Will he stay, or will he go? That’s paraphrasing a famous line from a song by The Clash, but the thought behind the lyrics were on everyone’s mind in Milwaukee on whether two-time reigning MVP Giannis ‘Greek Freak’ Antetokounmpo would remain with the Bucks by signing a supermax contract extension.
The 26-year-old Greek Freak answered the question on Tuesday, signing a five-year, $228 million extension known as a supermax deal. He has an opt-out after four seasons at age 30.
He will earn $27.5 million this season, which is the final year in a four-year deal he signed in 2016 that was worth $100 million over four seasons.
|GREEK FREAK SUPERMAX CONTRACT|
- 2021-22: $39,334,970
- 2022-23: $42,492,568
- 2023-24: $45,640,165
- 2024-25: $48,787,763
- 2025-26: $51,935,360
** Figures by Spotrac
If Greek Freak didn’t sign the supermax contract extension, the Bucks would have been forced to trade him before he bounced in free agency at the end of the season. The team did what they could to provide Antetokounmpo incentives to stick around in pursuit of a championship. The Bucks acquired Jrue Holiday, one of the best two-way players in the league, in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans in order to help provide the Greek Freak with additional scoring power.
The Bucks posted the best record in the NBA over the past two seasons, but failed to reach the NBA Finals in either season. They were knocked out of the 2019 postseason in the Eastern Conference Finals by the eventual-champion Toronto Raptors. Last season in the NBA Bubble in Orlando, the Bucks were upset in the Eastern Conference semifinals by Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.
Giannis Antetokounmpo signs a five-year supermax deal with the Bucks, officially securing the bag ? pic.twitter.com/sOc2ZC0aXN
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) December 16, 2020
Freak Stays in Brew Town
The Bucks haven’t won an NBA title since 1971 when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played on the team as Lew Alcindor. They haven’t appeared in the NBA Finals since 1974. The Bucks selected Alcindor out of UCLA with the #1 pick in the 1969 NBA Draft. The Bucks selected the Greek Freak with the #15 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft after he’d spent a couple of seasons playing pro ball in Greece as a teenager.
“This is my home, this is my city,” tweeted the Freak. “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.”
Now that the Greek Freak will be sticking around Milwaukee for at least the next five seasons, that means many other NBA title contenders will have to pivot to their Plan Bs (ho-hum, James Harden).
Several teams, such as the Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors, and Golden State Warriors, were interested in acquiring the Greek Freak’s services if he decided to jump ship in Milwaukee.
NYC Freak … Nope
Losing squads like the New York Knicks were also desperate for a shot at the Greek Freak. The Knicks were left by the wayside when another one of the top five players in the league didn’t even consider playing at MSG in NYC.
That slight is a testament to the Knick’s enfant terrible owner, James Dolan. LeBron James didn’t blink when he selected Los Angeles over NYC. LeBron opted to finish out the twilight of his career with the Lakers. In just two seasons, LeBron elevated the Lakers back to their former championship glory.
Last season, Kevin Durant snubbed the Knicks and joined the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, where they get the benefit of playing in the NYC market without having to endure Dolan’s toxicity.
And now, the Greek Freak didn’t even consider forcing a trade to the Knicks where he would’ve become NYC’s next big sports superstar.