The question about Giannis Antetokounmpo’s future with the Milwaukee Bucks has been lingering over the franchise, and really the entire league, for the better part of a year now. But with the deadline for him to sign his supermax extension less than two weeks away, the back-to-back MVP still hasn’t made a decision.
On Wednesday, he spoke to the media for the first time ahead of the season and offered little in the way of clarity. Bucks fans hoping for news worth celebrating will have to keep waiting.
“I’m not focusing on [the extension],” Giannis said. “My agent Alex and Jon Horst and the Bucks ownership are focusing on those discussions and I’m just trying to focus on myself, how I can get better, how I can help my teammates be better and how we can be ready Saturday to play our first preseason game.”
Giannis has until Dec. 21 to sign the extension, which would be worth $228 million over five years. If he doesn’t, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent next summer. The Bucks, obviously, have made their position known, and so have his teammates, who left pens in his locker as a birthday gift over the weekend.
Despite two straight dominant regular seasons, where they finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference, the Bucks have crashed out of the playoffs in devastating fashion. Most recently, they were knocked out by the Miami Heat in just five games in the second round last summer.
Those playoff failures have clearly given Giannis some hesitance about whether or not he wants to commit to the franchise for the foreseeable future. It didn’t help that the Bucks’ offseason didn’t go to plan either. While they successfully acquired Jrue Holiday, their trade for Bogdan Bogdanovic — reportedly Giannis’ top target — fell apart.
Earlier this month, reports stated the team that was cautiously optimistic that he would re-sign despite those set-backs, but there has to be some doubt creeping in at this point. If he was one hundred percent convinced about signing the extension, it seems likely he would have done so by now, rather than letting the process drag on into training camp. That isn’t to say all hope is lost for the Bucks; far from it. But it is clear there are still some things to sort out here, and the Bucks may still have some convincing to do.