The Milwaukee Bucks signed Giannis Antetokounmpo, their top player and one of the league’s elite superstars. The deal was a great one for Milwaukee for multiple reasons. For one, they retained a future Hall of Famer. But beyond that, they also included a few components in the deal that will work to their advantage should Antetokounmpo ever push for a trade.
Let’s take a closer look at the deal and what it means for the team, the player, and the rest of the league.
The megadeal Giannis Antetokounmpo signed with the Milwaukee Bucks
According to Spotrac, Antetokounmpo signed a five-year, $282 million extension with a 2025 player option. Antetokounmpo was likely going to be one of the biggest gets on the free agent market, so the Bucks made a proactive move to sign him.
So what does the deal mean? Well, for one, it keeps Milwaukee on the map as a championship contender. Losing Antetokounmpo would have been a disaster.
The pieces around Antetokounmpo obviously matter greatly. But as long as he’s the centerpiece for the Bucks, they’ll stay in championship contention. It also complicates plans for many other teams who were looking to get in on the Giannis Sweepstakes.
Teams like the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat were likely going to make a strong play for his services. Now? They’ll have to go back to the drawing board.
This doesn’t clinch the East for the Bucks. But it keeps them as one of the top dogs in the conference for the foreseeable future.
The trade kicker in Giannis Antetokounmpo’s deal
One of the other major features of Antetokounmpo’s deal is a 15% trade kicker. That means the deal will get more expensive if he is traded to another team. He would have to waive the trade kicker for it to not be exercised.
The trade kicker is a masterstroke for the Bucks. It will dissuade teams from wanting to trade for Antetokounmpo, as it will make an already massive contract even fatter. In short, it makes the contract more costly for any team looking to acquire him via trade.
Antetokounmpo could always waive the stipulation, but he’d be costing himself a pretty penny to do so. The trade kicker gives Antetokounmpo incentive to be traded, though it essentially penalizes any team who tries to deal for him financially.
This is the kind of thing a team includes when it wants to hold onto a player and the player wants to remain with the team.
The unique player option and what it means for the Bucks
Antetokounmpo’s deal is for five years, but there’s a player option as well for the 2025-2026 season. Depending on Antetokounmpo’s mindset at the time (as well as how successful he is in Milwaukee), he has the choice of whether to return for that final season.
Assuming the Bucks’ worst-case scenario (Antetokoumpo opting out), that means the Bucks’ championship window is between now and the 2024-2025 season. That gives them time to build their core with more talent to support him.
As it stands, Milwaukee will be one of the top teams in the East with plenty of opportunities to advance to the NBA Finals. The East isn’t particularly strong — most of the top contenders are from the Western Conference. Antetokounmpo gives the team consistent credibility as a threat to win a championship.
The bottom line is that this move is great for all parties. Antetokounmpo is the highest-paid player in league history — clearly a great thing for him. Milwaukee locks up its best player, one who was coveted by many other teams throughout the league.
In an era where small market teams are finding it harder than ever to compete with superstars fleeing to super teams, this is a big win for the Bucks.