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
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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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September 20, 2020 | 12:22 pm EDT Update
So, I asked, how did Lakers coach Frank Vogel see it after he had watched the film? “We were definitely the aggressors in the game, and the box score I have right here has us with 28 (fouls),” Vogel said. “We got called for 28 fouls. They got called for 26.” It was a savvy stance to take, albeit oversimplified. So as Vogel left his media session to rejoin his team, I admitted to him that I hadn’t noticed that the final fouls tally was in the Nuggets’ favor. “I do my research,” he said with a grin.
When Orange County Register Lakers beat writer Kyle Goon asked Vogel about James’ shot selection this season, it was refreshing to hear a candid and fascinating response from the Lakers coach rather than something more political. James, whose midrange jumper has been so effective for so many years now, has focused more on shots at the rim and beyond the arc this season, in part because of the message being sent by the coaching staff. “It is definitely a coaching point,” Vogel said. “You know, we want to have an analytics-based shot selection mindset with our team. … It’s the free throw No. 1; layup dunk No. 2; corner 3, No. 3; arc 3, No. 4, and midrange is the fifth priority shot we could have. But I will not ever tell my team not to take midrange shots if they are open shots. The No. 1 analytic for me is ‘Are you open?’ or ‘Are you guarded?’ That applies to shots at the rim, applies to 3-point line and applies to midrange. I’ll take an open shot over any zone that you can put up the shot from, and we want to work for open shots.”
“We’re not trying to intimidate anyone,” said Rondo, who had seven points, nine assists and a plus-13 in nearly 22 minutes. “We’re just playing basketball. With the guys we have — Dwight (and his) physical ability, he’s just playing the game. No one’s out there trying to bully people. We’re playing to our strengths. “I’ve been telling (Howard) the last two weeks (that) he’s going to be our X-factor in the series. I’m very happy that he got an opportunity to come out and play and display his talent, and show how much we need him. Like I said, I told him in the Houston series, things don’t go his way sometimes but in a championship run you need all 15 guys, and that’s what we displayed (in Game 1). Coach being able to go deep in the bench, and use guys that we haven’t used last series, so it’s a testament to the management, the way we’re able to be flexible — go small, go big, and (in Game 1) Dwight Howard, especially, was great for us.”
“This has been something I’ve never dealt with. There’s a lot going on for me individually, (and) for my family. And then the rehab, just with (the coronavirus in society) and the bubble and trying to do the best that I can to not have to quarantine for many days coming back here and having to quarantine — basically taking five days off from treatment and rehab and then trying to get myself ready to play in the Eastern Conference Finals, that’s something that’s a daunting task for sure. So for me … I’ve tried to do the best I can each day with it, and not put pressure on myself and just try to help us win basketball games, honestly.”
“To be honest, I didn’t get much sleep the last 48 hours,” Brown, who clashed with Smart in the passionate locker room scene, said when asked about the recovery process for their team. “I was so antsy to get back and play basketball. I don’t think the last two games exemplify what this team is about. So, I couldn’t wait to come out and be the best version of myself and try to add to a win. And I’m glad to be a part of this team and this organization and I’m proud of how we responded. … At the end of the day, we’re a family. We represent this organization. We represent each other and we won’t ever let anything come in between that. We’ve got a tremendous opportunity and we understand that and nothing’s going to stop us from trying to maximize that.”
Back in February, Us Weekly published a story about how Vanessa had been leaning on her mother, Sofia Laine, as she grieved the loss of Kobe and hers and Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Giannia. Laine had moved in with Vanessa at one point, but she now says her daughter has kicked her out of the Bryant home. Laine sat down for an interview with Univision that is set to air in its entirety on Monday. A preview clip, which is only in Spanish, was shared on social media. According to Erika Marie of Hot New Hip Hop, a teary-eyed Laine claims in the interview that her daughter has kicked her out of the Bryant home and demanded that she return a car Vanessa had given to her.
September 20, 2020 | 9:24 am EDT Update
Celtics coach Brad Stevens was hesitant to praise Hayward for his sacrifice partly because he learned about the revelation through the media instead of directly. “If he wants to go back for the birth of his child, that takes priority,” Stevens said. “That’s his decision and it’s, you know, I want to leave it at that. That’s his decision.”
Rachel Nichols: Hayward told me his wife Robyn isn’t in active labor yet, but she’s progressed thru enough pre-labor stages that the baby could come at any time, from tonight to the next few days. He doesn’t have his phone on the bench with him (per NBA rules) but will be checking it at the half