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Rumor: Giannis Antetokounmpo could sign super-max extension with Bucks

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo

ORLANDO, FL - AUGUST 22: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks celebrates during the game against the Orlando Magic during Round One, Game Three of the NBA Playoffs on August 22, 2020 at The Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The Bucks, trying to impress Giannis Antetokounmpo ahead of his super-max decision, are trading for Jrue Holiday and Bogdan Bogdanovic.

So… what does Antetokounmpo think about Milwaukee now?

Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

He has about a month to decide on his super max. I think he’s going to decide a lot sooner, and I think there’s a lot of warmth in Milwaukee right now. I’ll just leave it at that.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

There’s an underlying chicken-or-the-egg question: Would Antetokounmpo agree to the extension because the Bucks went all-in? Or did they go all-in because Antetokounmpo agreed to the extension? It’d be interesting to know whether they were operating from a place of confidence or desperation.

Of course, the question that matters most is whether Antetokounmpo will actually sign the extension.

Coldly, even if Antetokounmpo wants to stay in Milwaukee, it still probably makes sense for him not to sign the extension. A five-year super-max deal with the exact same terms will still be available during 2021 free agency. In the meantime, Antetokounmpo can evaluate key questions:

  • How will the salary cap progress? It might be financially prudent to sign a short deal then lock in long-term once once the cap rises.
  • How will this roster coalesce? It looks good on paper. But if doesn’t work, Milwaukee is hard-capped this season and devoid of future first-round picks and young talent.
  • Will the Bucks continue to spend? They’re heading toward the luxury tax only now that his exit could be imminent.

On the other hand, Antetokounmpo signing the extension would quiet noise that could make the Bucks’ championship pursuit more difficult. It’d give him peace of mind and guarantee a massive payday. There’s an obvious appeal, too.