Giannis Antetokounmpo will inevitably hear the murmurs of talking heads and #NBATwitter, the speculation that he’ll have to leave Milwaukee if he ever wants to win a championship.
If he so chooses, the 25-year-old superstar is uniquely suited to exercise his will on the league and strong-arm the Bucks franchise into trading him to a select list of desired locations. It wouldn’t be the first time a player in his position has done just that.
That doesn’t appear likely to happen, though.
“It’s not happening,” Antetokounmpo told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “That’s not happening.”
Don’t get things twisted, Antetokounmpo will be an unrestricted free agent in the 2021 offseason and will have every opportunity under the sun available to him then but the 2018-19 league MVP has plenty of work to do before he even considers, at least publicly, his options for 2021 and beyond.
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.
Barring any major offseason trades, the Bucks will return a largely similar roster next to the one that they used in the bubble, so they’ll need to get creative and improve from within. Not underperforming when the games mattered most would help too.
Fortunately, the Bucks were historically dominant on the defensive end this season and fielded three players named to the All-Defensive team. Though his tactics were called into question for several reasons during the postseason, head coach Mike Budenholzer is also an award winner in his field. Teammate Khris Middleton is a veritable All-Star.
It remains to be seen what the Bucks’ ceiling, as presently constructed, could be but its unquestionably higher than what they showed in 2020.
At least now we know now that we’ll get at least one more opportunity to gauge it when teams return to action in 2020-21.