For a small market team like the Milwaukee Bucks, having possibly the next face of the NBA is a gift better than anything they could have dreamed. Yet while the team and coaching staff are steading themselves for this year's race towards the NBA finals, Milwaukee's front office is already fixated on how much money they need to spend to keep Giannis Antetokounmpo in town.
On Wednesday, Sports Illustrated's Chris Ballard published an article in which the Bucks General Manager, Jon Horst, claims that they are already structuring Giannis' next contract despite the Greek Freak having another two more seasons left on his current deal.
"We think about it strategically every day," Horst told Ballard. Ballard then went on to explain that the Bucks' front office is hoping to pattern themselves after franchises like the Spurs, who built championship caliber teams by luring a top-notch supporting cast to compliment their star. This was done by using the small-market to their advantage. Because most role players are willing to take pay cuts to play in cities like Miami, Los Angeles, or New York, the Bucks feel like they can offer more money while branding these often-overlooked pillars as stars themselves. Also, they want to incorporate the Warriors and Spurs' legendary cultures to entice Antetokounmpo to chose the Bucks over brighter lights.
Despite all of Horst's elaborate plans, fans know that the best way to keep a player of Antetokounmpo's calibre happy is to keep doing what it takes to win. So far, the Bucks have been doing a great job at putting Ws on the board. Not only are they sitting atop the Eastern Conference, but they are also boasting the league's best record. As a result, Antetokounmpo has had nothing but praise for both the Bucks and coach Mike Budenholzer, on his way to a likely MVP season.
"So far, Giannis has said he loves Milwaukee and shows little interest in, as [head coach Mike Budenholzer] puts it, 'all that bulls--t and fame,'" Ballard wrote.