The Milwaukee Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo have agreed on a three-year $186 million contract extension that will keep him with the team that drafted him through at least the 2026-27 season. The deal also includes a player option for 2027-28.
As it so happens, Giannis’ new extension also means that he will definitely be in Milwaukee for the duration of the remainder of Damian Lillard’s contract. In other words, the Bucks have at least three (and at most four, if Lillard picks up his player option) years to win one (or more) NBA Championships.
Based on the NBA collective bargaining agreement, though, Giannis’ contract extension also sets him up to be able to stay with the Bucks for the next decade.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Could Stay with the Milwaukee Bucks for the Next 10 Years
Part of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement is a rule known as “the 38-rule.” In short, this clause prevents teams from offering long-term (four-five year) contracts to players that will extend after that player’s 38th birthday. This is because NBA players are not likely to play after their 38th birthday, and teams were using long tax-payer exemption contracts to sign players to long contracts for more money than they otherwise would have been able to offer.
Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors explains it well here.
Now, how does the 38-rule affect Giannis and his extension now?
At the time of signing his extension, Giannis is 28 years old. The extension ensures that he will stay in Milwaukee through at least 2026-27 (he has a player option for 2027-28). Because of the 38-rule, Giannis will be able to sign a short two-year extension in 2026, much like the one Lillard signed with Portland before he was traded to the Bucks.
If Giannis were to sign this short two-year extension, he would then be able to sign another four-year supermax contract in 2028. This would ensure that he stays with Milwaukee through the 2032 season, the season in which he would turn 38 (NBA league years start October 1, so his turning 38 during this season would not affect the 38-rule).
Of course, Giannis has said on multiple occasions that he wants to remain in Milwaukee for his entire career. However, he also wants to win. As he proved with his most recent extension, if the Bucks make the right moves and keep their NBA Championship window open, he will stay. The onus will be on the organization to make sure they remain competitive in these years.