Landing or losing a big-name free agent can change the course of a franchise forever. In the modern NBA, few names are bigger than Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Milwaukee Bucks’ forward might not hit the open market until 2021, but rumors are already swirling about his future.
While Antetokounmpo might be busy with NBA All-Star Weekend, his agent provided an update. Although he stopped short of making any commitments, Alex Saratsis confirmed that the Greek Freak is definitely open to staying with the Bucks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s eventual free agency
After a tough childhood, Giannis Antetokounmpo found a basketball home with the Filathlitikos organization. He played one professional season with the club, before entering into the 2013 NBA draft.
The Bucks snagged Antetokounmpo with the 15th overall pick, but they didn’t immediately have a star on their hands. The Greek Freak was only 18-years-old and hadn’t grown into his body; during his rookie year, he averaged under seven points a night. With each passing season, though, Giannis improved. He’s now a legitimate NBA star, who is capable of averaging 30 points, 13.5 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per outing.
When Antetokounmpo first arrived in North America, he signed a three-year rookie contract; after the Bucks picked up his fourth-year option, they inked the forward to a new four-year deal. That means Giannis will hit free agency during the summer of 2021. Understandably, every NBA team will dream of adding him to their roster.
The Greek Freak’s agent weighs in
Any time a star like Giannis Antetokounmpo is making his way towards the end of his contract, speculation will start swirling. By all accounts, the Greek Freak is happy in Milwaukee, but that won’t stop other teams from trying to tempt him to leave town.
Alex Saratsis, Antetokounmpo’s agent, recently clarified the situation. While he stopped short of making an unconditional pledge to remain with the Bucks, he did say that Giannis is loyal and could legitimately stay in Milwaukee.
“Giannis believes in loyalty, he believes in the people who’ve been there with him from the beginning, and I think he feels that kinship to the city because they have really helped raise him,” Saratsis explained on Milwaukee’s TMJ4 News. “I think he’s someone who could easily say, ‘I’d like to be in Milwaukee my entire career.’ I think he’s also someone who, depending on how the team does, could say, ‘I need a change.’ But for him, staying is absolutely a viable option.”
Can the Milwaukee Bucks keep their franchise player?
While predicting the future, especially in sports, is never easy, Milwaukee Bucks’ fans shouldn’t be too worried. Although Giannis Antetokounmpo would be well within his right to leave town, the star player doesn’t seem like he’s in a rush to move on.
On the court, the Bucks are the top team in the Eastern Conference; that alone should help inspire some loyalty. Beyond that, though, it’s worth remembering Giannis’ background. He isn’t someone who grew up in America, dreaming of playing for his childhood team. Milwaukee and the Bucks are the only North American home he’s ever known.
There will be plenty of speculation until Giannis Antetokounmpo signs a new contract, but, as long as the Bucks’ on-court performance doesn’t fall off a cliff, he seems poised to stay in Milwaukee.