Giannis Antetokounmpo made the state of Wisconsin happy by signing the supermax extension with the Milwaukee Bucks. The two-time MVP is now under contract with the team for the long-haul and can focus on bringing a championship to Milwaukee.
Bucks fans were worried that Antetokounmpo was going to pull a LeBron James or Kevin Durant and leave the franchise for a big market city. However, the Greek Freak loves the city of Milwaukee and is eager to do the opposite of James and Durant and win a title by staying put instead of jumping ship.
Just because Giannis Antetokounmpo signed the supermax extension, though, doesn’t mean the Bucks are under less pressure to deliver the goods. In fact, Milwaukee may have to pull off another blockbuster trade soon to appease its superstar small forward.
Bucks got Giannis Antetokounmpo some help by acquiring Jrue Holiday
The Bucks made a big splash on Nov. 23 by acquiring All-NBA defender Jrue Holiday from the New Orleans Pelicans. Holiday is an elite combo guard for Giannis Antetokounmpo to play with. Milwaukee now has a lethal trio of Antetokounmpo, Holiday, and Khris Middleton on offense.
With the Pelicans in 2019-20, Holiday averaged 19.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 6.7 assists per game. That is the type of production the Bucks needed at the point guard position, as Eric Bledsoe wasn’t getting it done for Milwaukee, especially once the playoffs started.
With Antetokounmpo and Holiday as the main cogs on both sides of the ball, the Bucks should have one of the best offenses and defenses in the NBA this upcoming season. Holiday is a guy who can create his own shot off the dribble in the half-court setting and get to the rim at will, two skills the Bucks lacked in the 2020 Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Miami Heat from the guard spot.
However, despite the arrival of Jrue Holiday, Giannis Antetokounmpo is supposedly still looking for the Bucks to add one more high-level player.
Giannis Antetokounmpo wants the Bucks to trade for Bradley Beal
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks thought they had a deal to acquire Bogdan Bogdanovic from the Sacramento Kings, but the deal fell through after the talented swingman didn’t agree to join Milwaukee in restricted free agency. It was a big miss for the Bucks since Bogdanovic is a stout shooter from distance and would have spaced the floor very well for Holiday and Antetokounmpo.
Knowing that he needs another superstar next to him in Milwaukee to win a title, Antetokounmpo told the Bucks’ front office during his supermax negotiations that Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal is someone he wants to play with, according to Brian Windhorst and Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN. Beal is the ideal partner in crime for Antetokounmpo, whose life would be a lot easier if the Wizards star got traded to the Bucks.
In 57 games last season, Beal was a monster for Washington. He averaged 30.5 points a night and shot 35.3% from beyond the arc. Only Houston Rockets guard James Harden averaged more points than Beal in 2019-20. The Wizards’ sharpshooter is one of the top scorers and shooters in the NBA and Antetokounmpo knows Beal would take the Bucks to another level on both ends of the floor.
The Wizards traded John Wall to the Rockets for Russell Westbrook, so they probably won’t take any trade calls on Beal until the offseason of 2021. It makes no sense for Washington to trade Beal before ownership sees how the former Florida Gator meshes with Westbrook this upcoming season.
With that being said, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks will have to remain patient in their pursuit of Bradley Beal.
The Greek Freak showed the Bucks recruitment texts from NBA stars
Giannis Antetokounmpo showed Bucks’ management text messages from stars on rival teams who were recruiting him. If the 2019-20 Defensive Player of the Year didn’t sign the supermax extension, he would have entered unrestricted free agency during the offseason of 2021.
Antetokounmpo had been heavily linked to the Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto Raptors, and Dallas Mavericks. All four teams likely frowned when the 26-year-old signed the supermax extension with the Bucks, who will have championship aspirations every season Antetokounmpo is on the team.
The Bucks have had the best record in the NBA the last two seasons. However, they have zero titles to show for it and haven’t even reached the NBA Finals yet. While Giannis Antetokounmpo will still have Bradley Beal in the back of his head, the four-time All-Star will embark on the 2020-21 season with Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton as his second and third options, respectively.
Stats courtesy of Basketball Reference.