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NBA Trade Rumors: Bucks’ Giannis Discussed by Teams with Stockpile of NBA Draft Picks | News, Scores, Highlights, Stats, and Rumors

Written by on April 29, 2024

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - APRIL 03: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks works out before the game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Fiserv Forum on April 03, 2024 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by John Fisher/Getty Images)

John Fisher/Getty Images

The Milwaukee Bucks haven’t yet been eliminated from the 2024 NBA playoffs, but the sharks might already be starting to circle.

ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reported on Brian Windhorst’s Hoop Collective podcast that Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo “comes up very, very early, if not right off the bat” with teams that could leverage a “stockpile” of draft picks into acquiring a marquee talent.

There’s nothing yet to indicate Antetokounmpo will begin to seriously consider his future in Milwaukee. Only last October he agreed to an extension that keeps him under contract for at least two more seasons.

But it wouldn’t be a total shock if the two-time NBA MVP decided to explore greener pastures.

The Bucks are in all likelihood headed for a first-round exit at the hands of the Indiana Pacers. Their fate was pretty much sealed when Giannis suffered a calf strain late in the regular season, and Damian Lillard’s Achilles injury was another massive blow.

Even taking the injuries into account, Milwaukee simply hasn’t performed up to expectations. The front office felt strongly enough to fire head coach Adrian Griffin after just 43 games and things didn’t improve much once Doc Rivers took over.

There aren’t many ways for general manager Jon Horst to meaningfully improve the roster, either, because he has exhausted his best trade assets to put this squad together. In the near term, there’s little in the way of draft capital or salary cap space.

Horst faced a choice last offseason.

With Brook Lopez headed for free agency and Jrue Holiday eligible to hit the open market in another year, the Bucks could’ve attempted to sell Antetokounmpo on a retool that would require taking a step backward but allow for the roster to get younger and cheaper. Instead, they doubled down on the present by re-signing Lopez and trading Holiday for Lillard.

Giannis’ extension aside, the immediate returns from that strategy aren’t encouraging.

If winning another championship is the only thing that matters for Antetokounmpo, he might think his window has closed in Milwaukee.

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