Giannis Antetokounmpo scored his big payday and the Milwaukee Bucks eliminated their largest concern, one which could have affected the franchise for years to come.
As first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Antetokounmpo has agreed to a five-year contract extension with the Bucks worth $228.2 million. That is certainly a “supermax” deal. The reigning two-time NBA Most Valuable Player now has the largest contract in NBA history, which will pay him an annual salary of $45.6 million.
Antetokounmpo, 26, could have been a free agent after the 2020-21 NBA season, which surely would’ve tipped off a huge, competitive bidding war for his services. (There were recurring rumblings that he would sign with the Miami Heat.)
But Milwaukee was always going to be the team that could pay him the most. The only question was whether or not Antetokounmpo would sign a new contract before this season or put himself on the open market to see what offers were available. He had until Dec. 21 to agree to a supermax extension.
Breaking: Giannis Antetokounmpo says he is signing a contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks. The two-time MVP will sign a five-year, $228.2 million supermax extension with the franchise, the largest deal in NBA history, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 15, 2020
The Bucks have pushed hard to put together a championship contender that would convince Antetokounmpo to re-sign with them. During the shortened offseason, Milwaukee acquired point guard Jrue Holiday, exchanging Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, and three first-round draft picks in the trade.
But a sign-and-trade deal for Bogdan Bogdanovic which would’ve further strengthened the roster fell through. and Milwaukee had to take a consolation prize of signing guards D.J. Augustin and Bryn Forbes, along with forward Torrey Craig.
Mega-money aside, if Antetokounmpo decides it’s not working out in Milwaukee, he can opt out of this contract after four years.
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
Regardless, those additions are an upgrade for a Bucks squad that finished last season with the best record in the NBA (56-17). (Milwaukee had the East’s best record in each of the past two seasons.) Changes and improvements had to be made after Milwaukee was eliminated from the Orlando bubble, defeated in the Eastern Conference semifinals by the Miami Heat.
What may be most remembered about the Bucks in the NBA bubble, however, is the team sitting out its playoff game against the Orlando Magic to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. That decision prompted a postponement of the entire playoff schedule and put the NBA and its players’ stand against social injustice in the spotlight.
Antetokounmpo had another outstanding season in leading Milwaukee to a league-best record, winning his second consecutive MVP award while averaging 29.5 points and 13.6 rebounds — both career-highs — with 5.6 assists per game. His scoring average has increased in each of his seven NBA seasons.
In addition, Antetokounmpo won the Defensive Player of the Year award, becoming only the third player to earn that honor along with MVP. The other two were Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.
How does Antetokounmpo’s new supermax deal compare to other extensions signed by NBA stars in recent years?
- Paul George just signed a four-year, $190 million extension with the Los Angeles Clippers. Added to his contract for 2020-21, the overall value of his agreement is $226 million over five years.
- Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a five-year, $190 million extension. Davis became a free agent after the 2019-20 season.
- Damian Lillard signed a four-year, $194 million extension with the Portland Trail Blazers last year. (And with the two years remaining on his contract, the total value was $257 million over six years.)
- Three years ago, James Harden and the Houston Rockets agreed to a four-year, $170 million extension to give him a total deal of $228 million over six years. (And it could’ve been even more, had Harden not reportedly turned down a two-year, $103 million extension in November.)
- Harden’s new teammate, John Wall, also signed a supermax four-year extension worth $170 million with the Washington Wizards in 2017.
- Two more $200 million extensions from 2017: Russell Westbrook got a five-year, $205 million extension from the Oklahoma City Thunder. And Stephen Curry inked a five-year, $201 million deal with the Golden State Warriors, breaking the $200 million threshold for NBA superstars.
Both Curry and Harden could sign extensions in the months to come. Both are still under contract for multiple seasons (Harden, three; Curry, two), but they and their agents surely looked at Antetokounmpo’s new mega-deal with deep interest.