Giannis Antetokounmpo ready to play for new NBA team?

By Matt Johnson
Sep 6, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) reacts after making a basket against the Miami Heat during the first half of game four of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Giannis Antetokounmpo is coming off consecutive seasons as the NBA MVP, but winning a championship is far and away his top priority. If that means leaving the Milwaukee Bucks, it seems the NBA star is already open to playing for a new team.

Just days after holding a private meeting with Milwaukee’s ownership, Giannis took part in an interview after winning NBA MVP for the second consecutive season. If Bucks fans were worried the NBA’s top player was willing to leave, those fears only intensified on Friday.

Giannis Antetokounmpo ready to play for another team?

Winning consecutive NBA MVP awards is an unbelievable honor, especially for a 25-year-old player. On Friday, Giannis became just the second player in NBA history to win multiple MVP awards before turning 26 – joining LeBron James and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Of course, Milwaukee’s star has accomplished even more historical feats. He also joined Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon as the only players in NBA history to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season.

The awards are nice for the perennial All-Star forward, but they aren’t enough. He doesn’t want to be called an MVP until he wins a ring, even if it means leaving Milwaukee.

Giannis sparked speculation last week after he unfollowed his teammates on social media. Following a humbling elimination from the NBA Playoffs by the Miami Heat, the back-to-back NBA MVP is thinking about the bigger picture.

At a time when legendary players are defined by how many championship rings they have, Giannis doesn’t have any. For someone who wants to be considered one of the greatest players in NBA history, that needs to change.

Fortunately, Friday’s interview wasn’t all bad for Milwaukee. Despite his willingness to leave for another team, Antetokounmpo made it clear his priority is winning a ring with the Bucks. If they share that same commitment and energy to winning a title, he might never leave.

“As long as everybody’s on the same page and as long as everybody’s fighting for the same thing, fighting for the same thing every single day, which is to be a champion, I don’t see why not to be in Milwaukee for the next 15 years,” Antetokounmpo said during an interview with NBA TV.

If it were all about the money, Antetokounmpo would stay with the Bucks. He will soon be eligible for the super-max extension, a five-year contract worth $254 million. It would be a massive deal, even more so with the NBA’s lingering revenue hit and salary cap problems.

In the end, this will come down to if Antetokounmpo believes he and the Bucks share a common mindset. If they agree, he’ll sign the super-max deal and remain with the franchise for years to come. On the other hand, if he detects a difference in opinion, suitors are already lining up for his services.