If Antetokounmpo had given some assurance that he was likely to re-sign in Milwaukee as a free agent, perhaps indicating that he’d be back so long as their season didn’t end before, say, the conference finals, then sources say Bucks officials likely would have taken their chances and moved ahead with the partnership. But if there were no assurances given, with Antetokounmpo simply stating that he planned on being a free agent and that he’d figure out his future when that time arrived, it’s clear the Bucks would have seriously considered whether they needed to take trade calls on him.
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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.
Zach Lowe on Giannis Antetokounmpo pushing for a trade: All the intel I’ve gotten for years now is Giannis is not going to do that with Dallas or any other team.
“From where I’m sitting guys, that’s the Warriors. They have the best package. People get so upset when I say that, but they do. They have the trade exception, they have (Andrew) Wiggins, they have this year’s pick (No. 2 overall), they have next year’s Minnesota pick (top-three protected in 2021, unprotected in 2022). “Maybe you even have to talk about Klay Thompson or Draymond (Green) being in a package like that, too. But they have a great package if it comes down to it.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Thank you Milwaukee for all the love and support you showed my teammates and I this season. You guys are the best fans in the league. I can’t wait for next season! #ThroughTheWall #Antetokounbros
A surprisingly under-the-radar destination considering their current success and young talent, the Boston Celtics absolutely have the assets to make a deal happen. Presumably Jayson Tatum is off the table, but Danny Ainge could make Jaylen Brown the centerpiece and add in a variety of young talent and/or capable veterans, depending on what the Bucks want. Additionally, the Celtics can offer to use Gordon Hayward’s expiring contract as a tool to take on undesirable long-term money, though that would get intensely expensive for their ownership down the line.
2021 Sign-and-Trade Suitors: The most likely teams here are ones from the cap space list that spend more aggressively this offseason. The Mavericks are particularly compelling because they could go harder after free agents now, then ideally use those additions either as salary ballast in a Giannis trade or in a separate deal before signing him themselves with cap space.
The Bucks are committed to building and sustaining a championship roster around Antetokounmpo and are expected to be one of the busiest teams this offseason. Rival teams are closely monitoring the situation.
Dave Bridge: 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.”
NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh reacted to the Greek Freak’s comments during a conversation with NBC Sports Bay Area’s Grant Liffmann on Wednesday afternoon. “That’s not what you want to hear if you’re the Golden State Warriors or any NBA team with any sort of hopes of prying Giannis out of Milwaukee,” he said. “However, I will remind people that Kevin Durant and LeBron James both said very nice things about Oklahoma City, Cleveland and Miami respectively before each of those players walked out the door. “Do not shut the door on Giannis leaving Milwaukee, but I would say it’s still a long shot for the Golden State Warriors.”
Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is slated to be a free agent after the 2020-21 season, could hold the league hostage this offseason if he were to decide a new destination is in order. “It’s not happening. That’s not happening,” Antetokounmpo told Yahoo Sports after the Bucks were eliminated in five games in the second round by the Miami Heat on Tuesday night. “Some see a wall and go in [another direction]. I plow through it. We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season.”
Multiple executives around the league echoed the sentiment, noting Antetokounmpo’s future is entirely up to him. The Bucks have only so much say in what comes next. “He could be on the Warriors in three months,” a former Western Conference executive said.
One former general manager views the Warriors as “the only leverage opportunity” for Milwaukee. “Time is on their side,” he said. “They would get a huge deal.”
The only question that matters is where Antetokounmpo wants to play for the prime of his career. If that isn’t Phoenix, the Suns likely aren’t making Ayton available for a one-year rental. “The Bucks may find they only have one or two suitors,” the Eastern Conference executive said. “That’s what happened with the New Orleans Pelicans and [Davis]. He only wanted to go to the Lakers. They were the only team at the table.”
If Antetokounmpo passes on signing the supermax, multiple sources are adamant that the Bucks won’t trade him. Milwaukee will have to persuade him to stay — and quickly.
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.
One league source familiar with Giannis since he was a draft prospect told me earlier this year that he wouldn’t bet on Giannis leaving in 2021, saying he is wired like Kevin Garnett, who loyally stayed with Minnesota through countless losing seasons. I also assume Antetokounmpo will stay, but how can you confidently bet on the fate of any player after what’s transpired this summer?
Wojnarowski: It just shows how hard it is at that mid-size market. There are plenty of small-market owners and mid-size GMs who said, “We didn’t go far enough. I can’t keep guys.” Milwaukee is going to go through this with the Greek Freak. That day is coming, right?, where he’s going to look and say, “Where is this organization? What are they doing here?” You don’t think Giannis has been watching what went on there for the last several months, of what they allowed to go on with the front office? He’s watching it, and the clock has started. Everybody in the league is trying to figure out how they’re going to get him out of there. That has started.
The Bucks did not make any moves at the deadline and Kidd said Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker were untouchable as far as the team was concerned. “Those guys are vault guys,” Kidd said. “They’re in the vault. You don’t start a conversation with Jabari or Giannis. There’s no conversation to be had, right. So word gets around that those guys are untradeable.”
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January 18, 2021 | 2:40 pm EST Update
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