Milwaukee star: ‘It’s not the right time’
Starting September 22, Giannis Antetokounmpo would have the opportunity to sign a contract extension with the Milwaukee Bucks, tying himself to the franchise that chose him a decade ago for another three years for a total of 173 million dollars. An opportunity which, however, Antetokounmpo himself – absent from the 2023 World Cup after the no to Greece – has already made it clear that he does not want to explore for at least another twelve months: on the strength of an agreement for potentially three years (the season which is about to begin at 45.6 million dollars and the next one at 48.7 million are guaranteed, while the 2025-26 one at 51.9 million is in player option), the two-time MVP clearly said that signing now “would not make sense from a financial point of view”. “Next summer would make more sense for both sides. But even then, I’m not sure what will happen,” he said in an interview with the New York Times, explaining the reasons for his doubts.
“I wouldn’t be the best version of myself if I didn’t know that everyone is on the same wavelength, everyone wants to aim for the title, everyone is ready to sacrifice time away from their families like I do. What if I don’t hear all these things, then I won’t sign”. After a ten-year career in which Antetokounmpo has become a global star and understood the power he can have over the franchise, clearly expressing what he thought of him at the age of 30:
“I still think that all my teammates and the organization know that I want to win the title. As long as we are on the same page and show me that they want to keep winning, I’m fine with that. But as soon as I hear that the organization wants to rebuild…there will never be bad relations with the Milwaukee Bucks. We had an incredible 10 years and there is no doubt I gave everything for the city of Milwaukee. I bleed green, this is my team and always will be. Don’t I forget who was there for me and allowed me to show who I am to the world. But we have to win another title.”
Antetokounmpo also reiterated his desire to do like Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki by spending his entire career with just one franchise, but the condition for that to happen is very clear: “The goal is always to be a winner, so winning the title comes first I don’t want to spend 20 years with the same team and not win another ring.” The message couldn’t be clearer than that.
It’s not the first time Antetokounmpo has questioned his future in Wisconsin. Even in November 2021, after the title won in the final against the Phoenix Suns, he expressed some perplexity in an interview: “The challenge was to win a title here, and we succeeded. It was very, very difficult. But I love a challenge. What’s next? The next one might not be here. My family and I chose to stay in this city that we love and that has taken care of us — for now. Within two years, the that could change. I want to be completely honest, as I always am.”
The Bucks, after the disappointing first round elimination at the hands of the Miami Heat, will return next year again with a competitive team after the confirmations of Brook Lopez and Khris Middleton in the summer, with new head coach Adrian Griffin on the bench in place of Mike Budenholzer.