allows Antetokounmpo to become a free agent in 2027, when the contract of new teammate Damian Lillard expires, largely linking the two of them together in Milwaukee for the next four seasons.

Antetokounmpo became eligible for an extension in September, but claimed earlier in the offseason that he did not plan to sign one because doing so would have meant forgoing the extra money waiting a year would have allowed him to earn. During that media tour, he made it clear that his goal was to compete for championships, whether that was in Milwaukee or elsewhere.

That tactic has worked well for Antetokounmpo in the past. He has now twice effectively used the leverage of a short contract to convince the Bucks to make aggressive win-now moves. In 2020, one year away from becoming a free agent, the Bucks traded for Jrue Holiday. Antetokounmpo liked the move enough to re-sign, and the Bucks won the 2021 championship. This time, the move was for Lillard, and Milwaukee is hoping for a similar outcome.

Antetokounmpo is 28 now, and with this new deal, he will be eligible for free agency at the age of 32. That is notable considering the age of his teammates. Khris Middleton is 32 now. Lillard is 33 and Brook Lopez is 35. Antetokounmpo has now committed to trying to win with this group for as long as it stays together, but given the relative youth in Milwaukee, the Bucks are going to have to find a way to add young talent over the next several years if it wants to ensure that Antetokounmpo retires in the Cream City.

For now, though, this is an enormous victory for the Bucks organization. Their goal this offseason, first and foremost, was to convince Antetokounmpo to stay put beyond his prior contract. He has agreed to do just that, and by signing early, he’s even done so at a slight discount. Now the Bucks can focus on their championship pursuit without the fear of losing their best player. 

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