The Milwaukee Bucks made sure their back-to-back NBA MVP wasn’t going to go anywhere.
Giannis Antetokounmpo announced Tuesday that he is staying with the Bucks, agreeing to a five-year, $228 million supermax extension. This is the largest deal in NBA history.
Had he had decided not to sign his extension, he would have been THE MOST sought after unrestricted free agent.
Now, Antetokounmpo is staying in the Eastern Conference after rumors swirled about creating a super team with the Warriors in the Western Conference. Should that still happen in the future, 2025 would be the earliest. That's the year he can opt-out of his super max deal.
Antetokounmpo is one of the league’s most important players on both sides of the floor, joining Hakeem Olajuwon and Michael Jordan as just the third player in history to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year honors in the same year.
As NBA rumors zipped across social media about the Greek Freak's future.
Even Damian Lillard engaged in a tweet about the possibility of it happening back in November.
Obviously, that dream has now died, but what does this mean for the Blazers that Giannis is staying in the Eastern Conference?
Well, for starters, it helps any team in the West-- Trail Blazers included.
Had Giannis ended up with the Warriors as it was long-rumored or in LA with either the Clippers or Lakers -- game, set, match.
The Western Conference remains hotly contested.
The Lakers arguably got better.
So did the Suns.
This offseason, the Blazers certainly got better defensively. With the addition of Robert Covington, Derek Jones Jr., and Harry Giles III, the Blazers have solved their problems with guarding the forward position it seems like.
It also helps that Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter have returned to the lineup, as well as Rodney Hood making his way back from his Achilles injury last year.
The Blazers are always the team that gets wrongly evaluated before the season starts. With everyone (almost) healthy and back after a stellar run in the NBA bubble, why shouldn’t Blazer fans be excited about this upcoming NBA season?
Yes, the Giannis to Portland dream is dead and gone. It never had much (if any) legs, But, now we have an answer and the Trail Blazers can take care of their business. Don’t count this Blazer team out of making a big run in the Western Conference with how they have improved this offseason.
If anything, we can really focus in on the team we have now and stop trying to fantasize on what could have happened.
The Blazers season kicks off on Dec. 23 against the Utah Jazz, as we can expect this team to come out the gate fast and ready to be right in the front of the pack of the Western Conference.
See you in the Finals, Giannis!