Milwaukee Bucks: Don’t be concerned about Giannis’ future in Milwaukee

DALLAS, TEXAS - OCTOBER 11: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks during a preseason game at American Airlines Center on October 11, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TEXAS - OCTOBER 11: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks during a preseason game at American Airlines Center on October 11, 2019 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The recipe for sustained success for the Milwaukee Bucks is predicated around retaining their young superstar with a supermax deal. Of course, until that happens, rumors of him seeking employment elsewhere are inevitable.

A Milwaukee Bucks fan’s absolute nightmare almost certainly revolves around waking up to the news that Giannis Antetokounmpo has signed with or been traded to another team. It would be devastating to a fanbase who has gotten to see the “Greek Freak” blossom into the league’s Most Valuable Player.

As Giannis has moved closer to the end of his current contract, the voices outside of Milwaukee wondering whether he will take his talents to another team have only grown louder. Today, news of a study that contained a potentially ominous quote from Giannis will only add fuel to those rumors.

It’s important to consider the context of the quote. The quote, that, “if we’re underperforming in the NBA next year, deciding whether to sign becomes a lot more difficult,” came from a study by a Harvard professor who was looking at whether a small-market team like Milwaukee would be able to retain a big-time superstar like Giannis. Also important is what else was said before that.

In addition to the quote referenced in the article’s headline, the piece also mentions that Giannis was quoted as saying, “I want the Bucks to build a winning culture.” They also quote him as saying, “So far, we have been doing great, and, if this lasts, there’s no other place I want to be.”

While the scarier of the quotes that’s been circulating may be alarming at first glance, none of this is really any different than what Giannis has expressed in the past. He has continuously stated that as long as the team is competitive and/or successful, committed to winning, and making moves to reach the ultimate goal of winning an NBA championship, he will want to stay.

So then the question is, what Giannis would consider to be successful? The Milwaukee Bucks took a huge step toward that ultimate goal when they reached their first Eastern Conference Finals since ’00-’01, losing in six games to the eventual champion Toronto Raptors. Does that mean that a five-game ECF or less makes Giannis walk?

I don’t think it’s quite that simple. What if the Bucks make it to the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but say Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez suffer injuries and the shorthanded Bucks go down in seven? Does that all of a sudden mean that Giannis joins LeBron James in Los Angeles?

It’s obviously not a completely unthinkable concept that Giannis could make the decision to sign with another team when the time comes. Crazier things have happened. But I tend to take him at his word when he says that he wants to stay as long as the Bucks continue on their current path.

Based on his previous comments, it truly seems like Giannis’ measure of “success” isn’t just about how far they make it in the playoffs, but also about proving that they are committed to making Giannis an NBA champion. Everything that I’ve seen from General Manager Jon Horst sure looks like he won’t stop until that happens.

Bottom line, I don’t think Giannis saying that the team underperforming makes his decision to stay “a lot more difficult” is that big of a deal because it’s not really any different than what he’s led us to believe up to this point. Plus, based on the last few years, why would we think that this team won’t just continue to keep getting better and better, which is exactly what would keep him here.

Next. Milwaukee Bucks have a golden opportunity. dark

All I know is that the man likes Milwaukee, the team keeps improving year after year, and they keep making moves to continue that improvement. It sounds like a recipe for a long-term Milwaukee Bucks deal to me.