Giannis Antetokounmpo Rumors: Bucks asked MVP about James Harden trade

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 26: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - MARCH 26: (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

According to an ESPN report, the Milwaukee Bucks reportedly ran the idea of trading for James Harden by Giannis Antetokounmpo before ending their pursuit.

Whether the Milwaukee Bucks should swing a trade for James Harden quickly became a hot topic of discussion this offseason.

The 2017-18 NBA MVP requested a trade from the Houston Rockets shortly after their season’s conclusion. And per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Harden had expanded his original list of preferred trade destinations to include Milwaukee, which turned some heads. Fans debated heavily on potentially bringing in the shooting guard, especially as Giannis Antetokounmpo had yet to sign his five-year supermax extension.

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While several Eastern Conference contenders have reportedly been making courtesy calls on James Harden’s asking price recently, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst ($$) reports that the Bucks had an “internal conversation” about possibly pursuing the MVP. This included running the idea by Giannis Antetokounmpo before they pulled the plug on their pursuit.

This should not come as a surprise, as Harden and Antetokounmpo have butted heads frequently in recent memory, including taking several verbal jabs at one another in various interviews and television appearances.

While many fans believed that these two former MVPs could potentially push their differences aside to unite and pursue a championship side by side, it appears that the door has shut on making that vision into a reality.

These past conflicts between these two certainly played a part in the team’s final decision, but Milwaukee’s front office was never high on pursuing Harden either, it seems. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick ($$), the Bucks did not see Harden as a “cultural fit” for their roster as currently constructed. The guard has made a handful of headlines this offseason for his off-court decision making, which has been one of the prominent reasons why Milwaukee, along with several other franchises, have been hesitant to make a move for him.

The Milwaukee Bucks’ roster retooling this offseason left them with little moving parts to include in any trade for James Harden.

If Antetokounmpo had initially told the Bucks that he wanted them to pursue a trade for James Harden, they likely would have. However, it would have been a tall task for them trying to get the ball rolling, given their costly offseason dealings.

The trade for Jrue Holiday saw the Bucks part ways with Eric Bledsoe, George Hill, three future first round draft picks, and the rights to two future pick swaps. That left the Bucks with very little to offer Houston in any package for the guard, which made any hope of landing him far-fetched.

Khris Middleton, Donte DiVincenzo, and Brook Lopez could have been compelling pieces in a potential trade package. Still, Milwaukee’s limited draft capital over the next several years is minimal, and that likely would have been a deal-breaker.

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It was fun while it lasted, but the Milwaukee Bucks have officially put the final nail in the coffin regarding any James Harden trade speculation. Only time will tell where the eight-time All-Star gets traded to, if anywhere, but it will not be Milwaukee.