We heard that Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and owner Marc Lasry met on Saturday. We got whiffs of appetizers, details that were as vague as they were useless, and today ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski delivered the main course...or at least alluded to the existence of it, even if the plate placed upon the table was bare.
ESPN Sources: MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo's 3-hour lunch with Bucks co-owner/governor Marc Lasry on Friday covered the season, how Bucks can improve roster, Lasry confirming willingness to spend into luxury tax and agreement they’ll talk again after Giannis returns from a vacation.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 14, 2020
Translation: star player upset about team not winning in the playoffs talks to person responsible for making decisions that can improve team. This is not groundbreaking news, but it is at least a sign that the franchise is taking this offseason seriously (duh!) by not letting too much time go by.
That’s really all we have, given how unique the circumstances were for the 2019-20 season and postseason. Even though it wasn’t Lasry himself on the record, seeing a report from a reputable source like Woj stating that ownership is willing to spend above the luxury tax in order to achieve success (and thus retain Giannis long-term) is probably the most reassuring takeaway for Bucks fans. After all, it allows us to unleash our imaginations on what such a spending spree might bring in...
what marc lasry promised giannis in their three hour meeting: pic.twitter.com/zBDAUL5JK8— alex (@steven_lebron) September 14, 2020
It’s going to be a long offseason. There’s going to tons of rumors, mostly unsubstantiated, and knowing the path forward for the Bucks is as hard as predicting when coronavirus will finally be under control. Until then, keep trying out the trade machine and see how the Bucks might transform themselves ahead of next season. Tell us what you think the team ought to do in the comments! There’s a long road ahead; we’re all in this together.
ESPN Sources: In a three-hour lunch meeting, Bucks co-owner and governor Marc Lasry made it clear to MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo that the franchise plans to spend into the luxury tax to try and deliver him a championship supporting cast: https://t.co/xA6kK8JODg— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) September 14, 2020
UPDATE: In the article posted on ESPN, Woj also confirms reports what we heard elsewhere, that head coach Mike Budenholzer’s job is indeed safe. The language used in the article is very specific and points the team in the right direction:
Milwaukee plans to bring back coach Mike Budenholzer, sources said, and he will work with general manager Jon Horst and ownership on reshaping a Bucks roster that has played better basketball in the past two regular seasons than it has in the playoffs.
This demonstrates an acute awareness of the difference in regular season performance and postseason performance, and the major players (Coach Bud, Horst, ownership, and Giannis) all appear to be on the same page. We may not get any specifics about the details of the Bucks’ plan from this point on, but everyone seems to have agreed on what the approach will be, what’s on the table (spending on player salary, not allowing the salary cap to be a constraint, trade options, etc.) and what’s not (replacing Bud or preemptively trading Giannis, which would be unthinkably foolish). This is, in a word, progress.