Dec 16, 2020 - Sports

NBA contracts reign supreme with Giannis Antetokounmpo's megadeal

Data: Spotrac; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Giannis Antetokounmpo has signed a five-year, $228.2 million extension to continue playing for the Milwaukee Bucks — the largest contract in NBA history by both total and average annual value.

Why it matters: Teams have been positioning themselves for a run at Antetokounmpo for months amid rumblings that the Greek superstar, a year from free agency, might test the market next summer.

  • Now, the biggest piece is off the board, and the small-market Bucks should remain title contenders for the foreseeable future.
  • Plus, it's the rare NBA deal in which a superstar stuck with the team that found and developed him.

The big picture: This offseason was laden with huge NBA contracts, pushing the active number of deals with an average annual value (AAV) of at least $20 million to 60 — by far the most of the major North American sports leagues.

  • MLB has 35 such contracts, from Hyun-Jin Ryu's deal with Toronto (four years, $80 million) to Mike Trout's behemoth Angels contract (12 years, $426.5 million). Highest AAV? Yankees ace Gerrit Cole at $36 million per year.
  • The NFL has 30, from Chiefs DT Chris Jones (four years, $80 million) to his teammate, the league's richest man, Patrick Mahomes (10 years, $450 million).
  • The NHL has no contracts worth more than $12.5 million annually (Connor McDavid; eight years, $100 million) or $124 million total (Alex Ovechkin; 13 years, with one remaining).


  • QBs get paid: The top 11 NFL contracts by AAV belong to QBs. Cardinals WR DeAndre Hopkins has the highest AAV ($27.3 million) of any non-QB.
  • NFL caveat: Football money is not fully guaranteed. For example, Deshaun Watson is guaranteed just under half of his $156 million deal ($74.9 million).
  • LeBron's savvy: None of the King's contracts blow you away from a total value perspective because he's shrewdly maximized earnings and flexibility by signing short-term deals.

Looking ahead: Antetokounmpo coming off the board means next year's free agent class features ... basically nobody.

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