Milwaukee was eliminated from this year’s NBA playoffs by Toronto on Saturday, and its failure to reach the Finals could have long-term effects on the franchise.
Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo could consider leaving if the team can’t reach the Finals, according to an ESPN report. A source close to the Greek phenom says not achieving this goal might have an impact on his contractual future.
Milwaukee’s superstar tweeted he would never leave the city in 2014 though, until it reached a championship level. The Bucks had the best record (60-22) this season, so they could be right on the cusp of that.
I’ll never leave the team and the city of Milwaukee till we build the team to a championship level team..
— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) July 17, 2014
Antetokounmpo, 24, made his third straight All-NBA team in 2018-19, making him eligible for the largest contract in league history. He won’t become an unrestricted free agent until 2021, but he can receive a five-year, $247.3 million supermax extension from Milwaukee who drafted him 15th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Antetokounmpo was arguably the most physically imposing player in basketball this year. The MVP and defensive player of the year frontrunner averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists on 57.8 percent shooting during the regular season. While he posted similar numbers during the postseason, his efficiency dropped, especially against Toronto.
Nevertheless, teams will surely pay for a chance to land one of the league’s most unique talents to date should he show interest in relocating.
The Lakers are already rumored to have hired former Bucks coach Jason Kidd as an assistant in an attempt to lure Antetokounmpo to Los Angeles in the near future.