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GIANNIS AINT LEAVING! The Bucks Re-Sign Their Franchise Star For Five Years, $228 MILLION

There are two ways to look at this. One - the Milwaukee Bucks did the impossible and managed to retain the reigning back-to-back MVP, keeping them atop the Eastern Conference as contenders to win it all for the next six years. 

OR

NBA contracts don't mean shit any more. Giannis got his money and now he can dictate wherever he wants to play. He's had Milwaukee by the balls this entire time and they had to sign him rather than lose him for nothing at season's end.

The latter is where a lot of casual NBA fans' minds immediately go. James Harden is three years out from free agency and he's currently demanding a change of scenery. Stars have not stayed put ever since The Decision. This is very much a player run League. If they want to strike, they'll walk off the court. If they want to team up together, they'll ask Sam Presti to be traded to Los Angeles so that they can play with Kawhi and their other pals. Don't like a coach? They're fucking gone. Team rivalries of yesteryear have waned. And even with all that in mind... Damian Lillard gets called an underachieving Soundcloud rapper for not doing the same shit as everyone else and sticking with Portland despite greener pastures available. 

The former is what I believe actually happened here. I thought there was an outside chance Giannis would leave and go to one specific team - Dallas. I never bought the Miami or Los Angeles shit with him. Dallas with Luka made all the sense in the world. But, Dallas would mean Giannis was playing second fiddle to Luka. Yes, the two-time MVP would be second on that team to the up-and-coming face of the League. But that's irrelevant now. 

Five years, $228 million. And, maybe I'm being naive, I think he plays it out. I genuinely believe Giannis plays his entire career with the Bucks. I think he's going to be this generation's Dirk: an undeniable top 10 player in the League for the vast majority of his career, some questionable early exits in the postseason, and finally, one year, it will all fall into place and end with a ring. Maybe Giannis is lucky more than once, I can't call it. But that doesn't matter right now.

This is great for the League. You don't need stars in major markets to sell the League. This isn't the David Stern era. Giannis is a global figure. Luka is global. LeBron is global. A star actually staying with the team who drafted him, not taking the easy way out and latching on to a prettier situation with a ready-made contender, is good for everyone longterm. Player movement hasn't killed the NBA like certain talking heads want you to believe, but there does come a point where you wonder why certain teams even exist if they only serve to be feeder systems for Miami and Los Angeles. 

I'm genuinely happy for the Bucks. Not like, super happy, since I am a Celtics fan and they're directly in our fucking way immediately after LeBron finally left the East. That part doesn't make me happy at all come to think of it. But as an NBA fan, going way back, the franchise that drafted Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and had to watch a top three basketball player of all time rack up title after title for the Lakers doesn't have to watch history repeat itself here. We live in the RINGZ era where that appears to be the only thing that matters, but I hope Bucks fans relish in today. Keep expectations high, demand excellence of your team, but today is a gigantic win. Soak it in. You've been living in a state of fear for 18-months now as the rest of the NBA speculated about Giannis with the Warriors or the Heat or the Lakers. Exhale, revel in that sigh of relief, and then buckle the fuck in for the next six years.