You can get this content every Saturday morning in your email inbox. Click here to subscribe to the HoopsHype Weekly newsletter.
DARK DAYS AHEAD? No one saw this coming, and if you say you did, we need proof. After all, the Milwaukee Bucks led the NBA in win percentage (76.7 percent) and net rating (+9.4) heading into the playoffs, and looked like the team to beat for this year’s championship.
Instead, here they sit with a 0-3 deficit at the hands of the Miami Heat, on the verge of getting swept out of the playoffs before even reaching the Conference Finals, looking absolutely hapless against a team that many thought would be at a talent disadvantage against them.
And the worst part is, Giannis Antetokounmpo, the team’s franchise cornerstone and soon-to-be two-time MVP, is getting pretty noticeably outplayed by Jimmy Butler, an elite player in his own right, but not one thought to be on Antetokounmpo’s level.
This paints a pretty scary picture for the Bucks’ future, both immediate and long-term.
Short term, Milwaukee can offer Antetokounmpo a super-max extension worth five years and $221.6 million – that’s if the salary cap remains unchanged for the next two years, which is looking very possible – this offseason.
Would Antetokounmpo sign it after such a potentially humiliating playoff defeat? Or would he instead choose to hit unrestricted free agency whenever the 2021 offseason is, and examine other options?
There’s already chatter that Miami and the Toronto Raptors could be frontrunners in the eventual Anetokounmpo sweepstakes, though that may be looking too far ahead.
Regardless, if the series does end up being a sweep, the Bucks will be 0-8 in their last eight playoff games against teams not named the Orlando Magic, with all of those defeats coming at the hands of… the Raptors and Heat.
And even if Antetokounmpo does love Milwaukee and the idea of having his own team as ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently reported, a sweep at the hands of one of the teams who will have max cap space when you could potentially become a free agent has to be something the Greek superstar will take into account.
The future looks murky in Milwaukee.
NETS MAKE AUDACIOUS CHOICE: It was clear the Nets were going to be bold with their head-coach selection, as even Gregg Popovich was rumored as a potential target. But still, no one saw what was coming when the team named Hall-of-Famer Steve Nash as their next man in charge.
MAJOR DRAFT-NIGHT DEAL? With it being a weak overall draft class lacking a clear-cut top prospect, the Timberwolves could be considering a trade out of the No. 1 spot.
Important to note that Minnesota GM Gersson Rosas learned under Houston’s Daryl Morey for years, so he will not hesitate to swing a major move if one is made available to him.
SIXERS COACHING SEARCH: The Sixers still need a head coach, and according to reports, they’re going to be aggressive in their pursuit of former title-winning coach, Tyronn Lue.
FVV TO NYC? The Knicks have needed a quality point guard for years, so it should come as no surprise that they’re reportedly interested in Toronto’s Fred VanVleet.
VanVleet is currently merely the 135th-highest-paid player in the NBA, which should change this offseason once he signs his next deal.
JJ TO SPAIN? Dallas’ JJ Barea’s NBA career might be over, but that doesn’t mean he plans to stop playing. The diminutive floor general reportedly has interest from three Liga ACB teams in Spain.
FRESH POD: Hawks big man John Collins joins our Michael Scotto for a new episode of the HoopsHype podcast, where they discuss his extension talks in Atlanta, his recruiting pitch to free agents and much more.
AGGREGATE MOCK DRAFT: Our seventh installment of the popular aggregate mock draft series shows a consensus Top 3 of Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman.
NOT ENOUGH LOVE: We explain why we think Chris Paul is so underrated, going heavy on statistics to prove that the Point God is already an all-time great, even without winning a title.
HISTORY MADE: Besides being so enthralling, the duel between Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray was historic in that the tandem broke the record for the most points scored by two players in a series ever. The future of the league is in great hands.
RATINGS TALK: With TV ratings being a hot-button issue for the NBA recently, we ranked the most-viewed games from August 24 to August 30. It should come as no surprise that big-market teams greatly led the way there.