FILE - Miami Heat's Goran Dragic, bottom left, Jae Crowder, top left, and Jimmy Butler (22) defend as Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) shoots during the first half of an NBA basketball conference semifinal playoff game inin Lake Buena Vista, Fla., in this Monday, Aug. 31, 2020, file photo. Bucks Khris Middleton, right rear, looks on. Having the NBA’s best regular-season record and the league’s MVP each of the last two years hasn’t paid off for the Bucks in the playoffs. They’re hoping an offseason overhaul of their roster will help them earn the title that has eluded this franchise since 1971 and make sure two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo stays in Milwaukee for years to come.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

Giannis Antetokounmpo agrees to extension with Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo agrees to extension with Bucks

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo has agreed to a supermax extension with the Milwaukee Bucks that takes the two-time reigning MVP off next summer’s free-agent market.

“I’m blessed to be a part of the Milwaukee Bucks for the next 5 years,” Antetokounmpo posted Tuesday on his social media platforms. The Bucks announced later in the day that Antetokounmpo had signed an extension without announcing the terms or length.

The 26-year-old Antetokounmpo had until Monday to sign the Bucks’ supermax extension offer. If he turned it down, Antetokounmpo could have become a free agent after the upcoming season.

The Athletic and Stadium reported that he agreed to a five-year extension worth $228 million that includes an opt-out clause in 2025.

“This is my home, this is my city,” Antetokounmpo said in his post on social media. “I’m blessed to be able to be a part of the Milwaukee Bucks for the next 5 years. Let’s make these years count. The show goes on, let’s get it.”

Bucks co-owners Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan said in a statement that “Giannis is a once in a generation player and we are beyond excited for him to remain with the Bucks.”

“This is a big moment for me and my family and I want to thank the Bucks organization for believing in us,” Antetokounmo said in a statement released by the team. “You took a chance on us eight years ago and now putting my signature on a contract like this is unreal – but it’s all because of hard work. This is my home and I’m going to continue working hard and do my best to make the Bucks, our fans and the city proud.”

His decision means the Bucks will hang on to their biggest star since Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who led Milwaukee to its lone NBA title in 1971, but demanded a trade and was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1975.

The Bucks paid a hefty price to revamp their roster this off-season in an attempt to persuade Antetokounmpo to stay. They dealt away guards Eric Bledsoe and George Hill, first-round draft pick R.J. Hampton and two more first-round selections as part of a package to acquire Jrue Holiday.

They also overhauled their bench by adding Bobby Portis, D.J. Augustin, Torrey Craig and Bryn Forbes. Antetokounmpo called those off-season moves “amazing” without indicating whether he planned to sign the extension.

“At the end of the day, the team is going to take care of what they’re going to do,” Antetokounmpo said last week. “Off the court, they tried to improve this team as much as possible. We’ve had the best regular-season team the last two years and that shows you that the team and the front office cares about improving the team every single year. Me, on the court, I’m going to try to improve individually and help my teammates improve, also.”

Despite that regular-season success, the Antetokounmpo-led Bucks have yet to reach the NBA Finals. Milwaukee lost a second-round series in five games to Miami last season, with Antetokounmpo missing most of Game 4 and all of Game 5 with a sprained right ankle. In 2019, the Bucks reached the Eastern Conference finals and took a 2-0 lead over eventual NBA champion Toronto before dropping four straight.

The Bucks understood the importance of Antetokounmpo’s decision to the future of the franchise. When Antetokounmpo celebrated his birthday on Dec. 6, each of his teammates jokingly gave him a pen as a present in hopes he’d use one to sign his extension.

After Antetokounmpo announced his decision, All-Star forward Khris Middleton tweeted to Bucks teammate Pat Connaughton: “I hope he uses the pens we all gave him!!”

Milwaukee selected Antetokounmpo out of Greece with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 draft. The 6-foot-11 “Greek Freak” has career averages of 20.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game.

Last season, he averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists while winning his second straight MVP award. He also was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year.

“His work ethic and desire to be the best epitomize what the Bucks stand for and what our future holds,” the Bucks co-owners said in their statement. “We thank Giannis and his family for their long-term commitment to Milwaukee and we look forward to many years of success. This is a momentous day for the Bucks, our fans and the state of Wisconsin.”

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Steve Megargee, The Associated Press

basketball

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