Updated: Oct. 8, 5:43 PM EST
Following his Milwaukee Bucks’ shocking secound round loss to the Miami Heat in the NBA Playoffs, reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo made sure to note that he’s not going to demand a trade this offseason.
A lot of the speculation surrounding Giannis, who will be in a contract year during the 2020-21 campaign, has focused on a potential departure from Milwaukee. It makes sense for a number of reasons.
- Milwaukee is in no way a big market. Giannis could have grown out of it with his larger-than-life performances on the court over the past half-decade. The idea would be for him to capitalize on what is already a worldwide brand.
- For their part, the Bucks have seemingly taken a step back. Even before Antetokounmpo went down to an ankle injury during the Heat series, they were on the brink of elimination.
If Milwaukee is unable to sign Giannis to a super-max extension this offseason that would pay him roughly $227.5 million over the next five seasons, the team will have to think long and hard about trading their all-time great player.
“If he doesn’t sign the (supermax) this offseason, I think the Bucks have to look at exploring the trade market,” one Eastern Conference executive said, via Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports.
Simply put, the Bucks can’t afford to lose Giannis for nothing next summer.
Should a trade become almost inevitable in the coming months, a whole host of teams would show interest. However, there’s about four likely scenarios. We look at them below.
Golden State Warriors: Where there’s smoke, there’s fire
- This has been brought up a near never-ending loop since Kevin Durant left Golden State in free agency last summer. The Warriors are clearly looking at adding another big-name player, and seem to have the necessary assets.
“He (Giannis) could be on the Warriors in three months,” a former Western Conference executive said.
- That point is only magnified by the assets Golden State boasts. This includes the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft as well as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ unprotected 2021 first-round pick. Technically, the Warriors are in a unique situation in that they can offer up first-round picks the next three years as the central piece of a potential trade.
- From there, the Warriors would have to unload Andrew Wiggins’ contract while enticing Milwaukee with impressive young forward Eric Paschall. This could be a package worthy of gaining the attention of Milwaukee’s brass.
Miami Heat: Don’t ever discount the legendary Pat Riley
- Miami is in a difficult situation in that it has already dealt away first-round picks in 2021 and 2023. The team also won’t have anywhere near a valuable draft pick this year given its status as the Eastern Conference champions
- Any move that sends Antetokounmpo to South Beach would have to include either Tyler Herro or Kendrick Nunn (maybe both). The Heat would likely also have to offer up young All-Star big man Bam Adebayo and contract fillers in that of Andre Iguodala and Kelly Olynyk. At this point, it’s highly unlikely that the Heat move Herro. He’s a legit star.
- From the Heat’s perspective, this just makes too much sense if they don’t have to include Herro. Teaming Giannis up with Jimmy Butler would represent another major coup for one of the best front office heads in NBA history, Pat Riley.
Dallas Mavericks: Mark Cuban making a splash for Giannis would make sense
- The volatile owner has never been afraid to pull off that blockbuster trade. Hence, the move for a then-injured Kristaps Porzingis back in January of 2019. Though, that trade did handcuff Cuban and Co. It included Dallas giving up first-round picks in 2021 and 2023. The team will not be able to offer up its next first rounder until 2025.
- As unlikely as it might be, offering up Porzingis as the centerpiece in a trade for the Greek Freak could very well work. Dallas would have to find other trade partners in order to pick up draft pick assets to entice the Bucks. That’s definitely not out of the equation given Cuban’s menality.
Philadelphia 76ers: Giannis Antetokounmpo for Ben Simmons swap?
- Let’s get crazy. Real crazy. Recent reports suggest that Philadelphia wants to hang on to both Simmons and Joel Embiid. We’re not 100% confident that this is the case following a disastrous 2019-20 season for Philadelphia and the firing of Brett Brown. Whether the hiring of Doc Rivers as the Sixers new head coach changes the dynamics here remains to be seen.
- If the Sixers were to move one of the two All-Stars, the embattled Simmons makes more sense than his counterpart. He’d bring back much more in return given Embiid’s injury history.
- A trade sending Giannis to Philadelphia for Simmons, a 2020 first-round pick (from Oklahoma City), future first-round pick and a youngster such as Shake Milton or Matisse Thybulle could make sense here.
New Orleans Pelicans: Teaming Giannis Antetokounmpo up with Zion Williamson
- Imagine this. A generational young talent in Mt. Zion getting to play alongside the Greek Freak. Sure there might be some issues as it relates to extending Giannis. After all, New Orleans is not the big market like the teams mentioned above.
- Even then, New Orleans has the assets to make a trade like this work. It could offer up All-Star forward Brandon Ingram as the centerpiece in the trade. From there, the Pelicans could let Milwaukee choose between Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball.
- It’s also important to note that New Orleans has three future first-round pick from the Lakers stemming from the Anthony Davis blockbuster trade. It also has the 13th pick in this year’s draft.