In the winter of 2016, the NBA, with assistance from the players association, dreamed up and implemented the supermax contract. A vehicle designed to give teams an advantage in the battle to retain homegrown superstars – offering more years and more money than the rest of the league.
To this point, the supermax has been a super-failure.
In 2018, guard Kawhi Leonard ignored a supermax offer from the San Antonio Spurs and was traded to the Toronto Raptors. Leonard then passed on a 5-year, $190-million dollar opportunity for fewer years and less money from the Los Angeles Clippers.
In 2019, forward Anthony Davis ignored a $200-million dollar offer and publicly demanded a trade from New Orleans to the large market Lakers.
To this point, the sparkle of a 5-year supermax contract has not been enough to sway MVP candidates to stay put.
That is about to change.
Milwaukee Bucks two-time MVP forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has until end of day December 21st to sign a supermax contract worth roughly $225-million dollars over five years.
Unlike Leonard and Davis, the bright lights of tinsel town are of no interest to Giannis, and Giannis will not demand to be traded.
Decades of history suggest otherwise, but the small market will win in this instance. Giannis’s number-1 goal is to win an NBA championship; and he would prefer to do so in Milwaukee.