Credit Giannis Antetokounmpo for being honest.
When asked about their future, most superstars say, “I want to retire with” whatever team they are on, even as they keep eyeing greener pastures elsewhere. For example, at different points in his career Kyrie Irving was going to stay with the Cavaliers and later the Celtics, only to move on to the Nets (and possibly to Los Angeles, eventually).
Antetokounmpo is honest. He says he isn’t looking to leave Milwaukee — the only home he and his family have known in the United States, a place of stability for him — but one never knows what the future might hold. He said it again recently, when asked by Fox Sports 32 in Chicago if he would ever consider playing for the Bulls.
Giannis on playing for the #Bulls someday tonight on The Sports Zone on Fox 32 Chicago.@fox32news @foxkickoff @LouCanellis @CassieCarlsonTV @Giannis_An34 pic.twitter.com/mgvvAXwMej
— Fox 32 Chicago Sports (@foxkickoff) August 15, 2022
“Down the line, you never know. You never know how life brings it, maybe I play for Chicago. But right now I’m committed to Milwaukee.”
What drives Antetokounmpo is a desire to win.
“I have so much energy I’m so hungry to accomplish more,” Antetokounmpo recently told NBC Sports. “I want to go out there and help you know my team in the best way possible. And a lot of people know that I’m a winner. I love to win. I love to go out there and leave everything on the court.”
Right now, that winning can come with the Bucks, who are again a top title contender after having won it all in 2021. Giannis has four years and $188.9 million left on his current deal in Milwaukee, with the final season of that a player option. The first chance they get, the Bucks will offer Antetokounmpo a max contract extension.
Antetokounmpo probably signs that extension. However, if the Bucks fall way off and are a middle-of-the-pack team in a few years, the Greek Freak has always been up front that his thought process could be different. Winning could take him elsewhere. That honesty is a refreshing change from players just lying to fans to make the questions go away.
(For the record Bucks fans, none of this means the “media is trying to push him to a big market.” Outside of some homers in New York and Los Angeles, nobody in the NBA media really cares where he plays. Milwaukee, Chicago, CSKA Moscow, whatever. Antetokounmpo and his child-like love of the game and family are great stories and will draw headlines wherever he goes. The decision is his, not ours, and he is honest about his feelings. It’s on all of you to deal with that.)
Today, Antetokounmpo isn’t even focused on the Bucks, he’s focused on the Greek national team heading into EuroBasket.