Milwaukee superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, regarded by many as the best basketball player in the world, recently made headlines with cryptic comments about his future with the Bucks.
Ahead of the 2020-21 season, the two-time league MVP and the Bucks agreed to a five-year contract extension worth $228 million. Six months later, Giannis led Milwaukee to the franchise’s first NBA Championship in 50 years.
During a recent interview with Tania Ganguli of the New York Times, the future Hall of Famer made it clear that he won’t sign a new deal with the Bucks unless he sees that they’re committed to building another championship team:
“You’ve got to see the dynamics. How the coach is going to be, how we’re going to be together. At the end of the day, I feel like all my teammates know and the organization knows that I want to win a championship. As long as we’re on the same page with that and you show me and we go together to win a championship, I’m all for it.
The moment I feel like, oh, yeah, we’re trying to rebuild —There will never be hard feelings with the Milwaukee Bucks. believe that we’ve had 10 unbelievable years, and there’s no doubt I gave everything for the city of Milwaukee. Everything. Every single night, even when I’m hurt. I am a Milwaukee Buck. I bleed green. I know this…
But at the end of the day, being a winner, it’s over that goal. Winning a championship comes first. I don’t want to be 20 years on the same team and don’t win another championship.”
Following those comments, Dalton Trigg of Dallas Basketball from FanNation of Sports Illustrated speculated that trade talks could “heat up” between the Mavericks and Bucks for Antetokounmpo:
“All of that speculation has died down over the last few years, as Antetokounmpo has since won a championship in Milwaukee, and the Mavs have finally added a second star next to Luka Doncic in Kyrie Irving, as well as a young, revamped roster with improved defensive potential. However, those pipe-dream talks could heat up again between now and next summer…
If it doesn’t, and the Bucks are unable to wash the taste of losing to the No. 8 seed Miami Heat in the first round out of Antetokounmpo’s mouth … the Mavs, who have a little draft capital, team-friendly contracts, and some intriguing young prospects on the roster, should be better positioned to make a move for the Greek Freak this time around.
If the pipe-dream falls through again? Well, that’s ok, because the Mavs still have Doncic, Irving, and all those pieces GM Nico Harrison gathered together to create a brighter future in Dallas regardless.”
If the seven-time All-Star isn’t willing to sign an extension with Milwaukee down the road, the organization’s best bet would be to trade him for a massive haul. And just about any team with the necessary cap space would surely have significant interest in the 28-year-old.
But of course, any Giannis trade talk will end if he and the Bucks can win another championship in 2024…or at least if they can show they’re committed to building a contender around him.
Milwaukee fired well-respected head coach Mike Budenholzer and replaced him with Adrian Griffin. Needless to say, the pressure is on the organization to endure another deep playoff run after another untimely playoff exit.
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