Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t one to buddy up with other NBA superstars. He’s didn’t come up through the American AAU system where he got to know other elite young players, and he’s not a guy taking banana boat vacations to the Caribbean with his superstar buddies. Antetokounmpo keeps a tight circle — which includes his brothers in the league Thanasis Antetokounmpo and Kostas Antetokounmpo — and likes it that way.
That doesn’t mean Antetokounmpo wouldn’t team up with another superstar.
“This is a statement that I have never made before: If LeBron and Kevin Durant and Anthony Davis came to Milwaukee; I would have been good with that. I am not interested if I am the top, second or third name, okay? Because I want to win…
“For sure when I was 18 or 19 years old, maybe I didn’t understand what you need to do to win. But right now, I am 25 and I want to win because when I retire, that’s what people will remember. And if I got LeBron, KD, Davis, if all those came, I wouldn’t mind at all. I don’t care if I am the top (player) on the team.”
Be sure to note he said if LeBron or Davis came to Milwaukee — just in case anyone was trying to read anything into what the Greek Freak was saying. The “Antetokounmpo is coming to team up with LeBron James” speculation that came out those comments are Lakers’ exceptionalism at its worst.
Giannis also had words for people thinking there was jealously because Kostas Antetokounmpo won a ring this year with the Lakers before Giannis did.
“Those who say: “Kostas won a title before Giannis”. Guys, that thing does not exist. We were all sleeping together in a small room. And Thanasis is a two-time Greek champion, Kostas is an NBA champion and I am a two-time MVP. We are one family. Imagine what my mother is feeling”.
Whether or not Antetokounmpo will sign the super-max contract extension in front of him to stay with the Bucks remains the biggest story hanging over the NBA.
He has until Dec. 21 to decide — he can get the exact same contract from the Bucks next offseason, but not signing now would break the dam on speculation about if he wants to stay with the Bucks, if they have to trade him (Milwaukee would not do that), and much more. Sources have told NBC Sports it is likely Antetokounmpo re-signs with Milwaukee, either now or next summer — and the Bucks are confident he will — but he is such a singular talent that other teams are keeping cap space open specifically waiting to see what he does. Others have set themselves up for trades to land him, just in case.
Antetokounmpo’s decision, whatever it is, is the first domino to fall in a lot of other moves.
For now, all he wants to talk about is winning.