Giannis Antetokounmpo, according to reports, met with Milwaukee Bucks owner Marc Lasry on Saturday to discuss the team’s future. Antetokounmpo also unfollowed the team and his teammates on Twitter and Instagram earlier on Saturday following the Bucks elimination from the postseason by the Miami Heat in five games earlier this week.
With only a year left for Antetokoumnpo to be removed from free agency, the meeting will definitely create rumours about him leaving the Bucks, but he has made it clear that, at this point, that isn’t his intention.
The Bucks All-star forward vehemently denied that he would force a trade after Game 5.
“It’s not happening. That’s not happening,” Antetokounmpo says during the interview.
“Some see a wall and go in [another direction]. I plough through it. We just have to get better as a team, individually, and get right back at it next season.”
He told reporters after Milwaukee’s Game 5 loss that: “At the end of the day, we’ve got to learn from everything that goes on in your life and in your career and hopefully we can learn from this and get better as a team and come back and hopefully we can build a culture in Milwaukee for many years that we can come out here and compete every single year for a championship.”
The Bucks will be able to offer Antetokounmpo a five-year, supermax contract in the neighbourhood of $221 million this offseason. And if Giannis declines, Milwaukee still would not consider trading him according to reports.
The Bucks don’t want a repeat of 1975 when they traded Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and haven’t been back to the NBA Finals since.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is the closest they’ve come to having a player like Kareem in nearly five decades since he left, and players of his calibre are so rare that it’s no guarantee that Milwaukee will find another one soon.
Merely having Giannis, aside from all of Milwaukee’s other flaws, makes the Bucks championship contenders.
The meeting is believed to go in the direction of Antetokounmpo’s previous quotes, and would most likely be centred on how the Bucks can use this offseason to take the leap from contender to champion.
If they intend to keep the Greek freak, they will likely have to recruit as the honeymoon period is over.
Although Giannis may not be ready to leave quite yet, if the Bucks can’t convince him that they’re prepared to do what it takes to surround him with a winner, he may change his resolve.