Western Notes: Giannis, Conley, Durant, LeBron

Giannis Antetokounmpo could be the next superstar prize on the Warriors’ radar screen. In a speculative piece, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic dives into the possibility of Antetokounmpo joining Golden State when he becomes a free agent in 2021.

As Thompson outlines, pursuing Antetokounmpo would hinge on Kevin Durant departing and would also necessitate cutting ties with Draymond Green. That would give the Warriors enough cap room to sign Giannis and keep the backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson together. The possibility of Antetokounmpo wanting to leave Milwaukee could increase if the Bucks experience postseason disappointment, Thompson adds.

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Mike Conley admits the trade rumors took a toll on him until the deadline passed, James Herbert of CBS Sports reports. The Grizzlies held on to Conley but longtime teammate Marc Gasol was dealt to Toronto.  “It was emotional, man,” he said. “It was hard, ’cause part of me, obviously, is trying to lock in on my job and just worry about Oklahoma (City) and really, like, watch film and prepare. But I can’t help but, like, the other 90 percent of me is like I’m about to get traded or Marc’s about to get traded.”
  • Kevin Durant claimed his relationship with ex-Oklahoma City teammate Russell Westbrook was never as strained as it was portrayed in the media, Eric Horne of The Oklahoman relays. “I don’t think it was ever in a bad place,” Durant said. “I think a lot of you guys just got in the way and tried to make it something bigger than it was because you needed a story. I understand because that’s your job, but that’s not really your job. I understood what that was like now thinking back on it, because I never had a problem with nobody in this league, or to a point where I didn’t like anyone or hated someone. It wasn’t even that deep.”
  • The Lakers are privately a little concerned about LeBron James‘ health, according to Joe Vardon of The Athletic. They’re not quite sure he’s fully healed from the groin injury that cost him 18 games, as he’s not moving at the same speed, nor engaging at the point of attack, Vardon continues. However, James denies he’s aching. “I feel great,” he said. “Looking forward to the second half of the season. Looking forward to seeing what we can do to get back in this playoff race. That’s my only mindset.”
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48 thoughts on “Western Notes: Giannis, Conley, Durant, LeBron

  1. nubbz18

    Giannis already said he wants to stay in MKE, so that wouldn’t make much sense to assume that he’ll got to GS

    • bravesfan88

      It’s just stirring the pot…That’s all..They’re just saying if Milwaukee can’t get over the hump, then Giannis will get frustrated and look elsewhere…

  2. scottstots

    Giannis moved his whole family to Milwaukee, I’m not saying its impossible but based on everything he has said and done he has given every indication of wanting to stay in Milwaukee and no indication of wanting to go to Golden State. NBATR has a long way to go to match the quality of stories that MLBTR has.

    • Hen1CHC

      Keep in mind that articles like these often just act as a platform to link/share stories and pool NBA writing that other publications have created – not Hoops Rumors articles or ideas.

      • scottstots

        Yeah I’m just being a but, I probably don’t need to be so mean. Also I definitely don’t like the idea of Giannis ever leaving the Bucks… it may have struck a reactionary cord in me.

        • ColossusOfClout

          Yeah, and Thunder fans never thought Durant would leave either. It happens. The days of guys staying with one team their entire career are long gone.

          • Nope. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson say they want to play their entire careers together. John Wall and Bradley Beal like Washington D.C. McCollum and Lillard like Portland.

    • jump shot

      Im gonna go out on a limb and say Giannis could probably scrape together enough pennies to move his whole family from Milwaukee to San Francisco. Im sure they’d love the winters and championships much better.

      • x%sure

        So put on a coat. Yanking the fam around is a big deal, and MIL has the best record. He does what he wants there and the teammates will wait & work with it.

        Giannis does make plans for what he wants to do; Durant for instance prefers spontanaeity & reacting, so was always a better fit for moving to a new system.

        There is no sense in this idea being on the radar, at least yet.

        • jump shot

          So, you’re saying when his free-agency comes up he’s definitely staying in Milwaukee? Or are you just saying he’d never go to the Warriors?

          • x%sure

            Staying. But it’s too far out to think about! He has not made any indications he’s leaving, or is interested in glamour; and he is in a good situation.

            It’s like writers are scrounging for the next AD, since AD sells so much journalism.

          • D$!LLKU$H-og

            I agree with x% but maybe like 85%sure he’ll stay. 100 if they keep this core together but that will get costly. Middleton,Bledsoe,Brogdon and Lopez have to be brought back. Mirotic may be a luxury they can’t afford but anything’s possible. Cap will be 109mm tax will be 129mm and they’ll have 51mm on the books with 6 guaranteed contracts (Giannis,Snell,Illyasova,Wilson,Divincenzo and #30 pick) so they’ll have some paper to throw around.

