Giannis and the Bucks are Headed For a Year of NBA Purgatory

By Stephen Douglas
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Miami Heat.
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Miami Heat. / Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
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The Milwaukee Bucks' season is over and now Giannis Antetokounmpo is one season closer to free agency. If Milwaukee is unable to lock Giannis down with a supermax extension soon, it is going to be a very long year. No matter how many times he says the right things. Following the Bucks' playoff exit, Giannis has no plans to leave, saying "It's not happening. That's not happening." Via Yahoo!:

"“Some see a wall and go in [another direction]. I plow through it. We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season.”"

That's great news for the Bucks and horrible news for any opposing defense that builds a metaphorical wall to stop Giannis. Ownership even seems confident they're in a good position to keep their star.

But none of that is a signature on a contract that will keep him in Milwaukee into his 30s. Until that extension is signed, the Bucks are held hostage by uncertainty. Marc Stein reported that the Bucks are going to look into trading for Chris Paul, but that will be an incredible financial commitment. Paul is due to make $41 million whenever the '20-'21 season takes place and another $44 million the following year. No matter who the Bucks gave away to get Paul, they would be stuck paying the luxury tax

The Bucks have not been super willing to do that in the past. Of course, they've only been a real contender who should be willing to pay the tax for two years now. They have said that they would pay the tax for the right player, but Paul combined with a Giannis extension and Khris Middleton making $33 million would result in a serious tax payment. If Milwaukee doesn't have an agreement with Giannis, it's unclear how they could risk paying CP3 so much money at 37-years-old.

It's the same thing that the Cavaliers went through with LeBron as he signed one-year deals in his last run with the Cavs. The team will have to balance winning at the highest level now, while preparing for a future where Giannis is wearing a different jersey.

Every day that Giannis doesn't sign will result in a new round of rumors about some other franchise who is willing to pay whatever it takes to get Giannis Antetokounmpo in his prime. It doesn't matter how many times Giannis says he's not going anywhere. Until he signs that extension, the Bucks are in basketball purgatory.

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