How does Milwaukee feel now? Brian Windhorst of ESPN: "…

How does Milwaukee feel now? Brian Windhorst of ESPN: “Internally, league sources said, the Bucks have gone from cautiously optimistic to cautiously confident in recent weeks that the outcome will be favorable when Antetokounmpo returns from Greece, where he has been since mid-September.”

More on Giannis Antetokounmpo Free Agency

Marc Stein: NBA free agency officially starts tonight at 6 PM ET, which is also when the Bucks can formally offer Giannis Antetokounmpo a five-year supermax contract extension worth $230 million. The window to sign it closes Dec. 21
NBA Central: "He wants to play for the Bucks. He’s been in contact with Giannis Antetokounmpo." - Brian Windhorst on Bogdan Bogdanović (Via ESPN) pic.twitter.com/zZTDYhpNpt
The Milwaukee Bucks are confident Giannis Antetokounmpo will sign the supermax contract extension this offseason. "The Bucks are operating with, what's the correct verb?" said Brian Windhorst on The Hoop Collective Podcast on Tuesday evening. "You're asking me for a verb? You're asking me to name a verb?" replied Zach Lowe.
"What's the correct verb for the way the Bucks are operating? They're operating under the belief Giannis is going to re-sign. It is not 100 percent, but they don't do these deals unless they feel really good about it. They feel better about it now than they did before. I think some people feel like these deals are being done to woo Giannis. I don't think that's happening, Zach. I think the Bucks are operating with knowledge. They're doing these [deals] knowing that these players they're acquiring for the foreseeable future with Giannis alongside them. Whether or not that's a mistake, we'll see. But I think there's a lot of excitement in Milwaukee. And I think there's a lot of excitement within the Giannis group right now. I think the momentum will continue."
HoopsHype spoke with severalexecutives and an NBA scout to get their thoughts on what the moves mean for Milwaukee’s future. “I applaud them,” an NBA scouttold HoopsHype. “Perfect reasoning for Giannis to want to re-sign. They had to, honestly. They’ve got to win now.”
After taking a step back and losing in the Conference Semifinals and Antetokounmpo entering a contract season, Bucks general manager Jon Horst acted swiftly. “I think they must have had an indication that Giannis was staying since they gave up two unprotected firsts,” one Eastern Conferenceexecutive told HoopsHype.
“I thought they were solid moves but did give up a lot in the Holiday trade,” another Eastern Conferenceexecutive told HoopsHype. “I hope they have a commitment from Giannis to stay long term. Not sure Giannis commits this offseason or if he waits to see how things play out. The deal will be available at the end of the season, so better to have the ability to apply pressure to the front office by not signing until later.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo will be offered the supermax extension by the Milwaukee Bucks at the start of free agency, which could be the most impactful NBA storyline both this offseason and for 2021. "I wonder how Giannis feels as he's looking at this right now, you know, what he's thinking about," said Brian Windhorst in a podcast recorded before the Holiday trade. "Because he has about a month to decide on his supermax. I think he's going to decide a lot of sooner. And I think there's a lot of warmth in Milwaukee right now. I'll just leave it at that."
With speculation rife Antetokounmpo is considering linking with Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat once his Bucks contract expires at the end of the upcoming season, or potentially earlier if traded, Kyrgios has added fuel to the fire after providing an insight into his recent exchange with the "Greek Freak". "I just asked him a bunch of questions," Kyrgios told The Herald. "I asked him straight away if he was going to go and join Miami and then he had a massive smile on his face. Maybe that could be brewing."
NBA Central: "I just asked him straight away if he was going to go join Miami, and then he had a massive smile on his face." - Nick Kyrgios on Giannis Antetokounmpo (h/t @hoopsview ) pic.twitter.com/aWoLATWEBY

http://twitter.com/TheNBACentral/status/1328187431204515840
While there, he happened to give an exclusive interview to Swedish outlet Aftonbladet, a daily newspaper based in Stockholm. Of course, he was asked about his future with the Milwaukee Bucks, and had this to say (hat tip to Swedish journalist Alexander Nilsson): Giannis: "There are a lot of rumors. Everyone has opinions. But at the end of the day, I will do what is best for my family. I do not see why I could not be in Milwaukee for several years. As long as Milwaukee and I are on the same page when it comes to being one of the best teams in the league and winning championships, that's fine. When it changes, it will not be good. It's easy, I want to be a winner. I do not care about the money. My family is fine and I can take care of my children and grandchildren so that's not the most important thing right now, it's winning. As long as we can win and create a winning culture, it will be good."
Aftonbladet: So your plan is to stay in Milwaukee next year and then maybe sign an extension? Giannis: "I do not know what the plan is. It depends on what decisions they make. If they make the right decision, I'll be there for many years. If they do not, we'll see. The NBA is business and we take it day by day. Hopefully we can succeed together."
Albert Nahmad: If Heat want to be assured to be able to keep core + retain a Giannis-sized max salary slot for 2021: 🔥 They can’t extend Bam, and 🔥 Any long-term salary they take on (in free agency or trade) needs to be for a player: (x) who's tradable, or (y) who fits into excess cap room
Many within the Bucks remain confident Giannis Antetokounmpo will sign a five-year supermax extension valued at between $220 million and $250 million (depending on the cap level) before the start of the 2020-21 regular season. Unless something drastic changes, Milwaukee is not trading him. If Antetokounmpo doesn't sign, the Bucks are prepared to play it out, sources have said.
Miami has interest in re-signing Goran Dragic and Jae Crowder, but the Heat won't do anything that jeopardizes their chances with Antetokounmpo. (The list of such things might include asking Bam Adebayo to wait until next offseason to sign his new contract -- a way of maximizing cap space for Antetokounmpo. Adebayo and Antetokounmpo share an agent -- Alex Saratsis of Octagon. This is tricky stuff, but I assume everyone will communicate what they need to communicate.)
While Antetokounmpo expressed respect for the Heat, there has been nothing tangible to suggest any specific interest in playing here, putting Miami on par with potentially Dallas, Toronto and a few others if he decides to leave Milwaukee. At the very least, his respect for Bam Adebayo (they share the same agent) and the Heat’s cache would very likely earn a meeting in 2021 if he bypasses a Bucks extension this summer.
There is also a question of how management will handle things if Antetokounmpo turns down the Designated Veteran extension, whatever the rationale. It appears they intend to keep him around no matter what, and that is the best approach considering there is almost no chance the Bucks recoup equal value in a trade and he could easily commit next offseason on the same terms or a shorter contract. While not signing an extension would send shockwaves through the league and get rival general managers and fans salivating, it is absolutely possible, if not probable, that the 25-year old stays in Milwaukee beyond the coming season.
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.
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.
Storyline: Giannis Antetokounmpo Free Agency
More HoopsHype Rumors
January 25, 2021 | 6:01 pm EST Update
Start-up financial tech company Goalsetter has raised $3.9 million in a seed round that includes top National Basketball Association stars and the billionaire chairman of investment firm Vista Equity Partners, Robert F. Smith. The company said the funds would be used to expand its mobile application platform and accelerate subscriber growth. The Brooklyn Nets’ Kevin Durant and Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul are investors. Joining them is former NBA player Baron Davis, ex-New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia.
January 25, 2021 | 5:55 pm EST Update
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