Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo signed a four-year, $100 million extension with the franchise in 2016, and can’t enter the open market until 2021 when he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
When he does become a free agent, one former NBA general manager strongly believes The Greek Freak will leave Milwaukee for a big-market team.
“It’s tough for small-market teams,” the former GM told Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype. “There’s no way in hell that Giannis Antetokounmpo is staying in Milwaukee for his second deal. I would bet everything I own that Giannis leaves Milwaukee.”
Pretty bold statements by the anonymous GM, considering Antetokounmpo has been very open about how he loves playing in Milwaukee due to its low-profile atmosphere. The city of Milwaukee has embraced Antetokounmpo since day one, and he appreciates the love and privacy the fans show him. It’s one of the main reasons Antetokounmpo calls Milwaukee “home.”
Last season, the NBA All-Star game was in Los Angeles, and Antetokounmpo was on team Stephen Curry. When the Bucks conducted their first practice after the All-Star break, Antetokounmpo told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel the L.A. lifestyle doesn’t suit him at all.
“I could never see myself being out there [in LA],” Antetokounmpo said. “It’s great for two, three days but it’s a little bit — things are going a little bit crazy. Of course, because of the All-Star Game, there was a lot of people there. In Milwaukee — I love Milwaukee — it’s low-key. I can walk down the road, down the streets without anybody bugging me — nobody interrupts my conversation or anything. I love how quiet and calm Milwaukee is.”
Now that LeBron James is in the Western Conference, Antetokounmpo is regarded by many as the best player in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks’ franchise cornerstone averaged 26.9 points, 10.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game last season while shooting 52.9 percent from the field, 30.7 percent from 3, and 76.0 percent from the free-throw line.
The Bucks were the eighth seed in the East in 2017-18 and lost to the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2018 playoffs. Milwaukee hired former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer and is hoping he can take the club to the next level with his innovative offense.