A couple of big-time NBA insiders firmly believe the New York Knicks are keeping an eye on the developing situation between the Milwaukee Bucks and supers star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The New York Knicks and Milwaukee Bucks are headed in two very different directions heading into May. The Knicks are in the second round of the NBA Playoffs and have a legitimate chance to reach the Eastern Conference Finals in 2023. While the Bucks were recently on the wrong end one of the most surprising first-round eliminations in NBA history last month.
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The shocking ouster has already had serious ramifications as head coach Mike Budenholzer was fired this week after five seasons leading the team. Many suspect the move was made because the team has fallen well short of expectations over the last two seasons after winning an NBA championship in 2021.
Many others believe it was done to keep incumbent superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo happy and prove the organization is doing all it can to win another championship sooner than later. However, it has opened the door to the possibility of the MVP candidate possibly leaving the Bucks in the near future.
New York Knicks record (’22-’23): 47-35
Antetokounmpo is signed for three more seasons, however, the final year is a player option. Many around the league are now wondering if he could opt out in 2025 or ask for a trade before then if Milwaukee continues to come short in their chase for a title.
That possibility reportedly now has the attention of the New York Knicks. During a Friday edition of ESPN’s “First Take,” NBA insider Stephen A. Smith was the first to suggest that the team could have their eye on the one-time MVP when they are able to cut close to $60 million off their payroll in the summer of 2025. While Smith is known for bold and sometimes unrealistic boasts, he wasn’t the only one on the panel who saw the same possibility.
Fellow NBA insider Brian Windhorst claimed there is uncertainty about Antetokounmpo re-signing in a couple of years and that the league, and specifically the New York Knicks have their attention on an Antetokounmpo pursuit in the coming years. An opinion that got a smile from Smith.
It will be interesting to see how things play out as we are in an era where unhappy superstars forcing their way out of cities is an all too common situation. Especially for small to mid-market franchises.