The deal is for less than Antetokounmpo's maximum and allows the Bucks to retain their designated-player distinction. ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst noted that Antetokounmpo was willing to take less than the max to ensure the Bucks retain their young core.
Given Antetokounmpo's ascent to near-stardom and Milwaukee's penchant for needing to overpay players, this is nothing short of a win. NBA writer Sean Highkin complimented the move:
The 21-year-old averaged 16.9 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game in 2015-16. Still developing as a shooter, Antetokounmpo found a home as a two-way tour de force when he became a primary ball-handler. He recorded five triple-doubles after the All-Star break, more than all but three players had the entire season (Russell Westbrook, Draymond Green and Rajon Rondo).
"My confidence right now is really high," Antetokounmpo said in March, per Steve Aschburner of NBA.com. "When I look at myself when I came in as a rookie and how I feel right now, it's amazing. It's a big difference. So I can't imagine how I will feel in two years. I can't wait for the future."
According to NBA.com, the Bucks averaged 105.1 points per 100 possessions in March, by far their best rate of the season, as Antetokounmpo ran the point. They cratered a bit in a small April sample, but it's clear that head coach Jason Kidd was pleased with the results.
"We're going to go forward with him [Giannis] handling the ball," Kidd said in March, per Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "You can call him point guard, point forward, point center. ... With him having the ball and the pressure he puts on the defense and his ability to find guys, it's been a plus for us."
The Bucks splurged on Matthew Dellavedova and added Jason Terry in free agency, so plans may have changed. With Michael Carter-Williams' return from injury, it's likely Antetokounmpo will wind up seeing more time off the ball than Kidd indicated. Dellavedova and Terry can play off the ball, though, so it's possible Antetokounmpo will run the point on some second units.
The deal makes him the first nine-figure player in Bucks franchise history. Selected based on some grainy film from Greece and unlimited potential for his size, Antetokounmpo has exceeded every possible expectation.
He and C.J. McCollum have established themselves as the best players from a weak 2013 draft class, so it's only right that they've received extensions. McCollum inked a $106 million deal with the Portland Trail Blazers in July.
Teams have until Oct. 31 to sign players from the class of 2013 to extensions, or they will become restricted free agents this summer.
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