As if falling in Game 2 wasn't rough enough for Bucks fans, you knew this was coming. You knew there would be leaks or reports from "sources" about Giannis playing anywhere other than Milwaukee. It's why this morning I told Bucks fans to not even turn on the TV or go on the internet. So if you're a Bucks fan and you clicked this blog, what are you doing to yourself?
If you've been following this story for a while you shouldn't be surprised by the Heat or Raptors being mentioned. Shit, I just blogged about this the other day
The Heat have made it known they want Giannis and will be going after him and those rumors are not going away. Especially with those two teams in a playoff series right now.
But the Raptors are also a team that has been linked to Giannis for a while, and it all comes back to Masai Ujiri. It dates back to 2013 when Ujiri tried like hell to trade into the first round to select Giannis
When he was still with the Denver Nuggets Ujiri was going to take Giannis Antetokounmpo with the 27th pick. But word got out about the potential of the Nigerian teenager who grew up an illegal immigrant hawking trinkets on the streets of Greece. He ended up being taken 15th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks and had a promising rookie season that have some convinced the lanky, six-foot-nine unknown could soon be an impact player in the NBA.
When Ujiri got the job with the Raptors last May he tried desperately to make a trade to get into the first round (Toronto didn’t have a pick) so he could take the player who has come to be known as the “Greek Freak” but couldn’t pull it off.
Plus, there's this
and there are also reports that Masai Ujiri helped get Giannis' family from Nigeria to Greece so it's not like they don't have a history. Plus you look at the Raptors roster, and I think it's fair to say that Siakam is still fairly unproven as being a #1 guy on a title team. He was awesome in his role next to Kawhi, but has struggled this playoffs in his new role. Bringing in Giannis would certainly help with that.
I'm also starting to wonder if this "open secret" is impacting the Bucks play in the bubble. If you've watched them since the restart you can tell something is off. They are not the buzzsaw that we saw in the regular season. Who knows if all this noise and chatter is getting into the locker room. With each Bucks loss these rumors are only going to get louder, and if they do get eliminated in the second round, unless Giannis flat out says he's staying in MIL, its going to be even crazier until he puts pen to paper on that supermax extension this offseason.
Personally, I still feel in my gut that there's no way Giannis turns down that supermax money. I can't think of an NBA player that has done that. At the same time, if he were to join MIA or TOR I don't think he would get killed like Durant did going to Golden State. Neither of those teams are "superteams" right now. He wouldn't be stacking the deck by any means. As a Bucks fan it would scare the shit out of me that Pat Riley and Masai Ujiri were coming after my franchise player. They are two of the best in the business, work for two of the best organizations in the league, have great coaches and good talent on their rosters.
As someone who has seen his favorite team lose a couple players in free agency (especially after an underachieving season) I can tell you when there is this much smoke surrounding a player and the chances he might leave, it's usually not bullshit. You don't want to believe it as a fan, you want to pretend it's all just made up rumors that have no basis of fact, but deep down you know there's a chance it could happen.
If I'm Giannis, I'm going to the Heat over the Raptors though. Better weather, better talent, and a franchise that has a proven track record of landing other star players. Buckle up folks, because this is just the beginning of the Giannis sweepstakes.