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Giannis Antetokounmpo eyeing possible move to Lakers?

Giannis Antetokounmpo wearing headphones

May 13, 2022; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) shoots during warmups prior to game six of the second round for the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Boston Celtics at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers may already have their playcall for the post-LeBron James era.

Veteran NBA writer Marc Stein gave an interesting report this week about the future of Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo. Stein said that the Lakers are already being mentioned as a team “presumed to interest” Antetokounmpo down the road if he decides to move on from the Bucks. The New York Knicks are also mentioned by Stein as another such team.

The two-time MVP Antetokounmpo cannot become a free agent until 2025, but opposing teams may already have their engines revved up for him. The Bucks are rolling the dice with a first-year head coach (Adrian Griffin) after firing Mike Budenholzer, and their core of players around Antetokounmpo is aging (Khris Middleton is 32, Jrue Holiday is 33, and Brook Lopez is 35). Antetokounmpo himself recently created some mayhem as well by publicly indicating that he will not extend his contract with Milwaukee if does not like the direction that they are headed in.

The mighty Lakers are always a top destination for any free agent, and they could have an advantage in that they previously rostered Antetokounmpo’s younger brother Kostas (who was on their 2020 championship team). But even with James presumably out of the equation in two years, the Lakers already have a lot of long-term money on their books — Rui Hachimura is signed through 2026, Austin Reaves is signed through 2027, and Anthony Davis is signed through 2028. Antetokounmpo may also have to come off his previous stance of not wanting to play in Los Angeles.

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