Chris Bosh on the possibility of Giannis Antetokounmpo …

Chris Bosh on the possibility of Giannis Antetokounmpo signing with the Heat: Yeah, that’d be pretty good. But I mean, yeah, it’s tough, man. I mean, they’ve had a crack at it. They were right there. They’ll have another opportunity next year. But that’d be devastating and painful for him in the city, if they don’t even at least make it to the Finals. I mean, in being in that position, you know, what do you do? Let’s be frank. I mean, I don’t really see a big time free agent, saying, ‘I’m going to Milwaukee’. Um, and that’s what makes it so tough sometimes. And they’ve done it the right way they’ve built around him. It’ll be really tough, man. And, and the allure of the game, it’s gonna be so many people coming after him.

More on Giannis Antetokounmpo Free Agency

Multiple sources have emphatically said Milwaukee will not look to trade Antetokounmpo if he passes on the extension. Instead, the Bucks will try to improve their roster and use the next year to show Antetokounmpo why he should stay. Waiting would give Antetokounmpo maximum leverage over Milwaukee over the next 12 months. If the Bucks are willing to add to their payroll to improve the team -- something ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has reported they are -- Milwaukee could chase a significant upgrade in trades (despite being short on prime assets).
Rival teams are monitoring Adebayo’s extension situation and the aftereffects if Miami bypasses extending their superstar big man. Miami is preparing to go all in on the pursuit of Milwaukee’s two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in 2021 free agency, sources said. There is a school of thought that salary-wise, waiting on Adebayo’s extension would allow for as much space as possible for 2021. But given Adebayo’s presence, leadership and meaning to the Heat franchise, this is a straight-forward conversation between team executives and Adebayo’s agent, Alex Saratsis: A max extension this offseason or not.
Jackson: "I hope he leaves too. Go to Golden State." Iverson: "That's where I want him to go -- Golden State! Barnes: "It would be ugly." Iverson: "Yes. Yes. I would love him to go there. That's where I want him to go. I want him to go to Golden State man."
"As long as everybody's on the same page and as long as everybody's fighting for the same thing, fighting for the same thing every single day, which is to be a champion," he said, "I don't see why not to be in Milwaukee for the next 15 years."
Eric Woodyard: Giannis says he left the meeting “encouraged” with Bucks owners. Says they’re on “the same page” right now. Wouldn’t get into details though. He’s currently in Greece with family.
On Saturday, Lasry joined Antetokounmpo at the star’s home in River Hills, a suburb 15 minutes north of downtown Milwaukee. Lasry’s son and Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry participated in the conversation, as did Antetokounmpo’s older brother Thanasis and their agent Alex Saratsis, league sources tell The Athletic. Yahoo! Sports first reported that the meeting took place.
NBA Central: Vince Carter doesn’t see Giannis leaving Milwaukee "He’s good enough to where guys want to come play with him." (🎥 @GetUpESPN ) pic.twitter.com/jjjPsWuB4P

http://twitter.com/TheNBACentral/status/1305888048551526402
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo's 3-hour lunch with Bucks co-owner/governor Marc Lasry on Friday covered the season, how Bucks can improve roster, Lasry confirming willingness to spend into luxury tax and agreement they’ll talk again after Giannis returns from a vacation.
The Bucks payroll will be close to the proposed $132.7 million luxury tax threshold for 2020-21. Lasry and Antetokounmpo discussed the Bucks' season and disappointing finish and brainstormed on some personnel upgrades that could be available to the franchise in the offseason, sources said.
They are expected to talk further soon once Antetokounmpo returns from a vacation, sources said. Antetokounmpo has a decision to make in the offseason on whether he will sign an extension with Milwaukee or enter the 2020-21 season in the final year of his contract and eligible for free agency in 2021.
Gozlan: “From Giannis’ perspective, if he doesn’t take the supermax, two things: One, if he’s really interested in signing a supermax and wants the long-term security, wants the money, I think he would want it, but what could be holding him back could be what the salary cap is going to be. We still haven’t gotten any guidance from the NBA. The recent cap projection was $115 million. The following year was $125 million. Now, it could end up being the same salary cap figure for the next two years. If it were to be much lower and closer to what it is now, even less, then I would imagine Giannis would want to hold back on signing the supermax because that’s a lot less money to lock down versus what he was expected to get earlier. Under the $125 million salary cap, he was going to get around $250 million over five years. If it’s going to stick closer to the current $109 million salary cap or lower, he’s looking at closer to $210 or $220 million. That’s a big difference right there.”
