Report: Bucks will spend to satisfy Antetokounmpo

Milwaukee Bucks co-owner Marc Lasry promised superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo that the team will spend big to put championship-caliber players around him, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday.

Lasry and Antetokounmpo met Friday in Milwaukee. The team opened the 2019-20 season with aspirations of bringing an NBA title to Milwaukee for the first time since 1971 and posted the NBA’s best record but were eliminated by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals in five games.

Wojnarowski said Lasry expressed the franchise’s willingness to pay a luxury tax to keep Antetokounmpo, 25, and build around him.

Agreeing to an extension with the reigning league MVP, who is under contract with the Bucks through the end of next season, is the priority for the Bucks, but Wojnarowski said management recognizes it will take more than a big deal to keep him in Milwaukee. Lasry and Antetokounmpo talked about the Bucks’ unfulfilled season and potential “personnel upgrades,” he reported.

Milwaukee can offer Antetokounmpo a five-year supermax deal that Wojnarowski estimated will be worth between $220 million and $250 million, depending on the yet-to-be-determined salary cap.

The two sides are expected to talk again after Antetokounmpo returns from vacation.

A sprained ankle hampered Antetokounmpo against the Heat, a disappointing finish to what otherwise was a stellar season that could culminate in a second straight MVP award.

In 63 regular-season games, he averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists. His numbers in nine playoff games were remarkably similar: 26.7 points, 13.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists. He was named the Defensive Player of the Year and is heavily favored to repeat as league MVP.