Giannis Antetokounmpo is staying home in Milwaukee.
He’s getting well paid to do so — $228.2 million over five years, the richest contract in NBA history — but having the two-time MVP on the roster is a big win for the Bucks and keeps them as contenders for years to come.
Miami was one of the rumored destinations for Antetokounmpo (even though he said if he left Milwaukee he was no drawn to Miami or Los Angeles) but Heat star Jimmy Butler said he was happy to see the Greek Freak staying with the Bucks because he wants to be challenged by the best (via Local 10 news in Miami).
“I like it,” Butler said. “I don’t think you can go around him. I don’t think you can go around LeBron either. You have to go right through them. You have to beat them. You also have to beat the Sixers, Boston, Toronto. There’s a lot of squads in the East with some really good players. Doesn’t intimidate me none. I actually get excited for it. I want to go up against the best, my guys want to go up against the best. That’s our way to show we belong. That’s how we get our respect.”
LeBron James — who jumped from Cleveland to Miami to Cleveland to Los Angeles in his career — said he and Giannis are in different places and made different decisions, but LeBron is happy for him.
“I don’t know if I can relate to his situation. All of our situations are different. Totally different. They tried to build something great for him, and they obviously did enough to keep him there. I think it’s great that he’s staying there, that he’s committed to that franchise.”
That “it’s great for him to stay in this smaller market” reaction has been the most common one around the league Tuesday — players, in particular, never question a guy grabbing the bag (no matter what sport they play).
Giannis made the right decision by getting his lettuce and staying in Milwaukee. Salute @Giannis_An34 💯💪🏾
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) December 15, 2020
Now Antetokounmpo needs to get to work and reward the Bucks and their fans with the franchise’s first title since 1971.