Despite all the speculation of him leaving as a free agent in the upcoming offseason, or requesting a trade, Giannis Antetokounmpo has decided to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks. On Tuesday night, Giannis signed the Super Max extension which is worth $228.2 million over the course of the next 5 years. This will make him the highest paid player in the league and keep him locked up in Milwaukee for the foreseeable future. This move will have a significant impact on not just Milwaukee, but the rest of the teams in the NBA.
For Milwaukee, this is obviously a major victory. Being able to retain a two time MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in their prime is worth it no matter what the cost is. Giannis has the potential to become the best player in the league and having a player of that caliber would be huge for any team. Regardless of who else the Bucks bring in, they will be competitive for the next five years.
It is also huge for them as it is extremely difficult for small market teams like them to get these superstar players. They have to rely on drafting and trading for star players, as free agents often won’t flock to Milwaukee if they have a choice. Big market teams like the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat can make more mistakes in drafts and trades, but still have the ability to lure players to their big market city through free agency. The Bucks have proved that small market teams can attract and retain star players. Now they must build a team that is good enough around Giannis to help him get to the Finals.
Getting this extension done before next year’s free agency period relieves both the organization and the players of a lot of stress. They no longer have to worry the whole season if Giannis is going to leave or be constantly nagged by the media about Giannis’ contract situation. Instead, this contract prevents a lot of drama from happening during the season and allows the players to focus on playing basketball at the highest level they can which will certainly help them this year.
A lot of other teams were significantly affected by this signing as well. The main teams affected are the Eastern Conference playoff teams who are now almost guaranteed to have to deal with Giannis in the postseason. The Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors, Brooklyn Nets, and the aforementioned Miami Heat will have to continuously go against him for the next couple of years. This makes the path to a championship that much harder for these teams as they will have to go up against a generational talent in the playoffs almost every postseason.
Teams that were going to try and sign or trade for Giannis were also impacted by this deal. The Raptors and Heat, along with the Golden State Warriors, were already lining up to get a shot at the two time MVP, but that opportunity is no longer there. These teams will have to find another way to improve their team, while also game planning for Giannis in the future, as he has made it clear to the world that he plans to stay in Milwaukee for a long time. The Milwaukee Bucks have put themselves in an enviable position, and now is their time to capitalize and make a run for a championship.