If the Milwaukee Bucks can’t keep Giannis Antetokounmpo, there’s no shortage of teams that would love to have the Greek Freak play for them, particularly the Golden State Warriors, Miami Heat, and Toronto Raptors.
Antetokounmpo is the best player on the Milwaukee Bucks in the 50 years, since they drafted Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). He could put the Bucks in a tough position if he doesn’t sign a contract extension.
Antetokounmpo, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, also has the inside track to winning back-to-back MVP trophies. The Greek Freak had a 31.71 PER rating, which ranked #1 in the NBA. Before the shutdown, the Greek Freak was the NBA’s third-best scorer and rebounder. He averaged 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds, 5.8 assists, and 1.0 blocks per game.
The Bucks were one of the best teams in the NBA over the past two seasons. This year’s Bucks went on an 18-game winning streak to start the season 24-3. They were on pace to win 70 games, which had only been previously achieved by Michael Jordan’s Bulls and Steph Curry’s Warriors.
However, no one knows how the shutdown will affect teams when the NBA eventually resumes action in a post-pandemic environment. One thing is certain though; the shutdown altered the Bucks’ momentum.
The Bucks are one of the co-favorites to win the 2020 NBA championship with the LA Lakers at 5/2 odds.
Should He Stay or Should He Go?
Maybe Joe Strummer from The Clash has the answer to the Greek Freak’s inevitable quandary. Stay with the team that drafted him? Or chase championship glory on a super team?
The Greek Freak expressed sincere interest to stay with the Bucks. The Bucks had faith and drafted him as an 18-year old. They selected him with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. Antetokounmpo, born in Greece to Nigerian parents, drew the attention of scouts from the Bucks after an impressive stint with the pro ball in the Greek league. The Bucks took a flier on him and a dozen other teams deeply regret skipping on the raw prospect from Greece.
However, if he realizes his window to win a championship in Milwaukee is quickly closing, he could end up elsewhere in pursuit of an NBA championship.
If Antetokounmpo doesn’t sign a contract extension, the Bucks could lose their most valuable asset since Alcindor/Jabbar. The Bucks won the NBA championship in 1971. The Greek Freak is their best shot at winning another title, otherwise, they might have to wait for another half-century to pass before they land a bona fide superstar.
Jabbar won three MVPs with the Bucks; one as Lew Alcindor in 1971 and two after his name change as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1972 and 1974.
Greek Freak Future: Golden State Warriors or Miami Heat?
The latest NBA rumors suggest the Golden State Warriors and the Miami Heat are the most logical suitors.
The Miami Heat were the big surprise this season. Jimmy Butler led a very young team to a 41-24 record, making them the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Heat definitely need another big gun if they’d like to bring another championship back to Miami. Pat Riley always has a few tricks up his sleeve. He engineered the LeBron James heist. If he can get LeBron to leave his hometown team for the Heat, then Riley can certainly persuade the Greek Freak to bring his MVP skills to South Beach.
“Giannis is a great fit with the Heat,” said ex-NBA star Kendrick Perkins. “He and (Jimmy) Butler complement each other very well. The Heat culture is Giannis. He would be phenomenal here.”
Once Kevin Durant left Golden State in free agency last offseason, the team knew they had to find another big man to fill KD’s hole. The only hindrance with Golden State is cap space. Steph Curry is about to earn the richest contract in NBA history next season at $45.8 million. Klay Thompson also got paid with a max-contract. Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins aren’t cheap either. How could the Warriors afford to pay the Freak a $37.5 million max-contract?
MSG Freak or North of the Border Freak?
The New York Knicks desperately need a marquee name after Durant and Kyrie Irving signed with the Brooklyn Nets instead. Will the Greek Freak use the Knicks as a ploy, much like Michael Jordan did to get a $30 million raise with the Chicago Bulls in 1996? Or will the Knicks actually make a play?
The Greek Freak at MSG would sell out every seat in the house, including the SRO on the Sky Bridge. Plus, he’d rake in millions more in endorsements while playing in the largest media market in the world.
Don’t count out the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors have been trying to make enough room to accommodate a big star like the Greek Freak.
“I think for Toronto, they look at this season and then they look at the summer of 2021, when like a lot of teams, they want to be in the sweepstakes for Giannis Antetokounmpo,” said ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.