Giannis Antetokounmpo is continuing to grow as a basketball player every year. While he saw his rise under the guidance of Jason Kidd, a coach who Antetokounmpo was reportedly very fond of, his last two seasons have been under Mike Budenholzer. The relationship with Kidd, however, could be a selling point to lure him to another team if they hired him. At least, that is what the New York Knicks are hoping for.
Giannis Antetokounmpo becomes a superstar in Milwaukee
Giannis Antetokounmpo didn’t enter the NBA with much fanfare. He was the No. 15 pick in the 2013 NBA draft. Antetokounmpo came off the bench during his first season in Milwaukee, and the team was one of the worst in the NBA. Larry Drew was the coach back then, but the Bucks fired him after just one year using some shady tactics. Kidd landed in Milwaukee after only one season in Brooklyn, and it was in the first year under Kidd that Antetokounmpo blossomed, and he has done so ever since.
The team didn’t have any prolonged success under Kidd, but they had enough to make people excited. Kidd and Antetokounmpo developed a rapport with one another, and Antetokounmpo was allegedly disappointed when the team fired Kidd halfway through the 2017-18 season. His rotations were suspect, and many questioned his willingness to adjust within the game.
The following season, however, the wounds of Kidd’s departure were healed. The team went from a .500 team to a 60-win team overnight, Budenholzer had Antetokounmpo playing like an MVP, and the team made it to the Eastern Conference Finals. The success has continued into this season. The Bucks stand at 24-4 through 28 and appear to be contenders not only in the East but in the NBA.
Without a max extension for Giannis Antetokounmpo yet, however, rumors will swirl, and the Knicks one is the latest in many to come until he does sign his next extension or contract.
Kidd and Giannis Antetokounmpo to New York?
Openly frustrated Knicks fan Stephen A. Smith first reported this perceived interest by the Knicks to use Kidd to get Antetokounmpo. Anyone who shrugs off Smith has the right to do so, as he does have a knack to blur the line between idle speculation and actual reporting. However, Smith was among the first to report that both LeBron James and Chris Bosh were headed to the Miami Heat in 2010.
The New York Knicks are in one of their worst stretches as a franchise where nothing seems to go their way. Owner James Dolan has a history of tearing things up before they have a chance to grow, and Phil Jackson’s tenure as a president with the team did more to set the team back than move it forward. The Knicks have had just five winning seasons in the last 20 years, and they haven’t seen the playoffs since 2013.
Last season, the Knicks publicly clamored for the likes of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant but struck out. They also struck out for a chance to win the Zion Williamson draft lottery. If history tells us anything, it is that the Knicks will try to get Antetokounmpo when he’s a free agent but fail.
Is there merit to the rumors?
Giannis Antetokounmpo could be tempted by the thought of being the player who saves the Knicks from obscurity. Still, if history tells us anything, it’s that the Knicks have to show a willingness to win without swinging for the fences. Durant said as much when he spurned the team for the in-town rivals this offseason.
Carmelo Anthony had ties to New York when he went there, and Amar’e Stoudemire was the last big player to sign there before that. Neither saw much success past early playoff exits. New York’s tenuous grasp of success might be too much for Giannis Antetokounmpo to ignore. He may like Kidd as a coach, but he’s winning under Budenholzer. Plus, Giannis seems to be the perfect fit in Milwaukee, both on and off the court,
The fact of the matter is that until the Knicks can prove to be a hotspot for free agents and a winning franchise, people will still doubting them. They can try to make all the big moves they want, but until that big move is winning games, they will be trying again and again.