Some guys like free agency because it is a chance for suitors to wine and dine them, to tell them just how special they are, and how important they’ll be to the Sacramento faithful showing up to a February Tuesday night game in another lost season. Not Thanasis Antetokounmpo — he’s all business. He has reportedly exercised his $1.88 million player option for the 2022-2023 season:
Sources: Milwaukee Bucks forward Thanasis Antetokounmpo has exercised his $1.88 million player option for the 2022-23 season, @hoopshype has learned.— Michael Scotto (@MikeAScotto) June 18, 2022
Antetokounmpo, famously mistaken as Giannis Antetokounmpo’s younger brother on every national TV broadcast the Bucks appear on, had signed a two-year, $3.6 million deal following Milwaukee’s 2021 title win. Opting in will bring his total earnings with the team since joining in 2019 up to about $4.7 million. More hilariously, this will give Milwaukee Thanasis’s full Bird Rights in case he and Giannis decide ownership should pay him something more than the minimum after next season.
He’s appeared in 125 games as a Buck, and this past year he averaged 9.9 minutes per game in 48 games, notching a career-high in scoring at 3.6 points per game (with spilts of .547/.143/.630).
The value of Thanasis, of course, lies not in anything he’ll ever actually do on the court, but in his role as the actual coach of the team. Go back and watch any Bucks game this past season and ask who spends more time standing at midcourt just screaming: Mike Budenholzer or Thanasis? A guy like Sandro Mamukelashvili will successfully dribble for two seconds and Thanasis looks like he just witnessed the team win another title. There’s a saying in the NBA that there are 82 game players and 16 game players; Thanasis is a 98 game player — riding that fine line between passionate support and psychosis like the rest of us.
Still, he remains a showman at heart. He has almost no technical skill, questionable court awareness on both ends of the floor, is built like a tank, and would lead the league in errors if that was a stat basketball tracked. Instead, every second spent on the court is all gas, no brakes, and a stupefying number dump-off dunks:
And boy did he have some highlights during that ECSF Nets series we almost lost like 500 times:
He’ll turn 30 in July and will be here until he retires.