Now that Bogdan Bogdanovic is a member of the Atlanta Hawks and the Milwaukee Bucks turned a different direction to fill out their bench, a partnership between Bogdanovic and Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee seems almost like a distant memory. But several hiccups happened between the agreement Milwaukee came to with Sacramento on a sign-and-trade for Bogdanovic and the deal falling apart, all of which are now reportedly giving executives in Milwaukee pause over the back-to-back MVP’s future.
All of it is detailed in a new story from Jake Fischer at Bleacher Report, which takes us inside the negotiations and fallout of the Milwaukee-Sacramento deal that would have sent Bogdanovic to the Bucks in exchange for Donte DiVincenzo and some other goodies. All along, Fischer reports, Bogdanovic was the most prized target — even more than Jrue Holiday — for Antetokounmpo, as he and his brother Thanasis had tried to recruit Bogdanovic during the offseason.
Aside from the obvious spacing Bogdanovic’s shooting would provide Milwaukee’s offense, Giannis admired his fellow European’s toughness and swagger, sources said. He viewed Bogdanovic as someone you could go to war with in the postseason.
Antetokounmpo grew increasingly focused on teaming with Bogdanovic. The Sacramento guard quickly presented Milwaukee’s greatest option as the Bucks dealt with a hamstrung cap sheet and limited trade assets.
Once the Bucks came to an agreement with the Kings late last Monday night, Antetokounmpo was reportedly thrilled. After all, the main reason for anything Milwaukee has done the past several years is to increase the likelihood that Antetokounmpo signs a designated veteran extension, or “supermax,” and stays in the midwest. Nabbing Antetokounmpo’s chosen target would obviously go a long way toward keeping him happy. When the deal fell apart, the Bucks recoiled.
More from Fischer:
When word arrived last week of the Bucks’ Monday night coup—agreeing in principle to acquire both Jrue Holiday and Bogdanovic in the waning hours of the league’s renewed transaction window—there was an overwhelming sense around the organization, and people with knowledge of Antetokounmpo’s thinking, that he would accept the Bucks’ supermax extension offer—the ultimate objective of the franchise’s 2020 offseason.
There has since been a categorical step back in that confidence, even if Antetokounmpo does ultimately accept the franchise’s offer of a five-year, $228 million supermax extension.
There’s more to the story, including how some team governors who believed the Bucks’ Marc Lasry to be bragging during a Board of Governors meeting last week, as well as details on why Bogdanovic believed he could not move forward with the Bucks out of fear the league would prevent the deal from going through after the first version fell apart.
Depending on how Milwaukee performs in 2021, this could all be a peculiar stepping stone or a definitive flashpoint between Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.