At least the fans of the Milwaukee Bucks can say that the Haslems are not cheapskates. Last spring, Jimmy and Dee bought their way into the NBA by acquiring the former franchise co-owner Marc Lasry’s stake. Since then, two head coaches of the Bucks have been fired, and their latest addition is one of the most well-known veterans of the NBA – Doc Rivers.
He won’t be in the booth with Mike Breen and Doris Burke during the 2024 NBA Finals. Instead, he will be aiming to lead the Bucks to the franchise’s second NBA championship. Rivers will do this while continuing to build generational wealth. Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that his contract with the Bucks runs until the 2026/27 season and will bring in about $40 million while the Bucks still owe money to Mike Budenholzer and the recently-fired Adrian Griffin for the next three and a half years.
For those who thought Deshaun Watson’s fully guaranteed contract was the extent of the Haslems‘ generosity: they decided to take him from the NFL to the NBA. Unlike Watson’s completely unnecessary contract, at least these coaching payouts will not increase the pressure on the Bucks‘ salary cap. They are among the teams whose player salaries exceed the dreaded „second floor.“
Giannis Antetokounmpo has thrown down the gauntlet in the offseason. If the Haslems wanted one of the greatest players in NBA history to be part of their new business ventures, it was not an option to be short on funds. Antetokounmpo appeared on a podcast of the Bleav Network in September and said: „If there’s a better situation out there for me to win the Larry O’Brien, I’ve gotta take that situation.“
Two weeks after this interview, the Bucks traded for Damian Lillard. A team with the second-best record in the NBA has decided to swallow the salaries of three head coaches by firing its new head coach mid-season and then hiring a high-profile replacement. This new partnership between the Haslems and Wes Edens has shown that they are not afraid to plan some massive direct deposits and move forward with their business.
Antetokounmpo seems satisfied. In October, he signed a contract extension for a maximum of three years, even though he could have signed an extension for four years if he had waited until after the 2023/24 season.
Of course, it cannot be predicted how these moves will impact the Bucks, but the franchise is at least trying. No expense is being spared to build a team that can compete for a championship both this season and in the near future.
The Bucks are fighting. I don’t know what their strategy or style is, but they are certainly swinging wildly. It’s probably better to have a clear plan in a fight, but there’s no way to win without making a few swings. The Haslems, Edens, and the front office have certainly suffered some major financial blows in recent months.