You can never lose if you’re literally not allowed to play. It is that factual truth, and the reality that Milwaukee still tenuously holds the best record in the entire NBA, that keeps me fueled.
It’s top of mind now more than ever even only a week and a half after the NBA season ground to a standstill. The league gave itself a 30 day timeline to assess their options and figure out how they can get things moving again. For now, given the varied responses from all levels of governance in the US, we can’t be sure what the outbreak’s timeline looks like. If flattening the curve works (and we dearly hope it does), the downside may be a recovery outlook that blows past the early summer. If that’s the case, the league will need to get creative to render a conclusion to this season.
There’s always the possibility that they decide to call things and chalk it up as a loss. We’ll be able to claim that we were the regular season champions, but I doubt any hardware would be coming to Milwaukee. Unsatisfying as it would be, at least we wouldn’t have to deal with the nightmare that could be the Bucks losing in the playoffs and ramping up speculation even more? I’m searching hard for silver linings here, folks.
NBA suspension ramifications: Max contracts, tax teams and transition rules (ESPN+ - Subscription Required)
This will be a topic that gets a lot of coverage from numerous outlets as the months drag on and the NBA/players union bargain a solution to a halted season, but if you want to get a jumpstart on the state of play, use this article to begin.
There’s plenty to consider: Moving contract guarantee dates, performance incentives now in jeopardy, when players/teams have to make decisions on option years, and most importantly just how far the cap will fall in 2020-2021. That last is critical as it will directly determine how much Giannis Antetokounmpo could be offered by the Bucks and the rest of the league should he decide to forgo an extension.
Previously, numbers getting thrown about assumed that the cap would jump to ~$125 million in 2021-2022 (when his extension would kick in) from the current $109.1 million and so his extension would be worth $253.8 million. Now, if that cap number stagnates and sits around $109 million, the most he can make over an extension with Milwaukee would be $221.5 million; that’s a loss of about $32 million in just the last week.
Critically, if the cap is stuck, other teams would be hamstrung with their offers as well; instead of a number breaking into the $200 million range, a flat cap in the summer of 2021 would result in an external max deal reaching just $140.8 million; a different of $80 million in Milwaukee’s favor.
What does it all mean? Your guess is as good as mine. Much will come down to what the league and players decide as a compromise to get through this year, and the numbers Bobby Marks of ESPN floated could adjust rapidly pending those decisions. In theory if the gap between Milwaukee’s offer and elsewhere is big enough it aids the Bucks, but $140 million is nothing to sneeze at for a growing icon like Giannis.
Why Giannis Antetokounmpo Is the NBA’s MVP If Season Doesn’t Resume (Bleacher Report)
Prior to the coronavirus-induced shutdown of the league, we were witnessing a mass exodus of media personalities and discussion away from Giannis Antetokounmpo to LeBron James. For literally no real reason at all (since there was a month left of the season), numerous folks were out there declaring fealty to James as the should-be MVP. Now that we’ve been forced to take a step back, hopefully there will be a chance for the wider discussion to reorient around the gaudy stats Giannis has been responsible for all season.
20 Giannis Plays From His Second Season That Showed Something (Bucks.com)
We’re going to be busy filling all of our lives with sports of bygone days, and Alex Boeder gets us off the on the best of feet with a 20-highlight package from Giannis’s sophomore year.
What I recall the most from that season was how obvious the leap was that he made after his rookie year. He’d already gone from nightly curio (in the best way possible) to a legitimate threat at any moment, though without the consistency we’ve come to know and love.
How the NBA coronavirus suspension impacts every team in the Eastern Conference (ESPN)
Nothing too crazy in regards to analysis here; the main takeaway is that teams will be able to get more healthy. For the Bucks the suspension came amid a bit of rough seas and gives them a reprieve to let Giannis rest that knee and allow for a little mid-season re-calibration. Assuming the season starts again, that is.
NBA Work Stoppage Complicates Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Future with Bucks (Bleacher Report)
Thought this was intriguing not from the perspective of fear-mongering — something large groups of commenters have been prone to this season — but wrapping around the idea of a likely significant drop in basketball revenue and thus the salary cap.
In theory, the league and players union may find it in their best interest to do some creative accounting and rule-writing to minimize the impact. They chose to let the vast influx of TV money slam league finances upwards in one go giving rise to the infamous ‘Sour (20)16’ contracts that hamstrung countless teams for three to four seasons afterwards. Would the NBA want a slam downwards to happen all at once? And if they did, how much would that reduce the size of the extension Milwaukee could offer to Giannis?
We’ll have more clarity in a few months, but if games aren’t set to pick back up until June in the most optimistic outcomes, who knows how far the ramifications will go.
The Social Media Section
Zaza Pachulia reached the apex of passing during this sequence
This has to be the best Bucks walkoff in my opinion what do you think @QTweetsMKE @TCIIIESQ pic.twitter.com/l1ieTXxODv— Dylan Piccolo (@DP__Hoops) March 22, 2020
The quarantine is bringing out the best in us all right now
quarantine day 11: made a mixtape of all of ersan's charges this season set to dave matthews saying "crash" from his 1996 hit single "crash into me" pic.twitter.com/5Ukk8vyKUX— jack (@jackhaveitall) March 21, 2020
Marques continues to be a role-model in every single way: Health, sanitation, and fashion
Salvy #StepUpToTheSink challenge accepted @StevePhysioc. Pass challenge on to @Paschketball @ZoraStephenson @stevenovak16 @PointForwardPro @KingJosiah54 @_JoshMarquez @AlexanderLasry pic.twitter.com/LLJa43rhjV— Marques Johnson (@olskool888) March 21, 2020
I’m actually playing for billions. Catch up, humanity
The Ilyasova clan is passing the quarantine time by inviting fisticuffs between family members
John Henson should get his jersey retired for this random sequence and this random sequence alone
We did our first podcast livestream yesterday, and it worked! We’ll be shooting for Sunday mornings at ~9:30 AM (CT) if you’re interested (how could you resist those beautiful faces?)
Anyways, I miss basketball. I know the site has been a little barren this past week, but I think everyone on the staff has been doing their bit of processing the whole situation, figuring out work/life things like everyone else, and is trying to refocus after the sudden close of the season.
The return of sport, whenever it is, will be welcomed with open arms by all.