The team with the best record in the NBA lives to fight another day. The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Miami Heat 118-115 in overtime to cut their series deficit to 3-1. Reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo injured his ankle in the win but could play in Game 5.
With the Bucks on the cusp of being eliminated prematurely from the playoffs, some are questioning if the Greek Freak will sign a super-max extension and stay in Milwaukee for the foreseeable future.
NBC Bay Area’s Monte Poole says some around the league can see a path to Antetokounmpo, although he hasn’t publicly said he would not re-sign:
“There is no tangible or whispered evidence that Giannis wants out; we’re not ready to accept as a hint the decision in May by his youngest brother, Alex, to leave Milwaukee after six years and sign with a pro team Spain. Giannis has been consistent in stating his allegiance, saying he loves Milwaukee, loves the franchise and wants to bring a parade to the city that in 2013 welcomed him as a teenager.”
The Antetokounmpo to the Golden State Warriors rumors will begin to amplify the longer he takes to decide on his extension. The Dubs have reportedly explored how they can get a deal done if Antetokounmpo decides he wants out of Milwaukee.
General manager Bob Myers will have to get creative if the possibility exists. Golden State has three first-round picks over the next two seasons, including the No. 2 selection this year, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ top-three protected 2021 pick, and the Warriors own pick next season.
Poole says the Dubs do not want to move Klay Thompson, who will be back on the court next season, but if the Bucks ask for Klay in any Giannis deal, will Myers be able to say no?
Antetokounmpo is only 25 years old and will be amongst the NBA’s best players for a long time to come. If the Greek Freak wants to play for the Warriors, Myers has to find a way to make it happen. There is no way Milwaukee can let Antetokounmpo walk away for nothing if he informs the team he will not re-sign, similar to how Anthony Davis did with the New Orleans Pelicans.
There are many “what ifs” right now, but if the Bucks come up short in the postseason again, the rumors will begin to fly sooner than later.