Giannis Antetokounmpo becomes a free agent after next year, so rumors of where he might end up are getting spicier by the second. Sure, money will play a factor, but there’s a handful of destinations that leave Giannis better off than hanging out with the cheeseheads in Wisconsin.
Let’s get the pros of staying in Milwaukee out the way. Giannis staying put in Milwaukee inks him to a “super-max” contract for five-years, roughly $253.8 million. That starts the Greek Freak at $43.8 million and escalates to $57.8 million by the 2025-26 season. Now that COVID wrecked this season, and ultimately the NBA’s revenue, a significant portion of that money goes away. To be fair to Milwaukee, that money is gone with the wind no matter where Antetokounmpo decides to play.
Money rules in Milwaukee.
Erik Spoelstra is slowly stealing the crown for NBA’s best young coach. Giannis taking his talents to South Beach expedites his learning curve to take over the league, but also locks him into a long term marriage with a coach just 49-years-old. Spo should be there for the duration of his stay.
Jimmy Butler should draw Giannis’ attention the same way he peaks 76ers’ star Joel Embiid’s interest. “The Process” even took his unhappiness losing Butler to the Twitter streets. The Greek Freak should take note.
Jimmy Butler #TooGood— Joel “Troel” Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) September 1, 2020
I’m still really unhappy— Joel “Troel” Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) September 2, 2020
Kris Middleton has been a solid running mate in Milwaukee averaging 20.9 point/game, but he’s no leader. The tenacious Jimmy Butler would slot himself into the same role D-Wade played for LeBron James during his early years in Miami. Wade’s pedigree made sure King James’ crown fit to perfection.
Butler can help Giannis get his freak on.
Can’t leave out no income tax in Florida. Fairly important when players and owners seem destined to have a shrunken pool of money in the coming years, you make up for it some other way.
Golden State Warriors
Antetokounmpo’s Bucks struggling with Miami to a 2-0 series deficit started the rumor that Giannis isn’t a “Batman.” Claiming a player is more of a Scottie Pippen than a Michael Jordan is taken as a slight. That’s understandable considering shoes deals don’t fall out the sky when you aren’t involved in the Jordan-LeBron debates.
Slotting Giannis in the passenger seat of Steph Curry’s Batmobile would solidify championships the same way it did for KD. Unfortunately for Giannis, championships as a “Robin” land cheap with the fans in barbershop talk for the league’s all-time greats.
You punt on any Mount Rushmore conversations taking a back seat to any body. Let alone a 6’3″ Stephen Curry.
New York Knicks
I feel bad introducing the Knicks as a landing spot because it makes so much sense in terms of the market, but James Dolan pitches New York City worse than Bill de Blasio. Imagine how much money Giannis could rake in playing his home games at Madison Square Garden?
Man Ain’t nothing like Madison Square Garden! 🏟— LeBron James (@KingJames) May 11, 2020
The Knicks do have some solid young players in Kevin Knox and R.J. Barrett that would look even better in a trade for another star of Antetokounmpo’s choosing. Hell, the Los Angeles Clippers did exactly this when they mortgaged their entire future for Paul George to lure Kawhi Leonard. Sometimes Power is the deciding factor to lure the star that can change a franchise’s narrative.
Kawhi's uncle, Dennis Robertson, reportedly asked the Raptors, Lakers and Clippers for part ownership of the team, a private plane, house and guaranteed amount of endorsement money, per @sam_amick.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 23, 2019
The NBA investigated and found no evidence the Clippers granted those requests. pic.twitter.com/l7R2NARpr4
Hopefully for the Raptors’ sake Giannis watched Netflix’s Carter Effect. Did everyone see how an entire country rallied behind the Vince Carter brand? A fan base that didn’t understand the rules of a sport were willing to embrace their Raptors to full effect. Toronto’s watch parties in “Jurassic Park” can in some ways replicate the major market endorsement companies look for.
According to Drake, the night scene above the border is quite lit, so luring another star to Toronto might not be so hard. I give the Raptors a real shot to lure the MVP.
A little more of a long shot, but the Chicago Bulls could get it done if Giannis has any intentions on upping the ante. With Anthony Davis‘ free agency coming this offseason, maybe he wants to return home to Chicago? Not entirely crazy to believe Davis would want to steer clear of being left alone in Los Angeles when a 35-year-old LeBron starts playing his age. That move could trigger the Greek Freak into a Domino move to take his throne in Chi-Town.
A move to the Chicago Bulls is all about how important being “The man” is to Giannis and his camp. Fans will argue til’ the cows come home over what he cares about, but only the MVP can answer that question. Next off-season.