The biggest storyline around the NBA remains fixated on Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s long-term future with the Milwaukee Bucks. Anetokounmpo has yet to definitively decide where he wants to spend the next chapter his career. The back-to-back MVP has now attempted to drag pipe dream scenario of LeBron James joining him in Milwaukee.
Bucks’ future remains in doubt
Giannis Antetokounmpo has reached the point in his Bucks’ tenure where his long-term future is the primary focus.
Antetokounmpo has continued to shy away from discussing his fate in Milwaukee. His contract situation can no longer be ignored as he’s in the final year of his four-year, $100 million deal.
The Bucks have operated in this abbreviated offseason with the hopes to make a strong case to keep their star forward for the long haul. The four-time All-Star has now attempted to side step the situation by suggesting an alternative scenario.
Giannis Antetokounmpo wants to play with LeBron James
Throughout much of the offseason, the focus has remained on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s future with the Bucks.
Antetokounmpo has attempted to turn the tide away from his upcoming decision by making the situation about other star players joining him in Milwaukee. The reigning back-to-back MVP recently told Cosmote TV that he would happily accept a lesser role if LeBron James, Kevin Durant, or Anthony Davis came to play with him.
“If LeBron, KD, or AD want to join me in Milwaukee, I will be happy. I don’t care about being number 1, or number 2, or number 3.”
Like Antetokounmpo, James and Davis could both potentially enter the free-agent market next offseason. Durant’s contractual situation is slightly different as he’s in the second year of his four-year, $164.2 million deal with a $42.7 million player option for the 2022-23 season.
Antetokounmpo’s remarks can easily be shifted toward the vantage point of him wanting to remain in Milwaukee. He hasn’t voiced much toward an outright desire to continue his career with the Bucks. However, there is no question that any mentioned in his proposed scenario would keep him there.
The 25-year-old has the franchise’s future in his hands, but any hope of playing alongside the four-time NBA Finals MVP may be a pipe dream.
Why it’s unlikely LeBron James leaves LA for Milwaukee
Before discussing any scenario involving the 2021 free agency class, what must first be considered is the situation the Lakers have cultivated.
The franchise is coming off an impressive playoff run to an NBA title smoothly guided by LeBron James and Anthony Davis. General manager Rob Pelinka has followed that with a busy offseason by adding more veteran pieces to their stacked roster. These moves have put the Lakers in the position to compete for another championship.
Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo has struggled to break through in the Eastern Conference even without LeBron James present for the last two seasons. Yes, James or Davis could make a strong push to join the Bucks next summer if they so desired.
What quickly deflates that scenario is the notion of either James or Davis leaving the franchise where they just won an NBA title together. Instead, their focus is likely to add another star talent such as Antetokounmpo to extend that championship window in LA.
The Lakers’ front office has shown that they are fully committed to building a contender-caliber roster over the last two years. These efforts will only increase as the team has already positioned themselves well for the 2021 free agency.
The back-to-back MVP may have a strong interest in playing with one of those stars, but seeing James leave a perfectly suited situation sounds quite unlikely.
Ultimately, what Antetokounmpo’s comments do suggest is that he is hungry for an NBA title. The Bucks’ inability to get any of those talents in free agency next summer could be his final straw.