The biggest question mark this coming offseason will be the future of Giannis Antetokounmpo. He still has one year left on his contract with the Milwaukee Bucks, but the reigning back-to-back Most Valuable Player award winner will soon have to decide if he’s signing a supermax extension with the franchise or go elsewhere. Although Antetokounmpo was disappointing in the playoffs, he’s still one of the best players in the league and only 25-years-old. His decision will have major implications for the NBA’s next decade.
Giannis Antetokounmpo: Three Best Options for the Future
Option 1: Giannis Antetokounmpo re-signs with the Milwaukee Bucks
Antetokounmpo is already one of the greatest players in Bucks history. This team is rightfully his, and the Bucks have the leverage to offer him more money than anybody else in the league. They also have Khris Middleton signed for the foreseeable future.
Milwaukee is a smaller market compared to other cities in the league such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and so on. With that being said, Antetokounmpo has made the Bucks must-watch television over the past couple of years. His presence alone is also more than enough to attract other great players.
Besides Middleton, the Bucks have established players like Eric Bledsoe and Brook Lopez and a stellar coach in Mike Budenholzer. The team is built to win now and have the pieces necessary to execute a trade if necessary.
Talking about trades, the Bucks will likely need one to convince Antetokounmpo to stay. Teams in the Eastern Conference such as the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, and Toronto Raptors already have the players to beat the Bucks on any given night. The Bucks have dominated the regular season in recent history, but are still one move away from the clear favorites in the East. A deal for players like Chris Paul or Jrue Holiday would accomplish this.
It’d be a great story to see Antetokounmpo be a lifetime Buck and bring home a championship. With that being said, it’s becoming more and more common to see stars leave their original franchises.
Option Two: The Miami Heat
Miami has always been a major competitor in attracting stars, highlighted by the Heatles era. Bringing in Antetokounmpo following an NBA Finals run could very well rival that.
If Antetokounmpo declines Milwaukee’s supermax, it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll leave. The Bucks may hold onto him for one more championship run then hope to re-sign him in the 2021 offseason. If his intention to leave is clear, then the Heat will definitely swoop in with a deal. Acquiring a player like Antetokounmpo isn’t easy, but teams will have leverage if the Bucks need to trade him.
On the surface, many would think that the Heat should offer Bam Adebayo in a deal. That would be ideal for Milwaukee, but the Heat’s goal is surely to pair up Antetokounmpo with both Adebayo and Jimmy Butler to form another stellar “big three.”
An offer that may have Milwaukee answering (assuming they refuse to let Antetokounmpo leave for nothing) would involve Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Andre Iguodala, Kelly Olynyk, and a future pick for both Antetokounmpo and D.J. Wilson.
If this deal is done, the Bucks will likely hit the restart button and attempt to move Bledsoe and Lopez. Iguodala and Olynyk are fill-ins here, although still good players. The real value is around Herro and Robinson. Herro looked like a blossoming star in the bubble, meanwhile, Robinson is one of the best shooters in the league. Both players are young and will be starters for a long time.
Pat Riley and the Heat will also be a major player for Antetokounmpo if he hits 2021 unrestricted free agency. No matter the cap situation, don’t be surprised if the Heat can pull this off.
Option Three: The Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic is the future of this league. He’s only 21-years-old and already an MVP candidate. He’s shined in the past against Milwaukee and Antetokounmpo surely paid attention to this. The Dallas Mavericks also have Kristaps Porzingis, who is the same age as Antetokounmpo and one of the better big-men in the game. The trio would form the best “big three” in the league, and an all-European one at that. Considering their age as well, they can run the league for the next decade.
Dallas has already made it clear that they are going to be aggressive. The Mavericks can offer a trade package including four of these five players: Seth Curry, Maxi Kleber, Dorian Finney-Smith, Dwight Powell, and Delon Wright. These players would do be dealt for Antetokounmpo and Wilson. The Bucks are more likely to accept the aforementioned Heat deal, as this Mavericks package includes great role players, but no up-and-coming stars. This deal would also decimate the Mavericks’ depth.
With this being said, the Mavericks’ will likely attempt to be players in the 2021 offseason. They can also trade for other stars this offseason, and then use them in a possible sign-and-trade deal. Mark Cuban and the Mavericks have been chasing the “big fish” free agent for years, and with Doncic around, are now an extremely attractive destination. They’ll have the cap space necessary, as of right now, to sign Antetokounmpo outright in 2021.
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