Eastern Notes: Giannis, Raptors, Heat, Thompson

If Giannis Antetokounmpo becomes a free agent during the summer of 2021, the Raptors are likely to be one of his “chief pursuers,” sources tell John Hollinger of The Athletic.

It’s entirely possible that Antetokounmpo won’t even reach the open market, since the Bucks intend to put a super-max extension offer on the table for him next summer as soon as they’re eligible to do so. And even if the star forward does opt for free agency, it’s not as if the Raptors won’t face competition from just about every other team in the NBA.

Still, it makes sense that the Raptors would zero in on Antetokounmpo specifically as they consider future targets. President of basketball operations Masai Ujiri reportedly helped Giannis and his family emigrate from Nigeria to Greece, and tried to trade into the 2013 draft to select him. The Raps haven’t had much luck luring top American-born free agents to Toronto in the past, but might believe they’d have a better shot with an international star like Antetokounmpo, especially now that they have a championship under their belt.

It’s far too early to draw any conclusions about Giannis’ future, but until he re-ups with the Bucks or ends up elsewhere, it’s safe to assume the Raptors will be retaining their 2021 cap flexibility in the hopes he considers them.

Here’s more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Dion Waiters and James Johnson both practiced with the Heat today, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. However, only Johnson will travel to Atlanta with the team, as he has reached his conditioning targets while Waiters hasn’t, per Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (Twitter link). Neither player has suited up for the club yet this season due to conditioning issues.
  • Tristan Thompson, who is in a contract year with the Cavaliers, has never made an All-Defense team, but wants that to change this season, as Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com relays. “I want to guard the best wings and big on every team,” Thompson said. “I want to make their night tough, to gain that respect defensively around the league. [A] goal of mine is to make first team All-Defense. The way you do that is guarding the best players.”
  • Appearing on Big Apple Buckets, the New York Post’s podcast, Charles Oakley suggested that he’s open to trying to bury the hatchet with Knicks ownership after a contentious saga that saw him banned from MSG, writes Greg Joyce of The Post. Oakley also weighed in on how the Knicks should respond to Kevin Durant‘s comments about the team not being “cool.”
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15 thoughts on “Eastern Notes: Giannis, Raptors, Heat, Thompson

    • Jason Lancaster

      Ya, why would he leave a team that refuses to pay the luxury tax? And it’s not like Milwaukee isn’t one of the best places to live in the whole world… to say nothing of all the big marketing and promotional opportunities available in Wisconsin.

      Giannis would be silly to leave Milwaukee I tell ya!

      • bdpecore

        They will be delving into the luxury tax once Giannis’ super max deal kicks in. There is no need to start paying the tax already when they can replace Brogdon with Wes Matthews for a tenth of the cost? Besides they needed the cap space to resign Lopez and Hill which helps surround Giannis with veterans who WANT to be in Milwaukee.

      • bdpecore

        As for best places to live, I’ll take a smaller city with friendly people over a larger one with more self absorbed ones like you get in LA or NY. And if you haven’t noticed, Giannis isn’t looking to have the spot light shining on him unless it’s due to his performance on the court. He has no desire to brush elbows with celebrities or wear designer clothes. He’s a blue collar young man who prefers his solitude.

        This is why he has no interest in befriending other star players or even workin out with them in the offseason.

        And finally, Durant never seemed to have a problem getting endorsements while living in OKC and Giannis has already signed several big endorsement deals with Nike, Hulu, T-Mobile and plenty of other national and international brands.

  1. Theone23

    Writing is on the wall. It is way too early to say for certain, but if the Bucks don’t make it to the finals this year, I believe we will be seeing Giannis head North to the one of the best cities and best organizations in the WORLD. Giannis and Siakam will be an unstoppable force for years to come.

    • dynasty in boston

      Boston’s In Massachusetts. Not Canada. All you guys are famous for is a coked out mayor

      • brewcrew08

        I love how all these fans of teams like the raptors, Celtics keep saying the “if Giannis hits the open market he’s ours”. You do remember Toronto and Boston couldn’t even keep their own stars right? When’s the last time Toronto brought in a huge FA?

  2. All these teams saving up for Giannis in 2021 will be scrambling to find something to do with all that money when Milwaukee supermaxes him next summer. Like the Knicks this past July. Maybe Toronto can max OG or Chris Boucher instead.

    • subarusports

      Salty salty salty.. let me know when you’re over the fact that we won. Thanks.

      • brewcrew08

        He’s salty because of what exactly? That he doesn’t think Giannis would leave an extra year and what 60M on the table? He’s crazy you’re right

          • brewcrew08

            He’d be the first guy to do it on a team that’s a contender. AD left New Orleans who stunk. After that who was eligible for a Supermax that left?

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