      • whodatcoon

        Curry will be 32, Draymond will be gone (w/ his declining play), so yeah I doubt Giannis ditches the Bucks to play with Klay (if Klay is even there). Not saying Dubs aren’t still great, but the best of the Dubs is this season and in the rear view mirror.

        • hopper15

          He needs shooters around him and doesn’t get any better than that backcourt shooting wise.

        • stevep-4

          ^ This, more than all other arguments. GSW will be irrelevant by 2021, even the 90s Bulls didn’t last forever, in part because people want to get paid.

  3. Dionis

    This Laker team could be lethal come playoff time. LeBron needs to let Kuzma,Ball, and Ingram get theirs first half and take over second half but he’s so unselfish that he will defer to Kuzma late in games the rest of the way.

    • jkoms57

      Let alone after they get most unselfish player to play the game, Melo, this wknd.

  4. colonel flagg

    Who’s to say Golden State will still be a “destination” franchise when that time comes. It’s possible, some might say probable, but it’s not a lock.
    I’m not saying that Giannis’s situation in Milwaukee won’t change, but up until now he has never expressed dissatisfaction with the team or city. To the contrary, he’s been nothing but complimentary.

    • whodatcoon

      Exactly 32 y/o curry and maybe 30 y/o Klay on a super max. Thats about all there is, and the bench keeps falling apart too. I think this is their last great season and Nuggets been nose to nose lol

    • jump shot

      As long as they have an owner that doesn’t pinch pennies, great organization inside and out, great weather… how will they not continue to be a “destination”? You dont have to win championships every year to still be a destination organization.

      • stevep-4

        Uh, they were not a destination for many, many years…funny how recency bias blurs all memory. Winning is a magnet, losing, even in a nice climate, does not attract anyone – just ask New Orleans.

  5. x%sure

    What is behind the Athletic’s Giannis story? Let’s spin the wheel and put player x on team y in year z and weeee something to publish?

    • ColossusOfClout

      Heard the same about KD when reports first came out about him possibly going to the Warriors. Time will tell.

      • x%sure

        True about time, but KD and Westbrook were not getting along then, so it was natural to speculate.

  6. Z-A

    Time for the Lakers to go get Melo. Need another scorer at least. Beasley was okay, but hes never been a savvy player.

  7. hill

    I think Marcus Thompson should write an article about how Luka will join Giannis in 2022.

    • ppyxmb

      He won’t need to, cause giannis already bookend Luka & Zinger the year before.

  8. hill

    He should then write an article about how Zion will join Giannis and Steph and Klay and Luka in 2023.

  9. Danthemilwfan

    Giannis is never leaving. He loves Milwaukee, we are really good now, his brothers were raised here, his dad I believe is Barrie’s here. I can see steph coming here after his contract is up but he is not like Lebron. He has no goal of going to a big market. Everyone talks about the next mj? Giannis is him. Giannis is the guy who couldn’t beat isaiah Thomas and Detroit and rather then join them, get better, work harder and win championships. Not move to Miami or LA cause he can’t get over the hump and stay there ‍♂️

    • Dionis

      No need to criticize LBJ, he fulfilled his contract and wanted to play with his brother Wade. I could see Giannis winning a title in Milwaukee but I doubt he’ll ever surpass LeBron.

    • ColossusOfClout

      He’s got a huge EGO just like LeBron. He’ll leave when he realizes he can’t win in MIL all by himself.

  10. Dionis

    So long as the Bucks re-sign Bledsoe and Middleton Giannis won’t leave. He probably wanted Jabari to get re-signed but the Bucks looked ahead.

    The Warriors will lose Durant to the Knicks or Clippers this summer. Would be nice to see in Brooklyn but ultimately I think he will choose the Clippers.

  11. dust44

    Only place I will ever c Giannis going is whoever employs Kostas. The only motivation for that guy is basketball and his family. He’s legit the perfect superstar when most chase money and other superstars. He just plays ball

    • whodatcoon

      That would be the Mavericks, it’s interesting that they have such a great international success vibe already.

  12. victorg

    I have to admit I did not see Giannis becoming this great of a player when he first came into the league good for him i hope he can stay humble and continues to build the bucks up.

  13. x%sure

    Lebron is coasting and playing a lot of point. This is partly a response to Lonzo being out, who, is still not ready to return. I think Rondo is coasting too, unless he is really being thrown off by James bringing the ball up.

    Zach Lowe said James is in “chill mode”, and said he did not engage with the Pacers last year until game 7. Cannot disagree, but the plan was a good one, and worked, in a year with dissension and no Irving.

    Muscle injuries do take an aggravating amount of time to heal fully.
    Well Laker fans said they wanted playoff success. Be careful what you wish for! That was not really the plan initially, and should not be now.

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