Gozlan: “The interesting thing about how the Heat positioned themselves is that they’ll have a maximum contract slot for 2021, but they’ll also still be able to re-sign Bam Adebayo, Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn while still having Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro still on the roster. Robinson and Nunn have minimum free agent cap holds. They can just keep their Bird Rights, and it won’t cost them anything or take away their max cap space. Bam, who I think is an unbelievable talent and the modern center of what centers will be over the next decade, he deserves a max contract or close to it. Unfortunately, the Heat are not likely to give him the extension now just because then they would lose that cap flexibility to sign Giannis later in 2021. But with the way they positioned themselves, they can hold off on the extension, sign Giannis and then re-sign all those guys I was talking about, including Bam.”
Milwaukee will offer Antetokounmpo the five-year super-maximum as soon as free agency begins this offseason, sources said. Should the salary cap remain at the projected $115 million, the super max would be worth five years and $233.45 million. For a salary cap of $109 million — the 2019 offseason figure — the deal would be worth five years and $221.27 million.
Maybe someday Giannis will have to leave in order to win a title, but for now, league sources consider the Bucks the clear favorite for Giannis in 2021. Still, teams will chase him. The Heat are setting up to make a splash in 2021, whether it’s Giannis or another top free agent. Golden State, Toronto, and Dallas hope to make runs at Antetokounmpo too, league sources say.
The truth is that Giannis can choose from all 30 teams, because every one would move whatever salaries necessary to create the cap space for him. Or, as Jimmy Butler’s move to Miami last summer showed, a sign-and-trade can be worked out. Take the Clippers, for example: Multiple league sources have recently said the Clippers plan to pursue a deal for Giannis. One of the sources said Giannis has an “admiration” for Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.
Dave Briggs: Will Giannis leave the Milwaukee? I asked Bucks owner Marc Lasry the biggest question in hoops at his CT home. He told me, “I don’t think he’s leaving Milwaukee, we’ve done everything we can to make Giannis feel comfortable that we’re doing the right thing.”
Antetokounmpo can sign a supermax extension with the Milwaukee Bucks this offseason and will be a free agent in 2021 if he doesn't. "I don't know," replied Zach Lowe. "The vibe everybody gets from Giannis, and this is all second, third-hand whatever... is that he probably would like to stay. I think he likes Milwaukee. He met his partner in Milwaukee. He has a son now in Milwaukee. I think he likes being the best player on a team and having it be his team. It's clearly his team. But I think the case for the Bucks all along, and I think they would be honest about this if you asked them about it, the case for them all along has been winning. Winning championships. The ability to win championships. That's the case for almost every star player."
It is at least Dallas Mavericks dream. And one NBA analyst suggests Giannis Antetokounmpo joining forces with Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis by landing with the Dallas Mavericks might be a tad more realistic than that. “Of all the (stars), I think he would (consider leaving an existing team to come to Dallas),” said NBA analyst Brian Scalabrine in a Tuesday visit with 105.3 The Fan’s “K&C Masterpiece.” “To leave a team, that's a hard thing to do, especially if you're a guy like him. Just think about Dirk Nowitzki. He was Dallas all the way, (and) it seems like Giannis is all the way (with Milwaukee). “But,” Scalabrine continued. “I think you (Dallas) have just as good a chance as anyone else. ... Los Angeles, Miami, or any of the other favorite teams. I think the Dallas Mavericks, you look at their cap situation, with a superstar (in Luka Doncic) and (Kristaps Porzingis). ... I'm telling you right now it's not zero (chance)."
Conventional wisdom keeps “The Greek Freak” in Milwaukee, of course. But Scalabrine paints a picture “that if (the Bucks) lose to Miami (in these NBA Playoffs) ... they offer him a Super-Max (a five-year max contract extension) ... (and) he turns it down, it does open up the possibility. I'm not thinking there's no chance, I know a lot of people would say that. I think there is a chance that he could end up (in Dallas).”
Giannis Antetokounmpo, the reigning MVP and favorite to repeat, is atop everyone’s list, even though the Milwaukee Bucks star has routinely shot down questions about hitting unrestricted free agency following the 2020-21 season, when his four-year, $100 million deal expires. “I think he’s focused on winning right now and he wants to win it all, not just get to the Finals,” a league source said. “But it won’t stop people from reaching out.”
