Giannis Antetokounmpo Bucks basketball journey has been closely watched, with several teams vying for his talents prior to his 2020 contract extension with the Bucks. The Heat, Mavericks, and Lakers all made room in their salary caps, hoping to acquire him as a free agent. Yet, he chose to remain with the Milwaukee Bucks, securing the 2021 championship. The subsequent years, however, haven’t been as fruitful for the two-time MVP. The Bucks haven’t returned to the conference finals since 2021, and in the last season, an unexpected defeat by the No. 8 seed Miami Heat cut short their postseason run. As he approaches eligibility for a contract extension this offseason, Antetokounmpo is faced with a pivotal decision.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Bucks contract situation hinges on a significant choice. While he will be eligible to extend his contract later this offseason, he has indicated to Tania Ganguli of The New York Times that he doesn’t intend to re-sign with the Bucks this summer. Financially, his decision makes sense. If he signs an extension now, he can only add four years to the deal. Waiting until the next offseason will allow for a five-year extension, potentially benefiting from the rising salary cap. However, this choice isn’t solely about finances; it’s a decision that intertwines both basketball strategy and personal aspiration. After two seasons of disappointment, Antetokounmpo made it clear that his priority lies in pursuing more championship victories.
He emphasized, “The real question’s not going to be this year — numbers-wise it doesn’t make sense, But next year, next summer it would make more sense for both parties. Even then, I don’t know.”
Antetokounmpo, still just 28 years old, has time on his side to continue his quest for titles. Nonetheless, the rest of the Bucks’ core might not share the same luxury. The team has opted to retain its core players since clinching the 2021 championship, but this approach has led to an aging roster. Khris Middleton, Antetokounmpo’s sidekick, is now 32 and has battled injuries. Jrue Holiday, at 33, has expressed plans to retire at the end of his current contract. Brook Lopez, aged 35, underwent back surgery in the 2021-22 season. The Bucks secured multi-year deals for Lopez and Middleton this offseason.
“But at the end of the day, being a winner, it’s over that goal,” he said. “Winning a championship comes first. I don’t want to be 20 years on the same team and don’t win another championship.”
Notably, Mike Budenholzer, the former head coach, has departed. After the loss to Miami, the Bucks replaced him with Toronto Raptors assistant Adrian Griffin. Reportedly, Antetokounmpo supported Griffin’s appointment but acknowledged the challenges of introducing a new coach to a well-established team dynamic.
“You’ve got to see the dynamics,” he said. “How the coach is going to be, how we’re going to be together. 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 Bucks are poised for championship contention in the current season, and they might remain competitive for another couple of years. Yet, the aging core presents a challenge. Until 2028, the Bucks lack control over their own first-round picks, and their focus on experience during the Giannis Antetokounmpo bucks era has limited their young talent pipeline. If Antetokounmpo aims for sustained competitiveness in the future, an argument arises that he may need to pursue this goal beyond Milwaukee. Now, it’s the Bucks’ responsibility to persuade him otherwise.