DALLAS - By CBA design, the Milwaukee Bucks have earned every inside track on Giannis Antetokounmpo, due to be an NBA free agent in the 2021 offseason and due this offseason for supermax contract extension.
But if "The Greek Freak'' says no to the latter issue, will it impact what the Bucks do about the former issue?
According to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, “multiple sources have emphatically said Milwaukee will not look to trade (him).” Meaning the Bucks will do their best to not panic - or at least to reveal to the NBA world their level of panic - should he decline a coming proposal that figures to be a five-year deal worth $230 million or so.
The logical truth: The Bucks will be Ducks - calm and elegant above the water but flapping like mad underneath.
Maybe nothing will really change, inasmuch as Antetokounmpo recently said he is not necessarily looking to move on from the Bucks despite another disappointing playoff finish. As we've written in this space before: The Bucks have not exactly done anything "wrong'' in building a contender here; they've finished with the best regular-season record in each of the past two seasons, and they've helped Antetokounmkpo become the league MVP both years.
READ MORE: Mavs 'First In Line for Giannis' - Report
And maybe Antetokounmpo will stay true to his bubble-time word about allegiance to Milwaukee.
“If winning a championship was easy, everyone would have one,” Antetokounmpo told Chris B. Haynes. “We lost. Everyone saw that we lost. It’s disappointing, but what are we going to do? We’re going to keep working. I’ve got confidence in my teammates.”
And yet ... there has been a slight erosion in public confidence about a long-term marriage. We've excitedly covered that in depth from a Mavs/Antetokounmpo angle. And erosion from a Bucks angle?
Consider that now they're saying that if he turns down the supermax, they won't panic. ... but that as recently as two months ago they expressed supreme confidence that he'd never do such a thing.
Via Eric Nehm and Sam Amick of The Athletic: "In terms of the reading of the proverbial room, a source with knowledge of the Bucks’ perspective said they’ve had confidence for quite some time now that Antetokounmpo would sign the supermax.
So first the Bucks said they were unworried, confident that Giannis would sign the supermax. And now the Bucks say they are unworried despite a lack of confidence that he'll sign the supermax.
That sounds like an ever-so-slight slippage in confidence ... opening up ever-so-slightly the idea of bidders like the Mavs staying on the case.