Even with his upcoming supermax decision full of uncertainty, with the new realities of the league in effect following the pandemic, Milwaukee's front office isn't worried about opposing players trying to potentially recruit him. "Zero. We can only control what we can control. If it's considered tampering or recruiting or whatever it is, in our league people talk, people are connected, people have relationships," said Bucks GM Jon Horst. "At the end of the day, I have full confidence in my personal relationship, our league's relationship, our coach's relationship, his teammate's relationship with Giannis in what we're doing and what we're about.
The chatter began with The Athletic’s Shams Charania noting the Heat’s interest in adding both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Victor Oladipo — the two players that I had identified a week earlier as Miami’s most likely targets in 2021 free agency. And now comes a Wednesday report from the Indianapolis Star that “despite rampant speculation that he could end up with the Knicks (he fired Leon Rose of CAA, then his agent who is now president of the franchise), the strongest preliminary indication is Miami” as his next team.
“He’s a Hall of Fame player and young innovative coach who learned from his past mistakes,’’ said one personnel man familiar with the Knicks’ interest. “I think the Knicks’ young players would relate to him. Whether a factor for Giannis, wherever [Kidd] goes to coach, that team most definitely will have a seat at that dinner table when the time comes.”
One word to the wise for the Bucks, though: Considering the Bucks are sharing “The Gran Destino Tower” with the Lakers, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz and Heat, they may want to keep an eye out for rival executives who will have every opportunity to wander his way. As our Ethan Strauss wrote recently, the “Tamperpalooza” threat will be real in this AAU-style setting.
One word to the wise for the Bucks, though: Considering the Bucks are sharing “The Gran Destino Tower” with the Lakers, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz and Heat, they may want to keep an eye out for rival executives who will have every opportunity to wander his way. As our Ethan Strauss wrote recently, the “Tamperpalooza” threat will be real in this AAU-style setting.
Steve Popper: Sources close to Kidd have said that he would have interest in this job (he played for Dolan and Knicks in last successful season for NY) - and some teams interested in Kidd think that he could provide a link to the prize of next year's free agent class, Giannis.
Milwaukee is still considered likely to keep Antetokounmpo long term, but insiders cited the potential of the salary cap dropping both this offseason and in future years as a reason Giannis might take a wait-and-see approach. Still, the overriding belief is that whatever happens on the court will play the biggest role in his decision. "I always have said: Ask me once he has to make a decision," one Eastern Conference scout said. "It all comes down to timing. So many things can change. "If they win it all, if they come through this and do that? There's no way he's leaving."
Milwaukee is still considered likely to keep Antetokounmpo long term, but insiders cited the potential of the salary cap dropping both this offseason and in future years as a reason Giannis might take a wait-and-see approach. Still, the overriding belief is that whatever happens on the court will play the biggest role in his decision. "I always have said: Ask me once he has to make a decision," one Eastern Conference scout said. "It all comes down to timing. So many things can change. "If they win it all, if they come through this and do that? There's no way he's leaving."
The season’s potential cancellation will most hurt Milwaukee, which had a league-best 53-12 unit that many experts felt had the momentum to win the championship. Antetokounmpo seems to want to stay in Milwaukee when he becomes a 2021 free agent, but only if the Bucks stand as a title contender. Sources indicate the pandemic has changed things so drastically, it’s hard to pinpoint Antetokounmpo’s future plans.
It’s why, four years after the Durant coup, this Giannis to the Warriors noise remains at an incessant murmur, despite how truly impractical it is in reality. This is nothing like the Durant situation. Those dominoes lined up perfectly. These dominoes, linking Giannis and the aged, expensive Warriors, have lined up terribly. Context matters. Let’s look at the three large-scope reasons why the two circumstances are so different and why any longshot pursuit for Giannis is far more difficult.
Durant had turned 27 by the time he hosted his free-agency meetings in the Hamptons. Steph Curry, born five months after Durant, was 28. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were 26. It was a young, established core pitching a peer of a similar age. Come to us and let’s all plow through the league during our collective primes. That’s what drew Durant. If Giannis hits the market next summer, he will be 26. Curry — a friendly acquaintance, considered by those in the know as the dominant reason Giannis’ eyes would even tilt in the Warriors’ direction — will be 33. Thompson, currently in the late stages of his ACL rehab, and Green, showing early signs of a physical decline, will both be 31.
