After putting up a potential MVP season this year for the Milwaukee Bucks, Giannis Antetokounmpo will be in line for a supermax deal very soon. He hits free agency in 2021, but he can renegotiate his contract during the 2019 offseason to cash in on his All-NBA and possible MVP status. He is easily one of the top five players in the NBA, and although the Bucks postseason failure in the Eastern Conference finals is heartbreaking, there’s no denying he is a cornerstone to build a franchise around.
There’s only one real question surrounding Antetokounmpo: Is he worth the $200 million contract Milwaukee might offer him? We will break down his career in Milwaukee, his impact on the league, and whether he is worth the money.
Antetokounmpo’s career in Milwaukee
Since being drafted with the No.15 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, the Greek Freak has quickly improved his game. He went from being just a skinny player that attacks the basket to someone who can run in a team on both ends of the floor.
He has seen his numbers improve across the board each season, including a breakout 2017-18. This past season, Antetokounmpo averaged over 27 points and 12 rebounds per game while leading the Bucks to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and the best record in the NBA.
Those numbers, along with another poor James Harden postseason showing, could swing enough votes his way to earn him his first MVP award. That would be another highlight on an already decorated career, as Giannis is a three-time All-Star, three-time All-NBA player, and made the All-Defensive team twice.
What he means to the Bucks and the league
Giannis Antetokounmpo is one of the brightest stars in the league. He’s so good that he’s on the shortlist of players who could replace LeBron James as the biggest superstar in the NBA. Not only is he a fixture in a small market, but he is also one of the game’s most charismatic players. Antetokounmpo always gives a good interview when on major media outlets, and his national endorsements (which include T-Mobile) hit the airwaves during every NBA telecast.
He is also one of the league’s most popular players with the NBA fanbase, as he had the third highest selling jersey during the 2018-19 regular season.
Is Giannis Antetokounmpo worth the money?
The supermax deal can be a frightening thought for small-market teams, but in this case, the Bucks would be foolish not to give Giannis his money. He has quickly become one of the best players in the league, and small market teams don’t normally have players of this caliber rushing to join them via free agency.
Selecting players in the draft is a game of luck no matter how talented you think a player is, but it’s safe to say Milwaukee got lucky it chose Antetokounmpo over the likes of Sergey Karasev and Livio Jean-Charles.
The only issue with offering him the deal is how it would affect the Bucks luxury tax implications.
That tax can have a major effect on the bottom line for small market teams, and it could impact what the Bucks do during free agency. Do they resign Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon, or let one or both of them walk to greener pastures? If Kawhi Leonard resigns with the Raptors, will Milwaukee need different pieces to combat the Toronto defense that shut down Giannis during the last four games of their series?
This will be a tricky offseason for the Bucks front office, but one they can’t afford to miss on if they want to stay in contention for the Eastern Conference crown. Antetokounmpo probably deserves $200 and one of the NBA’s biggest contracts, but one has to wonder how competitive Milwaukee would be if it invests that much on one player.