Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, LeBron James, Bradley Beal, CJ McCollum, Rudy Gobert, Blake Griffin and Victor Oladipo are just some of the players that could become free agents ahead of the 2021-22 season and the Warriors reportedly want to start positioning themselves to make a splash.
Antetokounmpo could sign a five-year, $247 million extension with the Bucks next summer, which would be the largest contract in NBA history but the Warriors are a threat to go after the Greek Freak. The Warriors did it once when they added Kevin Durant in 2016 when no one expected it and some NBA insiders believe that the reigning NBA MVP could end up in San Francisco.
Marc Stein of the New York Times reported in February that the Warriors would consider pursuing Antetokounmpo once his contract expires in 2021 and ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reaffirmed the idea on Monday’s episode of “The Jump” on ESPN.
“The Warriors have always been the big threat to go after Giannis,” Shelburne said. “One he’s friends with Steph Curry, they have that same agency [Octagon], they know each other. It would be a difficult construction to make happen, but that is the one looming threat.”
This is what a Bucks front office source recently told Sean Deveney of Heavy.com:
“Keeping Giannis, it’s a focus obviously. But fighting the Warriors is not a focus. The Warriors are not the concern in the least. They’d have a long way to go to get him to Golden State, they’d have to give away a lot. He has never given any indication that he wants to leave Milwaukee. So a lot of that stuff, it is more chatter than anything.”
The source is right, the Warriors are committed to Stephen Curry for three years and $130 million, Klay Thompson for five years and $192 million, Draymond Green for five years and $118 million and D’Angelo Russell for four years and $118 million and Thompson and either Green or Russell would have to go to help create room for Antetokounmpo.
Antetokounmpo is coming off an incredible regular season, he led the Bucks to the best record in the entire NBA at 60-22, secured home court advantage throughout the playoffs despite being without Malcolm Brogdon (foot), Nikola Mirotic (left thumb), Tony Snell (left ankle), Pau Gasol (ankle) and Donte DiVincenzo (heel) at different points of the season.
All aspects of The Greek Freak’s game were either pretty good or elite in the regular season, except for his 3-point shot but he can improve it as his career progresses.
The Bucks selected Antetokounmpo with the 15th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft and he averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 32.8 minutes over 72 games, to go along with 110 blocks and 92 steals. He also ranked fourth in the league among power forwards with a 3.30 defensive real plus-minus and he can guard all five positions, so it was no coincidence that he was nominated for the Defensive Player of the Year award as well.
Odds To Win The Eastern Conference
(Courtesy of 5Dimes)
Milwaukee Bucks +160
Philadelphia 76ers +250
Boston Celtics +800
Brooklyn Nets +865
Indiana Pacers +1250
Toronto Raptors +1500
Miami Heat +2500
Orlando Magic +4500
Atlanta Hawks +9000
Detroit Pistons +10000
Chicago Bulls +18000
Washington Wizards +50000
New York Knicks +50000
Cleveland Cavaliers +75000
Charlotte Hornets +100000