This bizarre bubble-postseason has not been kind to Giannis Antetokounmpo. Those hoping to snatch the soon-to-be two-time MVP from the Bucks, however, are loving it.
It took an all-world performance from Kris Middleton in overtime to give the Bucks a lifeline in their second round series vs. the Heat, now entering Tuesday’s Game 5 down 3-1 as Giannis remains questionable with an ankle injury. If Milwaukee gets bounced again, it would be the second year running that the Bucks have posted the best regular season record in the Eastern Conference only to lose before reaching the Finals.
Antetokounmpo is due to become a free agent during the 2021 offseason, and the conversations about his future in Wisconsin are only growing louder in the wake of this year’s postseason struggles.
Should he decide to leave, The Warriors, who are only two years removed one of the most shocking free agent additions in NBA history, would obviously be a suitor for Giannis, who has openly voiced his admiration for Stephen Curry.
Making it work would be difficult, however. For starters, the Warriors would need to land Antetokounmpo via trade, as their current salary combined with a shrinking cap would not allow room for another max deal. What’s more, it’s highly unlikely the Bucks would elect to trade Giannis to the Warriors, creating another NBA juggernaut for the foreseeable future, even if (and it’s a big if) Golden State could offer the best package of players/picks on the open market.
With that in mind, The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson sees only one scenario where Giannis could end up in San Francisco.
“The only way they could get him would be a trade, and it would have to be Giannis saying ‘I want out and I want to go to the Warriors,'” Thompson told Murph & Mac on Tuesday. “That’s what it has to be. Even if he says they want out they’ve got a shot, but then at that point it’s like who’s got the best offer and Milwaukee can kind’ve hold out.
“They really need him to say ‘I want out, and I only want to go to the Warriors, and if you don’t trade me to the Warriors, wherever you trade me to I’m leaving. I’m not re-signing.’ That’s kind of like the perfect storm that needs to happen, in order for it to work. Then whatever the Warriors offer whether it’s (Andrew) Wiggins and the two first-round picks or Draymond (Green) and the two first-round picks, now you’re not comparing that to whatever everybody else might be able to offer.”
Should Giannis demand a trade but not limit his destination to the Warriors, their odds to land him would plummet, but Thompson believes that the Bucks losing to the Heat would take Miami off the table as a potential landing spot, increasing Golden State’s chances a bit.
“I’ll tell you what’s helping, If you’re Giannis and you do leave, guess where you can’t go now? That’s the place that made a lot of sense, but he can’t go there now, unless he really doesn’t care what people think. Which everyone says that, but it’s a little more difficult when you’re in it. But you can’t watch what (Kevin Durant) just went through, and think it would be cool to go to the team you lost to.
“Miami has effectively taken themselves out of this hypothetical Giannis situation, so that’s one major suitor that would be good for him, that’s kind of out of the mix, which helps the Warriors.”
Listen to the full interview below.