Giannis Antetokounmpo recently turned a lot of heads thanks to a report that claimed that he’d considering leaving the Milwaukee Bucks in 2020 if they underperform, favoring winning over his supermax contract extension.
“I want the Bucks to build a winning culture,” Elberse and her co-author, master’s student Melcolm Ruffin, quoted Antetokounmpo as saying, via Rick Romell of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “So far, we have been doing great, and, if this lasts, there’s no other place I want to be. But if we’re underperforming in the NBA next year, deciding whether to sign becomes a lot more difficult,” Giannis said.
Naturally, he’s reportedly in several team’s agendas, with rumors of the New York Knicks, Miami Heat, and Golden State Warriors interested in making a run at him in case he actually enters free agency.
However, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith claims the Knicks and Heat would be off the table for Giannis because he’s going to want to leave the Eastern Conference once Kevin Durant comes back healthy to play for the Brooklyn Nets:
“The Brooklyn Nets once Kevin Durant arrives will be title contenders because who are you going to defend to knock off the Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference if Kevin Durant returns? As a matter of fact, here’s what I’m going to tell you: If Kevin Durant returns and his healthy, Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t stay in Milwaukee past next year. He’ll leave for Golden State! Because, why bother in the Eastern Conference with Kevin Durant and Kyrie?”
Kyrie Irving put on a show during his debut with the Brooklyn Nets, scoring 50 points with 7 assists and no turnovers, and the sky seems to be the limit for that team once Kevin Durant comes back from his Achilles injury.
Giannis has constantly assured his desire to stay put at Milwaukee for the remainder of his career and constantly played down any interest in joining a big-market kind of team, but he’s a competitor and all competitors want to win at all costs.
The Warriors could offer Giannis a huge chance to compete for a ring once Klay Thompson is back at full strength, and they wouldn’t mind moving D’Angelo Russell at a fair price if that meant they’re getting the Greek Freak.
Of course, it will also depend on how the Bucks fare from now until Durant is able to come back, but it’s difficult to argue with Stephen A’s logic after Giannis’ comments.
If you want to take a look at Stephen A. Smith’s full argument about the Nets, Knicks, and Giannis, just check out the video below (quote starts at 4:35)