Giannis Has Essentially Doubled Down About How He's Going To Leave The Bucks If It Means He Has A Better Shot At Another Ring

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A few weeks ago Giannis basically drew his line in the sand with a NY Times piece that basically told the Bucks that the possibility of him taking his talent elsewhere in the near future is real. That there was no guarantee he was going to sign his extension and could one day look to a different franchise when it came to competing for titles

The Bucks of course immediately responded by giving his other brother Alex Antetokounmpo a training camp deal. Sadly, I don't think that's exactly what Giannis had in mind when he talked about the organization all being on the same page when it comes to contending for a title.

Now that a few weeks have passed, Giannis hasn't budged one bit. In fact, he basically doubled down on everything

While this may already have Bucks fans nervous, as a non-Bucks fan who doesn't have any emotional connection to this situation, I still look at this all as a replay of what we saw in 2019 pre-Jrue Holiday trade. I see this more as Giannis making sure he's crystal clear when it comes to putting pressure on the entire organization to not get fat and happy and live off that 2020 ring and think Giannis will stay forever. 

At the same time, the way Giannis talks about this is certainly interesting. His reasoning feels more subjective than anything else. Sure one part of the equation will be what the hell the Bucks do with their aging roster, especially if they fail to make the ECF again this upcoming season. But they could make all the moves in the world and Giannis could simply decide everyone isn't as committed as him. It's kind of a genius if you think about it. If the team isn't winning at a high enough level, Giannis can simply play this subjective card when the time comes and just make it clear that he let all this be known in the summer of 2023. 

Where things get dicey is this might all be out of the Bucks' control anyway. Giannis could very well look around the league and see a better opportunity to win regardless of what the Bucks do with their roster moving forward. Maybe things fall into place and the Knicks build a superteam. Maybe the Celts finally get over the hump and continue to contend for years to come. Maybe the choice is the Lakers or some other team out West. Shit, how crazy would it be to see a Giannis/Jokic frontcourt? I imagine Giannis will have the Bucks in a position to trade him so they can at least get a massive haul in return, but really what this does is put MIL on the clock. You basically have 1 year to win a title. As of now Giannis has 2+1 on his current deal, but really it's a 2 year deal because no chance he doesn't turn down that $51M player option in 2025-26 so he can sign a new deal. I say the Bucks have 1 year to win a title because if not, you have to get ahead of things and move Giannis early as opposed to possibly losing him for nothing after the 2025 season.

Now that this stuff is out there and Giannis has doubled down on it, of course this is going to be a storyline all year. If the Bucks have a bad loss to a contender? It's going to come up. If they lose 3 in a row? It's going to come up. If they don't make a deep playoff run/win the whole thing? It's definitely going to come up. Kind of weird that he would be so public about this and create that level of distraction heading into the season when it's also true that Giannis went 10-23 from the FT line and had 7 TOs in their season-ending Game 5 loss to MIA. It's not as if he is without blame for how their season ended, even if he had those back issues. 

So to any Bucks fans reading this blog, I'm sorry to inform you that this storyline certainly isn't going away anytime soon. In fact, it's most likely only going to become bigger and bigger as the season goes on.