Giannis Antetokounmpo is amid another playoff run with hopes of guiding the Milwaukee Bucks to an NBA title. However, the Bucks’ struggles in the second round against the Miami Heat has thrust forward talk around his NBA future beyond his current contract. It has put into play the possibility of Antetokounmpo potentially having his next landing spot already in mind.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s pending free agency
The conversation has been difficult to avoid for the Bucks, but Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s future remains the focal point.
The star forward is in the third year of his four-year, $100 million deal. There hasn’t been any meaningful dialogue around an extension, but more so about him testing the free-agent market in 2021. Antetokounmpo has brushed away that chatter for the most part, but it has only grown louder due to the Bucks falling quickly behind in their series against the Heat.
It places further significance on the 25-year-old’s contract situation as he nears hitting free agency. With that in mind, there may be a landing spot emerging for him in the Orlando Bubble situation.
Giannis Antetokounmpo may be eyeing the Heat
Giannis Antetokounmpo may not want to discuss his contract standing with Milwaukee, but it’s hard to ignore possible landing spots.
It has led to growing chatter that it’s becoming quite evident in the Orlando Bubble that the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors could be top choices, according to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports.
The Bucks may have been dominant in the regular season, but their playoff shortcomings expose many of their lingering issues. Milwaukee has struggled to bring consistent strong play around Antetokounompo, which has seen other teams hone their entire focus on the soon-to-be back-to-back MVP. The Heat have impressively displayed that to start the second-round series against the Bucks.
Miami has put together a deep roster that features a solid mix of young and proven talent led by star forward Jimmy Butler. It’s also no secret that team president Pat Riley is looking to add another All-Star to play alongside Butler, which Antetokounmpo certainly fits that mold. Much can change before the 2021 free agency, but the Heat are already making a compelling case.
What will unfold?
If the Bucks fall short yet again in the playoffs, it will push the focus toward their long-term future.
The franchise is tied to multi-year deals with Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton, but the have uncertainty around the Giannis Antetokounmpo contract situation. The franchise will possess the opportunity to offer the super-max extension reportedly worth north of $250 million this upcoming offseason.
However, there is a realistic chance he will bypass that to keep open his free agency in 2021. Antetokounmpo hasn’t spoken in any great detail about what will keep him in Milwaukee, but he did indicate that he values winning above all else. In other words, he wants to play for a team that can compete for an NBA title every year.
It’s too early to know if the Bucks will provide that, but their focus may have to shift toward adding another star talent. Khris Middleton has emerged as an All-Star caliber player, but he hasn’t provided enough firepower. There will be many suitors outside of the Heat, Raptors eyeing acquiring Antetokounmpo such as the LA Lakers and Golden State Warriors.
The ball in the Bucks’ court to make a compelling case to effectively convince their star forward to commit for the long haul.