When Giannis Antetokounmpo became eligible to sign a three-year, $186 million extension with the Milwaukee Bucks, Jon Horst flew to Houston to formally present him with the offer. Antetokounmpo was in Houston training with Hakeem Olajuwon.
"I think those things matter," Horst said.
Last Thursday, Horst called Antetokounmpo and his agent, Alex Saratsis, and asked them to take a look at a 20-page proposal the Milwaukee front office prepared.
Horst had asked two basketball operations staffers, Arjun Mahendroo and Lindsay Hay, to team up with the marketing department to lay out the presentation.
While there were personal elements in the proposal, the business side of it made the argument that signing a three-year extension now would give Antetokounmpo two more chances to sign maximum extensions before the age-38 rule of the NBA's collective bargaining agreement applied to him.
"When we took the long-term view of how this decision gave him the best ability to maximize earnings over the next 10 years, it began to make more sense," Saratsis tells ESPN.
"Other than the ego of signing the largest contract in NBA history in the short term, why not take three big bites at the apple instead of two?"
After hearing the pitch, Saratsis got on the phone with Antetokounmpo while Horst waited for nearly 30 minutes. The conversations were productive, but Antetokounmpo wanted to sleep on it and talk with his family before making a final decision.
"I knew in my heart that I wanted to stay here," Antetokounmpo said Tuesday afternoon. "I don't want people to turn around when we lose a game and say, 'Giannis is irritated, Giannis doesn't like what's going on, Giannis is going to leave.' No. The conversation right now is going to be basketball.
"How can we get better? How do we build good habits? I did it this way before, in 2020, and it was good for me because I didn't have to think about it. I didn't have to put myself in a state of, 'What if? What if?' No, I'm committed. I'm here. And I want to win another championship."