Because he’s a superstar in a smaller market, speculation about Giannis Antetokounmpo leaving Milwaukee figures to continue until the 2019 MVP inks a long-term extension with the Bucks.
Rumors about the Warriors looming as a threat to lure Antetokounmpo to the Bay Area popped up this week during a Ramona Shelburne appearance on ESPN’s Get Up (video link). That chatter has some within the NBA worried that Golden State will again shift the league’s landscape within the next couple years. However, it doesn’t appear that Milwaukee is worried about that scenario.
“Keeping Giannis, it’s a focus obviously,” a Bucks front-office source tells Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. “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.”
Antetokounmpo, who can’t hit the free agent market until the summer of 2021, is eligible to sign an extension with Milwaukee next offseason. The Bucks plan on offering him a super-max deal as soon as they are able to.
As for the Warriors, they currently have Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and D’Angelo Russell on maximum-salary contracts, with Draymond Green making close to the max. Those four players will earn a combined $137.8MM during the 2021/22 season, so as Deveney’s source notes, Golden State would have to make some serious roster changes to realistically make a play for Antetokounmpo.