Lakers, Knicks in line if Giannis Antetokounmpo ever decides to leave Bucks

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NBA Player Giannis Antetokounmpo's Trip To China

NBA Player Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Trip To China

Giannis Antetokounmpo is choosing to keep the pressure on the Milwaukee Bucks.

Fresh off a summer where the Bucks spent big to retain core players Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, plus fired coach Mike Budenholzer and brought in Adrian Griffin (not things that happen without a nod from the Greek Freak), Antetokounmpo said he cares about winning more than he cares about money and he’s not going to re-sign with the Bucks if they are not “all in” on winning. Which the Bucks showed they were this summer, but that apparently was not enough. “I don’t want to be 20 years on the same team and don’t win another championship,” Antetokounmpo said.

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The tipping point comes next summer when Milwaukee can and will offer the largest contract in NBA history to Antetokounmpo. If Antetokounmpo chooses not to sign it the Bucks might have to trade him, the Lakers and Knicks want to be at the front of the line to land the two-time MVP, reports Marc Stein in his latest newsletter.

The Lakers and the Knicks are already being mentioned as franchises presumed to interest Antetokounmpo down the road if he does decide to move on from Milwaukee, which just made a slew of moves (re-signing Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez and replacing Mike Budenholzer as coach with Adrian Griffin) to try to appease its face of the franchise.

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The line will be A LOT longer than those two teams if Antetokounmpo decides to leave. Do you think Pat Riley and the Heat are sitting this one out? Warriors ownership wants to transition to whatever is next and would likely blow things up to land Antetokounmpo and remain a contender for years. Toronto is known to have had interest in a run at Antetokounmpo previously. Philadelphia, Phoenix, and the Los Angeles Clippers all seem like teams that would make a push. And that’s just off the top of my head, there would be 29 teams at least making a call.

The smart money is on Antetokounmpo taking the big bag next summer and staying with the Bucks at least another few years while this core remains a contender. However, with Lopez at age 35, Jrue Holliday at 33 and Middleton at 32, this team is getting old and a pivot is coming if Milwaukee is going to remain a contender built around Antetokounmpo. If that pivot is not smooth, Antetokounmpo could ask for a trade.

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That’s all years down the line. The only thing we know for now is that Antetokounmpo’s decision to fire a warning shot across the bow of the Bucks about his future has made that a topic that will not go away all season long.

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