The question that consumed the NBA from the day the 2019-2020 season ended was if the reigning two-time MVP and Defensive Player of the Year would sign a supermax extension to stay with the Milwaukee Bucks. The first day he could sign came and went, and as days go on, the question looms. Here, we will look at three reasons why Giannis would sign an extension and three why he would not.
Reasons Why Giannis Will Sign
Reason #1- Regular Season Success
The Bucks have finished with the East’s best record in each of the past two seasons. Even before the free-agent moves and draft, the Bucks had one of the best rosters in the NBA. It had holes, but that roster went 56-17 and may have surpassed 60 wins had COVID not shut the season down. In 2018-2019, the Bucks won exactly 60 games before losing in the Eastern Conference Finals. If anything, this Bucks team will win a lot of games, giving Giannis a regular chance to make deep playoff runs.
Reason #2- His Teammates
If there is anything that everyone knows about Giannis as a person, is that he is fiercely loyal. Before Khris Middleton signing his own extension, it was Giannis talking in his ear telling him that the team needed him. In recent All-Star games in which Giannis has been a captain, he has picked Middleton before anyone else (after the starters were selected). His friendship with Pat Connaughton is well-documented on social media as well. Besides, the Bucks signed Giannis’ own brother, Thanasis, to a contract last season.
Reason #3- The New Pieces
We’ll talk about the Bogdon Bogdonovich drama in a bit but set that aside for now. The Bucks added Jrue Holiday, who is the best third option that Giannis has ever played with. The Bucks bet the future to land him, sending three first-round picks along with Eric Bledsoe and George Hill. While veterans Wes Matthews and Robin Lopez left, they have been replaced by places who are much better shooters and scorers.
Bryn Forbes, Bobby Portis, and DJ Augustine are all expected to come off of the bench, and each averaged double figures off the bench last season for their former teams. No Bucks bench player averaged double figures last season. While the roster will be smaller (14 players), they are a much deeper team in terms of talent. Giannis said he wants to play for a winning franchise, and the Bucks made the moves this offseason to ensure that he will.
Reasons Why Giannis Won’t Sign
Reason #1- The Bogdanovic Fiasco
To be clear, I do not think that the Bucks’ front office is entirely to blame for this. Bogdonovich, reportedly, was upset that the Bucks got Jrue Holiday because he did not want to be the fourth option and it would mean he would not get as much money. That being said, the entire ordeal was a very bad look for the front office.
Whether or not they leaked the reported deal is not known, but the black mark is still there. Even though the Bucks added some great pieces (as mentioned above), the event most people associate with this offseason is the failed Bogdonovich sign-and-trade. If that is what Giannis associates this offseason with as well, that could be a problem for the Bucks.
Reason #2- Playoff Failure
As mentioned earlier, the Bucks have been the best regular-season team in the NBA in terms of wins over the past two seasons. The playoffs, however, have not produced the results the team expected. In the 2018-2019 season, the 60-win Bucks were eliminated in the Eastern Conference Finals by the eventual champion Toronto Raptors.
Last year, they were upset by the Miami Heat in the second round. Giannis has won every individual award he could win. The only thing missing is a ring. If he does not feel the Bucks can shake their playoff woes, he will not sign an extension.
Reason #3- Usage
Giannis has put up some eye-popping stats over the past two seasons. He consistently flirts with 30 points and 13 rebounds on any given night. What is most amazing about these is that he is barely playing 30 minutes a game. Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer is notorious for load managing his starters, playing all-bench rotations for long stretches of time, and sometimes resting his starters during key moments in games.
When asked about this in the playoffs last year, Giannis said he feels like he can play more, but that the decision is up to coach Bud. That was the PC answer, but Giannis is a competitor; he wants to play. If he feels like he is being held back or not used correctly, he will search for a better situation for himself.