NBA

Bucks teammates got Giannis Antetokounmpo pens for his birthday to encourage him to sign extension

The new NBA season is only a few weeks away, but games are the furthest thing from anyone’s mind in Milwaukee. From fans to Bucks players to front office executives, everyone is wondering whether or not the reigning back-to-back MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, will sign his supermax extension. 

In order to try and nudge him in the right direction, Khris Middleton and Pat Connaughton came up with a creative birthday gift: pens. The duo left them in Giannis’ locker on what was his 26th birthday on Sunday. Via ESPN:

“We definitely sung a ‘Happy Birthday’ after practice. Me and PC thought the perfect gift to him from our teammates is just to give him a pen,” Middleton said. “So there were pens in his locker for his birthday present. I told him those should be some of the best birthday gifts he’s ever gotten, so hopefully he enjoys it and uses it.”

Giannis has until Dec. 21 to sign his extension, which would be worth $228 million over five years. Reports late last month indicated that despite the team’s offseason not going to plan, they were still optimistic that he would sign, but he hasn’t done so yet and the clock is ticking. If he doesn’t use those new pens by the deadline, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent next summer. 

After agreeing to a blockbuster trade with the New Orleans Pelicans for Jrue Holiday, the Bucks thought they had another deal in place with the Sacramento Kings that would have seen them acquire Bogdan Bogdanovic. Adding those two would have been a significant upgrade, but the Bogdanovic move fell apart and they had to pivot and signed a number of veteran bench players who aren’t quite as exciting. 

While they still did pretty well overall, the sting of losing Bogdanovic — reportedly Giannis’ top target this offseason — is hard to forget when the stakes are this high. If Giannis re-signs, the Bucks will be locked in as title contenders for the foreseeable future. Which is why, joke gifts aside, Middleton has made it clear to Giannis how he feels. 

“He knows that I deeply want him to return and sign this extension,” Middleton said earlier this offseason. “But at the same time, I know he’s got a big decision that he’s got to work through himself and with his family at home because those are the most important people. Whatever he does, he knows that I’ll support him to the fullest, so I’ve talked to him. I give him my two cents and my opinion or try to convince him, but at the end of the day, I’m going to always love him and appreciate whatever he has to do.”



 

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