While Giannis Antetokounmpo has promised not to request a trade this offseason, it’s a long way from a full commitment to the franchise.
With his legacy hanging in the balance, the clock is on for Giannis to start validating his greatness with Championships and if the Bucks continually fail to surround their star with the necessary pieces, he could look elsewhere to meet his goals.
Naturally, several teams have already been linked to Antetokounmpo’s future, including the L.A. Clippers. In a recent article on The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor detailed how Doc Rivers could play a major factor in his upcoming free-agent decision.
The truth is that Giannis can choose from all 30 teams, because every one would move whatever salaries necessary to create the cap space for him. Or, as Jimmy Butler’s move to Miami last summer showed, a sign-and-trade can be worked out. Take the Clippers, for example: Multiple league sources have recently said the Clippers plan to pursue a deal for Giannis. One of the sources said Giannis has an “admiration” for Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.
But who doesn’t have an admiration for Doc? Does that really even mean anything? Rumors will persist regarding Giannis’s future until he signs a deal with the Bucks or someone else.
The Bucks are still considered the favorites to re-sign Giannis at this point, but the Clippers might not be too far behind. With Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, and a bench that goes five deep, the Clippers are a team that is built to win now and are being led by a coach that seems to already have a connection to the 2020 Defensive Player of The Year.
Drop Giannis into that situation and, suddenly, you’ve got the next great NBA superteam. His dominance, especially on the defensive end, combined with the talents of Kawhi and George (if they find a way to keep him) would essentially guarantee a title.
But does Giannis really want to risk his reputation and legacy? By joining two other stars, and creating a superteam, he would become a villain — something the young star has yet to experience at this point in his career.
It will be up to him to weight the risks and determine the best course of action for his career. In the meantime, the NBA community will continue to buzz with rumors, whispers, and the regular talks about what might be in store for the (soon to be) two-time MVP.