Giannis Antetokounmpo isn’t directly threatening to leave the Bucks, but he hinted at that option this week during an appearance on the 48 Minutes podcast (YouTube video link). The two-time MVP said he enjoys playing in Milwaukee, but his priority is winning another championship and he’s willing to go elsewhere if he decides it’s necessary.
“I’m a Milwaukee Buck, but most importantly I’m a winner,” Antetokounmpo said. “… If there is a better situation for me to win the Larry O’Brien (trophy), I have to take that better situation.”
Antetokounmpo made similar comments last month, saying he would like to play 20 years with the same team, but “being a winner” is more important to him.
Antetokounmpo will become eligible for a five-year extension next summer that could be worth up to $334MM, which would be the largest contract in NBA history. He also holds a $51.9MM player option for 2025/26, so he’ll have the equivalent of an expiring contract for the following season if he doesn’t accept the extension.
There’s more from the Central Division:
- Appearing on Tidal League’s “Run Your Race” podcast with Theo Pinson, Myles Turner expressed regret that he wasn’t ready to assume the role of team leader after the Pacers traded Paul George in 2017 (hat tip to FanSided). “The beginning of that year, I got hurt. I got a concussion,” Turner recalled. “I was out for like two and a half weeks. So I missed the first two and a half weeks of the season, (and) Vic (Victor Oladipo) was going crazy. Hitting game-winners. Averaging like 20 a game. Domas (Domantas Sabonis) was like 20 and 10.” Turner added that he’s grateful to get another chance to be a leader with the current version of the team.
- The Pacers‘ G League affiliate has acquired returning player rights for guard Craig Sword. The Fort Wayne Mad Ants announced a deal with Capital City to land the rights to Sword, who played for the Warriors during Summer League.
- Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic are considered stars under the NBA’s new Player Participation Policy, but the guidelines shouldn’t affect the Bulls very much, observes Julia Poe of the Chicago Tribune. She notes that the team doesn’t rely much on load management, with Vucevic and Patrick Williams both appearing in all 82 games last season, while LaVine played in 70 of the last 71 after working his way back from offseason knee surgery.