In Durant’s first season with the Warriors, Curry was the 82nd highest-paid player in the NBA. It was the final year of that well-timed (or ill-timed, if you’re Curry) rookie extension signed back in 2012. He was on the books for only $12.1 million, slightly more than Nikola Peković, slightly less than Marvin Williams. It’s very beneficial when your best player is paid like a fringe starter. It’s also helpful when your second- and third-best players, both All-Stars, are under market value. Thompson earned $16.6 million that season. Green earned $15.3 million. Neither were among the 40 highest-paid players in the league. That (along with the cap spike, which we’ll discuss shortly) laid a pristine route for Durant’s $26.5 million contract to fit snugly under the cap restrictions.
Circumstances would be quite different if Giannis reached free agency and wanted to sign with the Warriors. In the first season of what will be Giannis’ next contract, Curry is set to make $45.8 million, an NBA record (breaking the record he’ll set the season prior). Thompson is on the books for $37.9 million. Green is on the books for $24 million. Combined between the three: $107.8 million. Add in Andrew Wiggins, making $31.6 million, and that’s $139.4 million combined between four players. The projected salary cap for that season, delivered before this financially-crushing pandemic hit, was $125 million. So, no, unlike Durant, there’s no way that Giannis (and his next max contract, projected to begin at $37.5 million) can sign with the Warriors outright.
But in truth, all of the above should be on the table even if Antetokounmpo signs the extension because the Bucks are in win-now mode. But with an extension, they can make moves with the luxury of knowing they have a six-year window rather than a one-year window. Inevitably, that changes things. Finally, there is the thought that if he doesn’t sign the extension the Bucks should trade him. I wouldn’t do this unless they have very clear smoke signals that he plans to sign elsewhere. Again, the Bucks aren’t getting access to another talent like this for a long time in all likelihood. And any trade involving Antetekounmpo is impossible to win.
According to a league source, the Warriors have been preparing for years to make a bid for Antetokounmpo. General manager Bob Myers knows that to chart a course for long-term greatness, a team must maintain flexibility — both in terms of its roster and future assets.
Though all indications are that he’s on good terms with team management, league sources believe that Antetokounmpo would want out of Milwaukee if he loses confidence in the franchise’s ability to win championships. This is why the NBA shutdown could buoy the Warriors’ chances of landing their long-coveted Greek.
“If he signs that supermax extension this summer and all of the teams that are sort of saving, you know, keeping their ammo dry for 2021 may begin to make action. They tell me this summer’s star movement may be hinged on whether or not Giannis extends or not. If he extends, you’ll all of a sudden see more action.”
“If he signs that supermax extension this summer and all of the teams that are sort of saving, you know, keeping their ammo dry for 2021 may begin to make action. They tell me this summer’s star movement may be hinged on whether or not Giannis extends or not. If he extends, you’ll all of a sudden see more action.”
The Heat, among many other teams, are reportedly prepared to make a run at The Greek Freak, given the event he chooses to test free agency. Yet Adebayo won’t be the one persuading him to make the move: “At the end of the day, I can’t force a man to make that decision,” said Adebayo, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “That’s going to be his decision, his family’s decision. I can’t persuade him to do that.”
The Heat All-Star knows people are going to play up this angle regardless: “I’m pretty sure people are going to run with that this summer and next summer,” Adebayo said of the common agent denominator. “In 2021, people are going to run with that. “But, at the end of the day, he takes care of me like he takes care of Giannis. And that’s just what you need in an agent. You want a guy that actually cares about everybody and not just some people who are doing better than others.”
The Heat, among many other teams, are reportedly prepared to make a run at The Greek Freak, given the event he chooses to test free agency. Yet Adebayo won’t be the one persuading him to make the move: “At the end of the day, I can’t force a man to make that decision,” said Adebayo, according to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “That’s going to be his decision, his family’s decision. I can’t persuade him to do that.”
The Heat All-Star knows people are going to play up this angle regardless: “I’m pretty sure people are going to run with that this summer and next summer,” Adebayo said of the common agent denominator. “In 2021, people are going to run with that. “But, at the end of the day, he takes care of me like he takes care of Giannis. And that’s just what you need in an agent. You want a guy that actually cares about everybody and not just some people who are doing better than others.”
