The Milwaukee Bucks need to start feeling the pressure to form a team that can win championships around NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. If they don’t, they could see him leave and ultimately go elsewhere in search of a ring. Many expect the Bucks to be aggressive this offseason, so that they can try to make sure that he stays put. However, unfortunately for them, they have already struck out on one of their big targets. That target is the $15.5 million man, Dennis Schröder.
Giannis Antetokounmpo could leave the Milwaukee Bucks if they don’t try to win
In two straight seasons, the Milwaukee Bucks have underperformed in the playoffs. Antetokounmpo won his first MVP award during the 2018-19 season, and he led the Bucks to a 60-22 record and a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals. The Bucks even took a 2-0 lead in the series, but the Toronto Raptors ultimately came back and won in six games.
Antetokounmpo then won his second MVP award during the 2019-20 season. He helped lead the Bucks to the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for the second consecutive season, too, as Milwaukee had a 56-17 record. The Bucks, however, got upset by the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in five games.
Because of the Bucks’ lack of success in the playoffs, many have speculated whether Antetokounmpo will leave the team in free agency. He has one year left on his contract, and will be a free agent next offseason.
He has since, however, made it clear: strive to win, or he leaves.
“I do not see why I could not be in Milwaukee for several years,” Antetokounmpo said to Aftonbladet, a Swedish outlet, according to CBS Sports. “As long as Milwaukee and I are on the same page when it comes to being one of the best teams in the league and winning championships, that’s fine. When it changes, it will not be good. It’s easy, I want to be a winner. I do not care about the money. My family is fine and I can take care of my children and grandchildren so that’s not the most important thing right now, it’s winning. As long as we can win and create a winning culture, it will be good.”
The Milwaukee Bucks were reportedly interested in Dennis Schröder
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schröder has become a solid scorer in the NBA. He has averaged 17.9 points per game or more in three of the last four seasons, and the only season he averaged fewer than that was when he played with Russell Westbrook and Paul George in 2018-19.
His ability to score and shoot well from 3-point range has certainly attracted some interest from teams in the trade market, as Schröder has one year left on his contract and will make $15.5 million this upcoming season. The Bucks appear to be included in the teams that were interested in Schröder.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported that the Bucks looked into a trade with the Thunder for Schröder. They were even reportedly “deep in trade negotiations last week.” This could have been a great addition for the Bucks, as they could have legitimately had a solid big three with Schröder, Antetokounmpo, and Khris Middleton. However, the Bucks ultimately struck out and couldn’t get a deal done.
Dennis Schröder is going to the LA Lakers
The LA Lakers are coming off an NBA championship season, and are now trading for Schröder, according to ESPN. The Lakers are reportedly sending Danny Green and the No. 28 overall pick in the NBA draft to the Thunder for Schröder.
You have got to wonder what the Lakers offered that the Bucks couldn’t. While LA has the No. 28 overall pick, the Bucks have the No. 24 overall pick. O’Connor also reported that the Bucks are throwing Eric Bledsoe into most of their trade talks. Bledsoe is certainly the better offensive player than Green, but Green only has one year left on his contract while Bledsoe has multiple years left. So, was it the contract? Or did the Bucks not throw in their pick? It’s hard to tell.
No matter what made the Thunder choose the Lakers’ offer, though, the Bucks are not off to a good start this offseason.