With the No. 1 seed Milwaukee Bucks eliminated in the second round by the No. 5 seed Miami Heat, fans and front offices from Golden State to Miami then north to Toronto — and everywhere in between — are plotting how to entice and trade for another disgruntled superstar.
Except, Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t forcing a trade out of Milwaukee this summer. Via Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, who got an exclusive with the Greek Freak after he watched his Bucks get eliminated.
“It’s not happening. That’s not happening,” Antetokounmpo told Yahoo Sports…
“Some see a wall and go in [another direction]. I plow through it. We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season.”
That is music to Milwaukee fans’ ears.
They also are not safe from losing their superstar.
Antetokounmpo is eligible for a supermax extension this offseason, worth about $222 million (assuming the salary cap stays even for a couple of seasons). The Bucks are going to present him the offer, the question is, will he sign the contract, or wait to try and put pressure on the organization to improve?
What this is not is another unhappy superstar desperate to force his way out of a place he doesn’t want to be, or to the place he wants to be. This is not Anthony Davis or Kawhi Leonard or a long list of other superstars. Milwaukee is the only home Antetokounmpo has ever known in the United States, the place where his partner and son are, the only place he and his family have been able to live together safely (growing up as a poor immigrant in Athens was not close to safe). Antetokounmpo wants to stay and make it work.
“If winning a championship was easy, everyone would have one,” Antetokounmpo told Yahoo Sports. “We lost. Everyone saw that we lost. It’s disappointing, but what are we going to do? We’re going to keep working. I’ve got confidence in my teammates.”
Antetokounmpo is also incredibly competitive and wants to win. Meaning win championships. And if he doesn’t think that can happen in Milwaukee, then all bets are off.
Expect the Bucks to be aggressive in reshaping the roster, GM Jon Horst has shown to be a risk-taker. Chris Paul‘s name has come up in rumors. Milwaukee is not going to trade Antetokounmpo unless he demands it — small market teams do not land MVPs/Defensive Players of the Year very often, whatever they got back in a trade would be a downgrade.
Antetokounmpo is not giving up on the Bucks, yet. The rumors and speculation will fly, but Antetokounmpo has a tight inner circle that is not going to leak. He, with those advisors, will make his decision ultimately.
In the short term, he is not forcing his way out of Milwaukee.