As I type these words, my dog is sitting on my lap and staring into my soul. She wants to go out, and she wants to know the pressure is on until she accomplishes her goal of a glorious piddle. Honestly, it’s poetic when we consider this a post about Giannis Antetokounmpo’s offseason comments.
The Milwaukee Bucks’ superstar has put some immense pressure on his organization this summer. He’s staring them right in the face and letting them know that he may not bleed green forever. More specifically, in a recent interview with Bleav’s 48 Minutes, Antetokounmpo said that he’ll go wherever he has the best chance to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
“As long as we play and we approach the game the right way every single day, and we sacrifice for the common goal, I can see myself being a Milwaukee Buck for the rest of my career,” Antetokounmpo said. “But the moment I feel like people are not as committed as I am to get that golden thing in the back, I am not.
I am a Milwaukee Buck, but most importantly I am a winner. I want to win. And I have to do whatever it takes to win, and if there is a better situation for me to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy, I have to take that situation.”
On one hand, Antetokounmpo isn’t saying anything out of the ordinary. He’s merely claiming that, as long as the Bucks are trying to win in earnest, he’ll be in Milwaukee. On the other hand, can the Bucks really stay championship contenders for, well … another decade?
"I'm a Milwaukee Buck, but most importantly I'm a winner. … If there is a better situation for me to win the Larry O'Brien I have to take that better situation."
Giannis on his future with the Bucks. pic.twitter.com/XzucRXtmOv— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) September 13, 2023
The fact of the matter is that every team is going to experience down years, so it’s hard not to wonder how forgiving Antetokounmpo will be when those years strike. Indeed, the reason his comment feels so poignant is because the Bucks appear to be nearing the end of this current iteration. While Brook Lopez just re-signed with the team, he’s 35 years old and it’s only a two-year deal. Khris Middleton may have also inked a fresh deal, but he’s nearing his mid-30s and has failed to play more than 68 games in a season since 2018-19. As for Jrue Holiday, who has played outstanding basketball in recent years, he also just turned 33 years old.
To be sure, nobody is saying this team can’t compete right now, but what about in two seasons? Antetokounmpo is expected to hit unrestricted free agency in 2025 (when he has a player option). If the Bucks can’t sell him on a clear path forward with a more youthful supportive cast, is it crazy to think he could search for a new home?
Let’s not forget these recent remarks come less than a month after Antetokounmpo preached a very similar sentiment to the New York Times. While he continued to express his love and admiration for the organization, he stated the Bucks “have to win another one” and “winning a championship comes first. I don’t want to be 20 years on the same team and don’t win another championship.”
So, look, do I think Antetokounmpo is about to end up on the trading block? No. I’d still say it’s more likely than not that his next deal comes in Milwaukee, too. But he’s also swung the door wide open for some legitimate questions about his future. You know, like, can the Chicago Bulls sign him?
Of course, I ask that question with an overwhelming sense of sarcasm. As things currently stand, the Bulls wouldn’t at all be considered the “better situation” when it comes to competing for a championship. But there is also time! You never know what can happen in the NBA, which is why we recently discussed the potential superstar-hunting aspirations in Chicago.
Oh, and remember that time Giannis said that everybody would love to play for Chicago!? GET THOSE GIANNIS 2025 BILLBOARDS UP ON MADISON!