Report: Bucks to offer Antetokounmpo super-max contract in free agency

Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo, center, watches from the bench in the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Miami Heat. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

The Milwaukee Bucks will offer reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo a super-max contract as soon as free agency officially opens this off-season, according to The Athletic‘s Shams Charania.

If the projected line for the salary cap should remain the same ($115 million), something notoriously difficult to predict given the fiscal discrepancies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, then Antetokounmpo would be in line for a potential $233.45-million deal over five years.

Such an offer is a no-brainer for the Bucks, who will likely see their superstar announced as the league’s MVP for the second season in a row.

When it comes to Antetokounmpo himself, however, things are a little less clearcut.

Despite the 25-year-old telling Yahoo’s Chris Haynes that he would not even consider requesting a trade come the off-season, rival general managers will be calling Bucks GM Jon Horst often if Antetokounmpo opts not to accept the super-max offer.

All indications, according to Charania, are that even if Antetokounmpo does choose to hold off on signing with Milwaukee right away and thus put himself in position to continue hurtling toward free agency, the Bucks will forgo trading him in lieu of hoping they can convince him to stay by retooling the team around him – with guard Eric Bledsoe as a potential trade candidate.

In the meantime, the rest of the league will be licking their chops at the prospect of potentially getting to deliver their free agency pitches Antetokounmpo, with two teams supposedly leading the group in terms of having an inside track: the Miami Heat, who just ousted the Bucks from the second round of the playoffs in five games, and the Toronto Raptors.

It’s no secret the Raptors have been careful about maintaining financial flexibility for the summer of 2021 in the hopes of chasing, if not Antetokounmpo, another superstar player to push the roster back towards championship contention.

Toronto’s own cap-related decisions coming this off-season, then, will no doubt be made with the same level of caution, which means the team will have to make some difficult immediate decisions based on the free agencies of Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol, and Serge Ibaka, as well as OG Anunoby being eligible for a rookie-scale extension.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri notably has a strong relationship with Antetokounmpo, as he helped the player’s family emigrate from Nigeria to Greece in 2013, and he even made an effort to bring him to Toronto that same year by attempting to trade into the first round of the NBA draft.

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