There’s little doubt that Giannis Antetokounmpo, reigning and likely repeat MVP, has every reason to stick around in Milwaukee over the long term. The Bucks have a sparkling new downtown arena and a state-of-the-art practice facility, a long way from the state of play when Antetokounmpo arrived—back then, the Bucks were in the mostly moribund Bradley Center and practiced on the grounds of a Catholic Diocese headquarters in St. Francis, a few miles south of Milwaukee.
As one general manager told Heavy.com, “It’s hard to imagine him leaving the situation he is in. It’s a longshot he leaves. They’ve been very confident all along that he will want to stay in Milwaukee. They’ve never acted like a team that was panicking to make things happen.”
Given how well the Bucks are playing, every executive we spoke to expects Antetokounmpo to re-sign with Milwaukee. The Bucks are overwhelming favorites to reach the NBA Finals, and falling short of that bar looks to be the only thing that could put Milwaukee's MVP in play.

https://twitter.com/hoopshype/status/1229112625759444997
In an effort to keep their star in Milwaukee, the Bucks are expected to offer Giannis Antetokounmpo a supermax contract this summer. "Is he a client you could see staying with one team for his whole career?" asked Zervakis. "Yeah, I think so. Obviously everybody talks about his impending free agency, and I think everything is open," Saratsis said. "I think he's someone who could easily say, 'I'd like to be in Milwaukee my entire career.' I think he's also someone who, depending on how the team does, could say, 'I need a change.' But for him, staying is absolutely a viable option."
"I remember one of his first games at the BMO Harris Bradley Center, and it must not have even been 1/3 full," Saratsis said. He acknowledged Giannis probably missed out on some endorsement opportunities playing in one of the NBA's smaller markets, but he said that problem evaporated as Giannis became one of the NBA's best players. "He's not a local superstar, he's not a national superstar, he's a global superstar," Saratsis said.
"He came in as an 18-year old kid who didn't speak the language," Saratsis said. "If you think about it, he grew up and is growing up to be a man in the City of Milwaukee. I think he's always going to appreciate that." "Giannis believes in loyalty, he believes in the people who've been there with him from the beginning, and I think he feels that kinship to the city because they have really helped raise him," he said.
Miami has told teams that Tyler Herro is off limits, at least for now. The Heat hit big with the Herro/Duncan Robinson/Kendrick Nunn pickups, and Miami isn’t interested in any contracts that stretch beyond 2021 … when Giannis Antetokounmpo could be a free agent, and Pat Riley will have another chance to lure a transformational star to South Beach. Danillo Gallinari fits that mold, and Gallo’s three-point shooting would be a welcome addition to Miami’s frontcourt.
If the Mavs wait until 2021, they could have enough cap space to pursue a max free agent, depending on what the salary cap is. Plan A remains Giannis and Plan B could be Rudy Gobert. Even if Giannis and Gobert go elsewhere, the 2021 class still could include Gordon Hayward and Jrue Holiday.
On the NBA Africa League… Giannis: “I didn’t know much about it – it’s amazing! I heard about it earlier in the season and being able to watch games in Africa is amazing. We were able to play in the NBA Africa Game in 2015 and the people in Africa love basketball – there’s so much talent in Africa. I’ve spoken with Masai [Ujiri] and he’s going to do some big things – I’m sure he’s part of this league so I’m really excited to find out more things about it and hopefully we can play a regular season game in Africa as well.”
In truth, as Antetokounmpo shared with The Athletic, the two players took part in a jersey swap afterward (our Steve Berman reported from the Bucks locker room that Antetokounmpo had a signed Curry jersey with a note written inside the zero in his ‘30’). “Steph is a — he’s a fun dude,” he continued when asked how well he knew Curry. “I really don’t know him, know him, but whenever we’ve (played each other) he’s always come up to me, talked to me. It’s fun.”
It’s all fun fodder for the fans, too. But guess what? For the Warriors or any of the other 28 teams that would love to land “The Greek Freak,” none of it is likely to matter if Giannis and the Bucks stay on this same track. The combination of their winning, his play, and his constant praise of the organization’s functionality means subplots like these don’t need to be taken seriously just yet. That doesn’t mean the Bucks can afford to lose focus. It’s quite the contrary, in fact. Keep pushing toward the playoffs, and competing with the kind of relentless spirit that the 25-year-old seems to always employ and demand.
