Make no mistake about it. Giannis Antetokounmpo is dead serious about leaving the Milwaukee Bucks. He has made his intentions abundantly clear. Anyone who believes that he is just bluffing probably needs a reality check right about now.
If the Bucks fail to win a championship within the next year (or two?), then you can hold Giannis to his word of taking his talents elsewhere.
RUMOR: Playoff Loss to Heat Led to Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Stance
Ric Bucher of Fox Sports recently spoke to a handful of NBA executives to discuss Antetokounmpo’s eye-opening comments. At least one anonymous source believes that Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat have a lot to do with Giannis’ unexpected declaration:
“That happening to him in the first round is the reason for the stance he’s taking, which is, ‘I’m not saying I’m not coming back, but I need to see which team we are,'” said an Eastern Conference assistant GM. “Are we a first-round exit team? Or are we really a Finals team that just happened to lose in the first round for different reasons last year? I actually side with the fact that they just had an unexpected unique kind of situation that had them lose in the first round. They could very well go to the Finals or conference finals this year, and if that happens it would be pretty hard for Giannis to leave.”
The expectations were sky-high for Milwaukee last season, especially after they finished the regular season with the best record in the entire NBA. This is exactly why they were put on blast after suffering a bitterly disappointing first-round exit at the hands of Miami, who incidentally, went all the way to the NBA Finals.
Giannis appears to have been deeply affected by that series loss — at least according to this unnamed exec — and he’s taken a bit of his frustration out on the Bucks by sending them a bold warning about his looming exit.
Giannis Right to Publicly Call Out Milwaukee Bucks?
To say that the basketball world was shocked by Giannis’ comments would be an understatement. Before he declared his intention to jump ship, a lot of people saw Antetkounmpo following in the footsteps of the likes of Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki by spending his entire 20-year career with the same team. This obviously can still happen, but at this point, the reality of the former back-to-back MVP walking away from Milwaukee has become a very real possibility.
For one rival Eastern Conference general manager, Giannis was not in the wrong when he decided to pretty much call out the Bucks:
“He’s right,” said the GM, “If I’m him I tell the Bucks, ‘Hey, you’re going to do what you’re going to do, and you heard me, I want to win. If I think we’re going to win, great, and if not, I’ll do you a favor, and you can trade me for a bunch of picks.’ But it does surprise me that he said it out loud.”
Even this GM was taken aback by the way Giannis delivered his message in a public forum. This was a matter that could have been discussed behind closed doors, and perhaps Anteotkounmpo should have taken that approach. Except that he didn’t, and here we are now.
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