Giannis Antetokounmpo willing to leave Bucks if ‘a better situation’ arises to win NBA Title
To recap: They lost to the then-No. 8-seeded Miami Heat in the inaugural round in five games, becoming the only team in NBA History to lose a series in less than six games to a No. 8 seed since the seven-game first round was implemented at the start of 2002-03.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is entering year three of a five-year, $228.2 million supermax extension he signed ahead of the 2020-21 season, is still not committed to remaining in Milwaukee long term, even though they retained the core of Khris Middleton, Brook Lopez and Jrue Holiday heading into the new campaign.
“I’m a Milwaukee Buck, but most importantly I’m a winner, I want to win,” Antetokounmpo said on the 48 Minutes podcast. “I have to do whatever it takes for me to win. And if there’s a better situation for me to win the Larry O’Brien, I have to take that better situation.”
This isn’t the first time over the last month that Antetokounmpo has been vocal about potentially leaving the Bucks at some point in the near future.
“The real question’s not going to be this year — numbers-wise it doesn’t make sense,” Antetokounmpo told New York Times reporter Tania Ganguli in late August. “But next year, next summer it would make more sense for both parties. Even then, I don’t know.
“I would not be the best version of myself if I don’t know that everybody’s on the same page, everybody’s going for a championship, everybody’s going to sacrifice time away from their family like I do. And if I don’t feel that, I’m not signing.”
While the entirety of the Bucks’ main core is still intact, Holiday has one more year–a $39.4 million player option in 2024-25–on his current deal while Lopez also owns one more year ($23.0M in ’24-25), per Spotrac. Though Holiday is entering his age-33 season while Lopez is entering his age-35 season, in addition to Middleton entering his age-32 season.
So perhaps a reset is more in play than we think?
Giannis Antetokounmpo will become extension-eligible later this month for over $170 million, even though he’s reportedly unlikely to sign it.
Nevertheless, if he ever hypothetically hit the open market when his contract expires after 2025-26, he will have no shortage of suitors–beginning with the reigning East champion Heat, New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, to name a few. A lot can change within just two years leaguewide, so perhaps other viable suitors emerge that wouldn’t be in front of the race today.
This will certainly be a storyline to monitor throughout the following season and beyond, especially if the Milwaukee Bucks begin to sputter at any point. They enter the 2023-24 season among the East favorites–along with the Boston Celtics, 76ers, Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.
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