TMZ: "What was going through your mind when you saw Steph Curry trying to recruit Giannis?" Edens: "I think that they're just friends. A respect for the game ... I don't think Giannis plays video games (laughing). I don't know, but ... " TMZ: "Exactly. So he must be trying to recruit him for the Warriors, right?" Edens: "I don't know. No comment. No comment." TMZ: "Did you guys talk to Giannis afterwards, like, 'Hey Giannis, everything still good with us?'" Edens: "I don't think we need to. He's loyal." TMZ: "You're not worried about losing him to the Warriors when free agency hits?" Edens: "Life is good in Milwaukee right now. They're winning. I think everyone's happy."
Eric Woodyard: Coach Mike Budenholzer on if Giannis’ free agency wears on team: “I don’t know maybe there’s more than I realize but he seems in a great place, the group’s in a great place and we’ll hopefully keep it rolling.” See full comment below.

http://twitter.com/E_Woodyard/status/1215093919597252608
Khris Middleton on Giannis’ looming extension situation, and the question of whether they ever discuss his uncertain future… I mean, you’ve got to respect what he’s going to do at the end of the day. Of course I’ve talked to him and joke with him all the time that he can’t leave me here after I came back (last summer), but he respected my decision…
And…how does he react to such humor? Khris Middleton: He laughs. But I mean, we never talk about that, honestly. We don’t talk about that at all. We’re always focused on practice or gameplan or a game or watching film or something. For the most part, we respect our decision making, realize it’s not always about basketball, that it’s about family situations and what not. But we also, like I said man, we just really focus on basketball. We’re basketball junkies. Since we’ve been here, we’ve always been in the gym. Maybe not on the same (basket), but in the same gym working on two different ends and different parts of our game. I think that’s just our relationship. We’re basketball junkies.
Do you get caught up in that sort of chatter at all? I mean this week, we’ve got New York chatter, we’ve got other scenarios (being discussed)… (ESPN reported that Toronto is preserving its 2021 cap space in order to pursue Antetokounmpo, and league-wide rumblings persist that the Knicks want to convince Raptors president Masai Ujiri to head up their front office, in part, because of their belief that he could lure Antetokounmpo their way in free agency – if he ever gets there.) Marc Lasry: That’s great. Whether it sounds dumb or not, I’m very comfortable with the relationship that we have with everybody on this team. And I think at the end of the day, what players want is stable ownership. They want a culture which is focused on winning. They want a coach who they respect. They want to play in a city that they love. It’s what we all want. Let’s be serious. You just want consistency, and you want to know that what you’re being told is reality. So I think as long as we do what we’re supposed to do, everything is going to be fine.
The Raptors have Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka in the final seasons of their contracts, while Kyle Lowry expires in 2021. "I think for Toronto, they look at this season and then they look at the summer of 2021, when like a lot of teams, they want to be in the sweepstakes for Giannis Antetokounmpo," said Adrian Wojnarowski. "You're not going to see them do anything here that's going to compromise their salary cap flexibility for the following year."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E8GAMRYgTVc&feature=emb_title
Could the Heat land another – the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo or Pacers’ Victor Oladipo – in 2021 free agency? Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald: Miami wants to preserve max cap space that summer for a run at Giannis Antetokounmpo or, secondarily, a few other targets including Victor Oladipo.
Oh, and did I mention — there is one giant, long-armed Greek shadow looming over every decision this franchise makes. Sources say the Raptors are likely to be one of the chief pursuers of Giannis Antetokounmpo if and when he hits the 2021 free-agent market, so any moves that eliminate the possibility of max cap space that summer would be extremely unlikely.
“I want the Bucks to build a winning culture. So far, we have been doing great, and, if this lasts, there’s no other place I want to be. But if we’re underperforming in the NBA next year, deciding whether to sign becomes a lot more difficult.” The Athletic’s Joe Vardon followed up by asking Antetokounmpo specifically which words he feels were attributed to him incorrectly. “I’m not going to get into that,” Antetokounmpo said. “As I said, the last – what is it called – quote, paragraph, it’s words that I didn’t use. Underperforming or whether or deciding, all those words. I’ve never used in my life. “As I said, I’m not going to talk about it. There can be stories coming out. I said this, I said that. I said this. But I’m not going to get into it at all.”
Matt Velazquez: Giannis refuted the quote attributed to him in the Harvard Business School case study. Said his girlfriend asked him yesterday if he really said that. “If you kind of read the last quote, I’ve never used those words in my life,” he responded.
