What to make of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s situation and explaining Ryan Arcidiacono’s signing

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Jan 9, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) signals to teammates during the during the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 9, 2023; New York, New York, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) signals to teammates during the during the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports / © Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

SNY’s Ian Begley will be responding to and breaking down answers to Knicks questions from readers. Here’s the latest…


With training camp two weeks away, here’s a mailbag culled from some tweet replies over the past few days:

@Knickstape2005 — In my opinion, Giannis is doing what stars do in this era. He is putting pressure on the Bucks to put enough talent around him to contend. At the end of the day, the only real leverage he has is to threaten to leave if they don’t upgrade the roster

I fully agree, Robert. The difference with Giannis is the contract. He’s eligible for an extension. He says he’s not going to sign it. If he doesn’t extend with Milwaukee, Antetokounmpo can be a free agent in 2025. So even though Giannis’ only real leverage is the threat of leaving, it’s still a significant amount of leverage.

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Milwaukee will presumably do all it can to keep Giannis. But it is operating on a tight timeline because of his pending free agency/reluctance to extend. An aside: in an article earlier this week, I mentioned that Houston and OKC can put together stronger trade packages than the Knicks. The Nets might be able to do so as well, depending on who is in the package.

@AlexMorizio74 — Why so risky? If they strike out, nothing new

In my view, the risk involves passing up on other trade opportunities. Let’s say Toronto makes OG Anunoby available in trade talks. The Knicks have enough trade capital to make a strong offer for Anunoby. Based on past history, we can assume that they would be interested in getting him. But if they also plan to make a run at a Giannis trade, they’ll have to hold on to some of that trade capital. Therein lies the risk, in my view.

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They may have to pass on good trade opportunities over the next 18 months or so if they want to be in on Giannis. And Giannis could decide to stay in Milwaukee or orchestrate a trade to a different team. In that scenario, the Knicks would have wasted more than a full season waiting for a player that they ultimately failed to land. To me, that’s a big risk.

Apr 10, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Ryan Arcidiacono (51) shoots the ball against the Toronto Raptors during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Ryan Arcidiacono (51) shoots the ball against the Toronto Raptors during the second half at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports / © Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

@JrLawrenceG — (The signing of Ryan Arcidiacono is) such an odd move. This team is loaded with guards and wings and has a shortage on PFs after (Julius) Randle

I understand your point on roster balance, @JrLawrenceG. But I still think the Knicks will enter training camp with the idea that Josh Hart fills the backup power forward role. As we’ve noted in the past, some Knick strategists and decision-makers like the idea of Hart playing in the second unit and making plays as a screener out of the short role. So maybe that’s why they decided against signing another backup power forward? That’s just a guess.

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@Noah__Janowski — (DaQuan) Jeffries and (Isaiah) Roby are non-guaranteed though right? So they have 14 standard deals but only 12 are guaranteed?

Yes, that’s correct, Noah. Twelve of their contracts are fully guaranteed. Jeffries’ deal includes some guaranteed money and would become fully guaranteed if he is on the roster on Jan. 10. Roby also has some guaranteed money for this season and would be fully guaranteed if he is on the roster on Jan. 10.

The Knicks also have 21 players in total under contract. That is the maximum amount teams can carry during training camp. Sometimes, a team will waive a player on an Exhibit 10 deal and sign another player to an Exhibit 10 deal to get them into camp and retain their G League rights. So the Knicks’ roster today may not look the same throughout training camp.



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