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Brian Windhorst Is Back At It Again, This Time Suggesting It's "50/50 At Best" That Giannis Stays With The Bucks

Megan Briggs. Getty Images.

When Giannis first dropped the notion that his future with the Bucks was certainly no guarantee and that the possibility that he could one day leave for a different team that had a better chance to win was real, I didn't put much stock in it.

When he then doubled down on that take a few days later, I still didn't really put much stock in it. Mostly because we've seen this story before with this exact same player and this exact same team. The result? The Bucks traded for Jrue Holiday and then immediately won the title. Putting the pressure on the team to make big, win-now moves worked.

Now after a few seasons of underachievement, I pretty much considered this a Round 2 of this exercise to make sure the Bucks didn't get complacent. You could argue this was more of a "soft launch" and that Giannis was actually laying the groundwork for a potential exit, but I didn't really buy that angle.

Until now

Listen, gone are the days of Windy throwing shit to the wall and hoping it sticks. When it comes to this stuff and potential player movement, the guy is on a heater. His sources are so good on this topic that Woj and Shams could only dream of being as plugged in. As far as I'm concerned, until further notice we as outsiders have to believe Windhorst when he says shit like this.

50/50 at best? That sure sounds a little more serious than just putting pressure on a front office. The fact that he's essentially saying this is not the same old story when it comes to Giannis and his future as we saw in 2019 is definitely noteworthy. Looking around the internet on this topic, most of the reporting seemed to align with how I felt when the news first came out. A simple pressure play, nothing more nothing less.

I do think what makes what Giannis said interesting is how subjective it is. He says he has to feel like everyone is as committed as he is to winning. How do you quantify that? There are only so many things they can do in terms of their roster construction. The team just invested big money in their aging core in an effort to keep the band together which I imagine Giannis preferred or else why would they do it? It's not as if they had a ton of cap space to spend on a big time free agent and have limited draft capital, so what exactly does Giannis expect in terms of this "commitment to winning"? 

Maybe that's what Windy is hinting at here and why he says 50/50 at best. That Giannis actually sees the writing on the wall given their roster construction and age, and knows his time may be running out for that 2nd title. There's also the Jrue Holiday factor to remember as well, which might also be what is influencing Windy here. 

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This is the last season on Jrue's deal before his player option next summer. Based on how NBA players operate, chances are he's turning down that option so he can get a new deal. 

If the Bucks aren't able to figure out an extension and he ultimately leaves, I feel like that's Giannis' exit opportunity. Not to mention Woj was already dropping breadcrumbs about "massive talents" that will be available for trade next season, and suddenly this all feels way more real than it did a few weeks ago.

Of course, there's a simple way for the Bucks to avoid all of this drama. Win. I'm not talking about regular season best record in the NBA type shit. I'm talking deep runs. Make a Finals. Win a ring. If you do that, Giannis most likely stays. But if they lose again in Round 1 or even fail to make the ECF, something that's happened in back to back seasons? Well, now we're talking about the Bucks having to trade Giannis a year early to prevent the possibility that the Bucks lose that asset for nothing in the summer of 2025 which would be a complete disaster for that franchise.

So while there's a lot of basketball to be played between now and then, just put a pin in this Windhorst take. It's hard to imagine he made it all up out of thin air given his recent track record, and I'd consider that a pretty big deal.