Before Giannis Antetokounmpo Inked His $228 Million Deal, the Single Biggest Contract in NBA History Wasn’t What You Might Think
After months of speculation on whether or not Giannis Antetokounmpo would re-sign with the Milwaukee Bucks or enter free agency in the summer of 2021, it’s now been confirmed that the two-time reigning NBA MVP will indeed remain in a Bucks uniform for at least the next four years with the possibility of a fifth.
Also the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Antetokounmpo will be signing a five-year/$228.2 million supermax contract, which includes an opt-out after the fourth year, making his the biggest deal ever signed in the NBA.
But before Giannis Antetokounmpo set this new benchmark, what was previously the biggest contract in NBA history? The answer to that question actually gets a little tricky. But before we get to that, let’s quickly dive into the details of the Greek Freak’s new deal.
The breakdown of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s new contract
On Tuesday afternoon, ESPN reported that Giannis Antetokounmpo will be signing a five-year supermax extension with the Milwaukee Bucks worth $228.2 million, which was confirmed by his agent. The record-setting amount will be tacked onto the $27.5 million the two-time MVP is owed this season, which is the final year of the four-year/$100 million contract Antetokounmpo signed ahead of the 2017-2018 season.
Not long after the news was announced, ESPN’s Bobby Marks projected what the year-by-year breakdown would look like.
Damian Lillard’s overall contract is actually bigger than Giannis Antetokounmpo’s
As mentioned, the matter of who previously signed the biggest contract in NBA history gets a little tricky. It really just depends on how you look at things. A lot of people believe that the previous record holder is James Harden, who signed a four-year extension with the Houston Rockets ahead of the 2017-2018 season that runs through the 2022-2023 season. Taking into account the remaining years he had on his contract combined with the extension (and that’s if he doesn’t opt out after the 2021-2022 season), he will have earned just over $230 million over those six years.
But the extension that he signed in 2017 was only worth $171.1 million, which is certainly not at the top of the list of the richest contracts signed. Besides, if we’re going with the logic of combining the remaining years of a contract with extensions, Damian Lillard would have the richest contract in NBA history and that includes the one that will be signed by Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Ahead of the 2019-2020 season, Lillard signed a four-year/$196 million extension with the Trail Blazers that will keep him in Portland through the 2024-2025 season. Add that to the two years he had remaining on his current contract, which would have expired after this season, and he’ll earn about $257 million over those six years, which is even more than Giannis Antetokounmpo will earn with his new contract. Add up the $228.2 million of his five-year extension with the $27.5 million he’s being paid this year and you get $255.7 million, obviously less than what Damian Lillard will make over a six-year period.
Before the Greek Freak signed his new deal, Russell Westbrook technically signed the biggest contract in NBA history
As for the technical answer to who signed the biggest NBA contract before Giannis did, that honor belongs to Russell Westbrook, who signed a five-year/$206.8 million contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder ahead of the 2017-2018 season. Two and a half months earlier, Steph Curry signed a five-year/$201.15 million extension with the Golden State Warriors, the first $200 million contract in NBA history.
Contract information courtesy of Spotrac