It’s a rumor that won’t be going away anytime soon.
Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks are officially out of the playoffs. The 25 year old can sign a supermax extension this offseason that could be worth up to $250 million, depending on what happens with the salary cap after the pandemic’s economic fallout.
Antetokounmpo said he is committed to staying with the Bucks, but that could change over the next few months. The Golden State Warriors have reportedly had their eye on Antetokounmpo for quite some time and could be an enticing option for Antetokounmpo.
Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus wrote an interesting piece about the situation and spoke to several people from around the league about what could happen with Antetokounmpo:
“He could be on the Warriors in three months,” a former Western Conference executive said.
The basic assumption, if he decides to leave, is that Antetokounmpo will want to play in one of the NBA’s major markets on a contending team. That’s why Golden State, with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, is an obvious fit (at least on paper).
The Warriors can offer the massive contract of Andrew Wiggins ($94.7 million over the next three years), along with the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NBA draft, a lightly protected future Minnesota Timberwolves first-rounder and Eric Paschall. Wiggins’ contract is far from ideal, but the Bucks may feel compelled to make the best out of a bad situation. High picks can be extremely difficult to come by.
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.”
If Antetokounmpo doesn’t sign the supermax in the offseason, Milwaukee will have to look at their options. The Bucks can’t risk losing one of the game’s best players for nothing if he decides to bolt in free agency next year.
Antetokounmpo seems to have an appreciation for Stephen Curry, calling him “one of his favorite players in the league.” The fit is evident with the Dubs, who should be back contending for an NBA title again next season.
The Toronto Raptors, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks and L.A. Clippers are all reportedly considering making a run at the Greek Freak if he is available in 2021. But, none of those teams have high draft picks in their pocket that the Bucks will surely seek in any trade.
The only path for the Warriors to get Antetokounmpo is through a trade, and this offseason looks like the best opportunity to get it done.
We will get more clarity on the situation in the coming months, but until we hear something official from Antetokounmpo, the rumors will continue to fly.
On to some links:
The Warriors will have some options in free agency with the mid-level exception and veterans minimum available. NBC Bay Area’s Monte Poole looks at six realistic targets for the Dubs. He lists Jae Crowder as one of them, who I believe will be a great fit with Golden State.
General manager Bob Myers will have plenty of options on what to do with the No. 2 pick. Fansided’s Tony Pesta says using the selection on big man James Wiseman might be a bad move.