Giannis Antetokounmpo told a Harvard University professor that if the Milwaukee Bucks underperform this season, it would make his decision on whether to stick with the team "a lot more difficult." The unusually pointed language from the team's superstar came in a spring 2019 interview with Anita Elberse, a Harvard Business School professor who was researching a case study on the Bucks' turnaround and the challenges a small-market NBA team faces in retaining a superstar-level player.
Antetokounmpo, who has emerged as one of the best players in basketball, likely will be eligible to sign a five-year, $253 million contract extension with the Bucks next summer, or to opt out and potentially become a free agent in 2021. "I want the Bucks to build a winning culture," Elberse and her co-author, master's student Melcolm Ruffin, quoted Antetokounmpo as saying. "So far, we have been doing great, and, if this lasts, there's no other place I want to be. But if we're underperforming in the NBA next year, deciding whether to sign becomes a lot more difficult."
Bucks co-owner Jamie Dinan doesn't think Antetokounmpo was misquoted, but said that researchers needed conflict for the study to be successful as a teaching case. “I wasn’t in the room when (Antetokounmpo) said it,” Dinan said, “so I don’t know if they goaded him a little bit to kind of get some conflict.”
Antetokounmpo isn’t used to the adulation, and, of course, doesn’t want to entertain questions about what could happen two summers from now when he becomes an unrestricted free agent. “You know, the old tape players? I’ll just hit the rewind button,” he told Yahoo Sports about how he’ll handle the constant free-agent speculation, referring to his media-day comments when he quickly shot down any speculation about his future.
The Heat have paid close attention to the blockbuster free agency class of 2021 that could include Lebron James, Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George, sources said, which could keep the organization focused on keeping their salary books as clean as possible in the coming two seasons.
Antetokounmpo, 24, is eligible to sign a five-year, $253.75 million super max extension in the summer of 2020 with the Milwaukee Bucks, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks, which would be the largest in NBA history. This would apply even if Antetokounmpo fails to earn All-NBA honors this season, but his focus remains on team goals. "I feel like if you have a great team, and our goal is to win a championship and be the last team standing and get better each day, I think it's disrespectful towards my teammates talking about my free agency and what I'm going through," Antetokounmpo said. "So, when the time is right, we're all gonna talk about it. I don't think the time is right."
The NBA recently fined Bucks general manager Jon Horst $50,000 for violating league rules of discussing Antetokounmpo's supermax extension during a televised town hall event, so he stayed away from the topic Monday. During media day, however, he showed up in a great mood while touching on a range of topics, notably managing outside expectations, alongside Budenholzer, with the ultimate goal of a title in mind. What others say in the next 10 months surrounding Antetokounmpo is out of his control. "Internal expectations are what matter to us, and we've been saying this for over a year now," Horst said. "We believe it, we live it. We care about getting better everyday. We want to improve on what we did last year."
Storyline: Giannis Antetokounmpo Free Agency
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November 25, 2020 | 7:52 am EST Update
Antetokounmpo and Adebayo share the same agent, Octagon’s Alex Saratsis, which has led some to question whether Adebayo’s extension getting done now signals Antetokounmpo will ultimately sign an extension with the Bucks too. “I think they are totally separate decisions,” one Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “If Giannis wants to go to Miami, he will find a way to get to Miami. I think, if anything, they want to keep that agent happy, and if he wants Bam extended, you do it. Miami has always been creative in finding ways to get things done. The bottom line is you have to do right by your players first. He’s not in a position to risk injury and could affect how he feels about the team long-term if they do not take care of him now.”
Tim MacMahon: How the Rockets handle James Harden’s desire to be dealt to the Brooklyn Nets. The Rockets insist that they haven’t given up on winning back Harden’s heart — and the series of moves that resulted in high-scoring center Christian Wood’s arrival in Houston were an aggressive, expensive attempt to improve the roster — but the organization is bracing for life after The Beard. Houston can’t afford to be bullied into a bad trade, and time is on the team’s side, with Harden under contract for two more years.
Tim Bontemps: What happens with Rudy Gobert in Utah. It has been a good offseason for the Jazz, between reaching a deal with Jordan Clarkson, bringing back old friend Derrick Favors and securing Donovan Mitchell with a max contract extension. But with Gobert one year from unrestricted free agency, the final piece of Utah’s offseason will be trying to get Gobert signed to a contract extension to keep him with the franchise long-term. If they can’t reach an agreement, Gobert will become an intriguing trade target.
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