The Milwaukee Bucks continue to emphatically shut down any possibility of a Giannis Antetokounmpo trade this offseason, and rightfully so.
Fresh off of winning his second consecutive Most Valuable Player award, about every team in the league was gathering assets to make their pitch toward Giannis if he requested a trade. Despite Antetokounmpo himself assuring that he would play out the final year of his deal with the Bucks, the chatter surrounding the situation has been nonstop for teams trying to pry the 25-year-old away from Milwaukee.
However, to the surprise of no one, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps reported that any idea of an Antetokounmpo trade this offseason is purely fictitious:
“Multiple sources have emphatically said Milwaukee will not look to trade Antetokounmpo if he passes on the extension. Instead, the Bucks will try to improve their roster and use the next year to show Antetokounmpo why he should stay.”
Trading Giannis this offseason would be a significant mistake even if he does not elect to sign his five-year supermax extension. At just 25 years old, Antetokounmpo is already a two-time MVP and the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
Players of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s stature do not come around often, and no trade package the Bucks could potentially get in return would come close to similar value.
While shutting down any trade speculation surrounding the Greek Freak undoubtedly puts more pressure on Milwaukee to win next season, he has, on several occasions, shared his desire to remain with the team long-term.
Just last month, as he accepted the 2019-20 MVP award virtually from Greece, Antetokounmpo expressed his enthusiasm to stay in Milwaukee to TNT’s Ernie Johnson.
“As long as everybody is on the same page and as long as everybody is fighting for the same thing every single day, which is to be a champion, I don’t see why not be in Milwaukee for the next 15 years.”
As Milwaukee has rightfully done, shutting down any contemplation of a trade centered around Giannis Antetokounmpo focuses on the larger task at hand. Given all of the previous rumblings involving the Bucks this offseason, this recent development should not come as much of a shocking twist.
Ownership has already pledged to spend into the luxury tax to deliver a championship-caliber supporting cast and do what it takes to give the team its best shot to win a title next season with Antetokounmpo at the helm. That gives the Bucks quite the variety of potential avenues they can take this offseason as they look to retool their roster, and they are shaping up to be busy on both the trade and free agent markets.
With the team assuring that Giannis is off limits, they can now focus on how to piece together a championship run for next season. The goal is to get Antetokounmpo to sign an extension, which winning could certainly inspire him to do. Instead of being paranoid about the uncertainty of Giannis’ future, the team is rightfully focused on how to ensure it takes place in Milwaukee.
Outside speculation will continue to build around the Bucks and Giannis Antetokounmpo regardless, but fans can let out a sigh of relief at this moment.