MILWAUKEE BUCKS OWNERS Marc Lasry and Wes Edens read probabilities for a living. The two New York-high-finance gurus operate funds that control more than $60 billion and routinely construct hundred-million-dollar deals based on those instincts. As they stepped inside Giannis Antetokounmpo's red-brick mansion on Dec. 5, they prepared to deliver a $228 million sales pitch. If their presentation was persuasive, they could dramatically tilt the likelihood that their franchise would retain one of the most dominant superstars of his generation for the indefinite future.
Assembling the offer was easy, but enduring the uncertainty over the past several weeks was not. The Bucks spent the offseason orchestrating a series of bold moves that reshaped their team. They had reason to believe they had solidified their case for their two-time MVP to commit to the franchise long term. After an amazing night in mid-November in which they swung one blockbuster trade and thought they were near another, Lasry made a late-night drive from his home in Connecticut to the city, working the phones like he was finalizing a grand merger.