As one of the NBA’s biggest stars and a generational talent, the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is set to sign a monstrous contract when he comes up for free agency, but will he still be holding court in Milwaukee when he enters the second half of his illustrious career?
That’s a question both the talented star and his small-market franchise are still trying to iron out. For now, Giannis says he wants to see the franchise commit itself to winning more championships. With Antetokounmpo leading the way, Milwaukee captured the 2021 NBA title. Now, The “Greek Freak” once some more hardware, and that appears to be more of a priority than being a Buck for life.
“I would not be the best version of myself if I don’t know that everybody’s on the same page, everybody’s going for a championship, everybody’s going to sacrifice time away from their family like I do. And if I don’t feel that, I’m not signing,” Giannis recently told the New York Times. “At the end of the day, I feel like all my teammates know and the organization knows that I want to win a championship.
“As long as we’re on the same page with that and you show me and we go together to win a championship, I’m all for it. The moment I feel like, ‘Oh, yeah, we’re trying to rebuild’ then there will never be hard feelings with the Milwaukee Bucks.”
The 28-year-old is in the third season of a five-year, $228 million deal, so he’s guaranteed to be Ol’ Milwaukee for at least a couple more prime seasons. He’ll be eligible to sign an extension with the Bucks next month. But for now, Giannis is holding his cards close to the vest, and seeing what hand the Bucks decide to play. And in his position, it’s what most franchise players would do – especially in the NBA.
Giannis simply stated in his Times interview that winning is more important to him than money. He wants the talent to start flowing into Milwaukee just like the beer does. The former Finals MVP has drank from the championship cup once already, and now he’s ready to take another sip.
“At the end of the day, being a winner, it’s over that [money] goal,” Antetokounmpo told the Times. “Winning a championship comes first. I don’t want to be 20 years on the same team and don’t win another championship.”
Standing 7’3″, Giannis Antetokounmpo was the 15th overall selection by the Bucks in the 2013 NBA Draft. At the time, he was an 18-year-old phenom out of Greece with Nigerian roots and was considered a bit of a mystery.
As his skills developed, he emerged as a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a seven-time All-Star. He was named to the league’s 75th Anniversary Team in 2021.