It’s time to dismantle the Bucks
David Thorpe on moving Giannis and a new era in Milwaukee
BY DAVID THORPE
Giannis Antetokounmpo has used the media to put some heat on the Milwaukee Bucks front office to put together a killer team. In no uncertain terms, Giannis indicated to Tania Ganguli of The New York Times, should the Bucks stray from an all-in approach, the situation could sour in Cream City.
When asked about a second supermax extension, Giannis made it clear that his future might not align with the Bucks’ vision:
“There will never be hard feelings with the Milwaukee Bucks. [...] I believe that we’ve had 10 unbelievable years, and there’s no doubt I gave everything for the city of Milwaukee. Everything. Every single night, even when I’m hurt. I am a Milwaukee Buck. I bleed green. I know this.
“This is my team, and it’s going to forever be my team. I don’t forget people that were there for me and allowed me to be great and to showcase who I am to the world and gave me the platform. But we have to win another one.”
Let’s be honest: Milwaukee is not Mykonos—nor Miami, for that matter. Jimmy Butler and the play-in Heat floored the Bucks, the East’s top seed, in the first round last season after Giannis missed most of Game 1 and all of Games 2 and 3 with an injured back. Giannis caught plenty of flak for that series loss, and he addressed that criticism head-on, claiming it wasn’t a failure. But one has to wonder if that speed bump—and the subsequent firing of Mike Budenholzer—shifted the Bucks and their generational superstar off parallel paths.
And now, with Giannis playing both wait-and-see and now-or-else, what will GM Jon Horst and company do next? Do they ignore Giannis’ comments—or do they capitalize on a superstar in the midst of his dominant prime and move him?
The challenge for the front office isn’t finding the right deals. Almost every team will come out of the woodwork if they suspect Giannis is available. The real challenge is deciding whether to trade Giannis at all.
But I think Giannis’ comments signal that now is the perfect time to dismantle the Bucks.
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