Even after the Milwaukee Bucks successfully traded for Damian Lillard, Giannis Antetokounmpo came out with a statement that he wasn’t going to sign an extension this summer. Instead, he would rather wait for next season in order to secure an even more substantial deal.
This all changed on Monday, though, after the seven-time All-Star agreed to a $186 million, three-year extension with the team.
Did Giannis Antetkounmpo Give the Milwaukee Bucks a Massive Discount?
According to reports, Giannis could have signed a record-breaking $234 million, four-year deal next summer. Up front, that’s $48 million more than the extension he agreed to on Monday, albeit a year longer.
So, did Antetokounmpo just give the Bucks a massive discount? Perhaps as a way to pay them back, so to speak, after they went all-in on Dame this summer?
While this could definitely be the case, NBA insider Ric Bucher of Fox Sports points out that if you look at the long-term implications of Giannis’ decision, it actually gives him more leverage in the long run:
“Giannis ABSOLUTELY had to agree to extend or this is an insane bet on the come,” an anonymous NBA executive told Bucher.
“Adding three years now to his current deal commits him to the Bucks through the 2026-27 season, aligning his contract with Lillard’s, which has a player option for the 2026-27 season, when Lillard will turn 36.
“This, then, gives Antetokounmpo leverage to make certain the Bucks don’t merely let Lillard walk. This way he can make the Bucks re-sign his new running mate, if that’s what he’d want, or utilize the cap space to attain a younger star,” Bucher wrote.
Either way, aligning his contract with that of Lillard will put Antetokounmpo in a position to determine what the Bucks will do three years from now. As much as he and the organization deny it, this is pretty much exactly what he did this summer.
It’s not all about winning, either. The timing of this new deal will actually also allow Giannis to make more money in the future:
“Signing a slightly shorter deal now also positions Antetokounmpo to make a maximum salary until he is in his late 30s by signing two subsequent slightly shorter deals. His new contract now means he will be 31 when he is eligible to sign yet another extension. A similar three-year deal would take him to age 34, still ostensibly in his prime, when he could then sign a four-year deal that takes him to age 38,” Bucher pointed out.
“This allows him to maintain leverage over the franchise to ensure they don’t go rebuild when he is 31 and Lillard is done at 35,” the executive said.
Don’t let the humble and unassuming facade fool you. Giannis Antetokounmpo has definitely learned how to play the game — both on and off the court.
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