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Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo reacts after making a basket against the Miami Heat during the first half of game four of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on Sep 6, 2020.Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

In the year and a half since Kawhi Leonard left the team, the Toronto Raptors have made dozens of decisions, some big and many very small. All of them had one ultimate end in mind: Giannis.

The NBA has a half-dozen-or-so game-changing superstar mononyms. Giannis Antetokounmpo was the one the Raptors thought they had a shot at.

He is connected in a friendly, professional way with team president Masai Ujiri. The two of them are immigrants made good in North America. Antetokounmpo was raised in Greece, and so is presumed to have no “How’s the cable TV up in Canada?” bias.

Plus, Antetokounmpo seemed like the sort of guy who’d choose the place that seemed like the most fun, rather than the one that represented the biggest financial windfall. He seemed like the approachable NBA superstar. The Raptors cleared their books to make his welcome as lucrative as possible.

All Antetokounmpo had to do was wait a few months until summer, and then swan over the border as the biggest free-agent signing in Canadian sports history. Ontario would line trumpeters all the way up Hwy. 401. Once he got to City Hall, the mayor would greet him in choppy Greek and give him a key to the city on loan. It would be so perfect.

Or, I suppose, he could sign right now with his current team – boooo-ring – and buy all his friends their own tropical islands.

On Tuesday, Antetokounmpo chose Door No. 2.

Even by the outsized standards of right now, the deal is enormous. The Milwaukee Bucks will pay him US$228-million over five years, with an option to leave after the fourth.

It is by some distance the largest contract in NBA history. It’s not that far off what they pay entire NHL teams.

It’s big news, but the deal doesn’t alter the gravity of the league. NBA superstars are paid on a formula. The best of them get the most of what that formula makes possible.

The NBA’s balance of power remains the same. Yesterday, the Milwaukee Bucks were a very good team with Antetokounmpo. All that’s happened is that they will remain so for the foreseeable future.

It’s not even precisely clear if Antetokounmpo is – and here we must be clear that this word is about more than the dollar-cost per win – worth so much money. He’s been the best player in the league over the past two seasons, and nowhere close to that during the past two postseasons. Like any other deal, the wisdom of this agreement – both for the player and the team – cannot be fully known until it’s over.

All that said, this is a disaster for the Toronto Raptors. Other teams wanted him, but no other club was so invested in the idea of Antetokounmpo.

Ujiri never said it out loud in public, but the desire was clear. The fanbase had been allowed to fantasize about the prospect for years now. While no one in management engaged the Giannis chatter, nor did they do much to dissuade it.

The ongoing pursuit of Antetokounmpo was Toronto basketball’s open secret. From the executive offices to the bar to the schoolyard, everyone was in on it.

It was widely known how much Ujiri coveted Antetokounmpo in the 2013 draft, when he was still an intriguing project. Ujiri tried to jump the Raptors up the order with a pair of trades, but couldn’t swing either. Milwaukee chose Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick, preposterously late for someone of his eventual quality.

(The Raptors had held the 12th pick, but packaged it in the trade that got them Kyle Lowry. You really win some, and then you really lose some.)

With all that history in mind, getting Antetokounmpo seemed so right, so fated. At least, Toronto fans had convinced themselves of such.

Then he goes and does the … ugh … sensible thing and stays with the roster he knows best, the franchise that gave him his shot and the people who helped develop him into a global brand.

It is not possible to begrudge Antetokounmpo anything here. Were I his agent, I’d have advised the same thing: Don’t leave fun to find fun. That’s as good a rule in the NBA as it is on a night out.

But it leaves the Toronto Raptors directionless. It also creates new questions around Ujiri, whose contract ends on July 1, 2021.

Can Toronto win with the current core – Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet, whatever’s left of Kyle Lowry and, maybe, OG Anunoby? It’s possible. But it’s a long, long way from it’s possible to it’s likely. Since signing his own max contract, Siakam has been a relative disappointment. VanVleet is still coming into his own. Double that for Anunoby.

The only real winner here may be Lowry. He was getting set to ride off into the sunset, but now that the Raptors have a lot of cash and no Greeks to give it to, he may be the short-term beneficiary.

You can debate potential rosters all day long. On-paper talent accumulation is no guarantee of success. Ask the Los Angeles Clippers. Or, for that matter, the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The bigger – much bigger, to my mind – issue is Ujiri. When you chart the history of this club’s rise, he is the most important part of the story.

He made the deals that made this team a champion. He took risks (e.g. trading for Kawhi, appointing rookie head coach Nick Nurse) that only look sensible now because they worked out. He leveraged relationships and the wide esteem with which he is held across the sports world to turn Toronto into a player. He is the most important Raptor in team history and it’s not even close.

Now that he’s lost Antetokounmpo, does Ujiri still have the will to build Toronto back up into a championship contender? Why has he not re-signed yet? Does he intend to? And what happens if he doesn’t?

You want a contract chase to obsess over? Were I a fan of this team, I would worry a lot more about that one.