This has been reported multiple times on just about every media platform imaginable — including here at NBC Sports by our sources, as recently as Today’s NBA Power Rankings — but let’s go over it one more time:
The Milwaukee Bucks will not trade Giannis Antetokounmpo. Not even if he chooses not to sign a supermax contract extension with them this summer. It’s not happening.
The latest to write this up is Tim Bontemps at ESPN:
Multiple sources have emphatically said Milwaukee will not look to trade Antetokounmpo if he passes on the extension. Instead, the Bucks will try to improve their roster and use the next year to show Antetokounmpo why he should stay.
Waiting would give Antetokounmpo maximum leverage over Milwaukee over the next 12 months.
Expect him to go this route. It’s right out of the LeBron James/Rich Paul playbook of keeping the pressure on the small- to mid-market team to keep adding to the roster and making improvements. Even if he has every intention of staying in Milwaukee — and I have heard from sources that believe that is the case — there is wisdom in keeping options open and pressure on the organization.
Antetokounmpo met with Buck ownership and management right after the season ended, and by all accounts everyone left that meeting on the same page. The Bucks told the Greek Freak they would pay the tax to contend.
The Bucks can offer more money than any other team — the supermax would be worth 35% of the salary cap (whatever that ends up being) for five years. Before the pandemic, that was estimated to be a $254 million contract, it would be less now. No other team can offer more him than 30% of the cap for four years. Also, Milwaukee is the only home he has known in the United States; it’s the first place he and his family have ever lived and felt safe. His son also is in Milwaukee. There are a lot of reasons for him to stay.
If in the middle of next season Giannis Antetokounmpo walked into Bucks management and said, “there is no chance I an re-signing here, trade me,” they would be forced to, but until that happens — and, again, it hasn’t happened and that isn’t really Antetokounmpo’s style — Milwaukee will not trade him.
The NBA has become as much or more about the player movement, the team building, and the game’s culture as it is the game itself. Fans thirst for rumors and player drama, and are always looking for the next big thing — and Antetokounmpo could be the next big player to move. Maybe.
Just don’t bet on the Bucks trading him.