There were a number of compelling reasons that led to Giannis Antetokounmpo deciding to sign his extension with the Milwaukee Bucks now instead of waiting until next summer — as he previously indicated. However, there’s no denying that the arrival of Damian Lillard played an integral part in Giannis’ complete turnaround.
As a matter of fact, it would not be insane to think that Antetokounmpo may have not put pen to paper on a new contract had it not been for Dame.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Reveals Damian Lillard’s Role in Milwaukee Bucks Extension
According to Giannis himself, Lillard was indeed a factor in his decision to go against his previous statement about waiting until next summer to sign a more lucrative extension. Antetokounmpo had nothing but high praise for his new superstar teammate:
“Being able to play with a guy like Dame, it’s a blessing,” Giannis said, via Bally Sports Wisconsin. “This guy, Top 75, guy can close out (a) game, guy can become a threat at the halfcourt, a guy that is all about basketball. The way he carries himself he’s not about extra stuff. He’s very quiet.
“Playing with a guy like that and being able to be a part of the best team I’ve ever been a part of, that also was a big part of my decision.”
When Giannis declared his intention to leave Milwaukee earlier this season, it was a clear message to the front office that he wanted more help. Re-signing Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez in free agency did not appear to be enough for Antetokounmpo, which is why he publicly came out to say that he would not hesitate to jump ship if he is no longer in a position to compete for a championship in Milwaukee.
The front office heard the message loud and clear, and while general manager Jon Horst has stated that Giannis’ statements did not significantly impact the team’s offseason dealings, you just know that this isn’t completely accurate.
The money involved is obviously a big factor in Giannis’ decision to extend his contract now, given how he has now put himself to sign two more lucrative extensions with the Bucks through the next 10 years. However, one could argue that the Dame factor may have been an even more compelling reason for Antetokounmpo to sign on the dotted line.
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