Giannis Antetokounmpo leaving Bucks if they don’t reach NBA Finals?
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s free agency status has been a big talking point around the league for a few years, and it came up again on Friday.
Stephen A. Smith was one of the panelists at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference for a conversation about NBA social media and player empowerment.
ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan talked about whether players wanted to stay in small markets and said what Giannis does in two years will be a big answer. That’s when fellow panelist Stephen A. Smith said he heard Giannis was leaving if the Bucks don’t make the NBA Finals.
“Do players want to stay in small markets?” the great Jackie MacMullan asks the panel. She says litmus test is Giannis this summer.
Stephen A: “I’m told if he doesn’t get to the Finals, he’s leaving. I don’t know if that’s true or not.” #ssac2020
— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) March 6, 2020
This sort of talk, while shocking and somewhat threatening, is nothing new.
Immediately after the Bucks lost in the playoffs to the Raptors last year, the talk was about how Antetokounmpo could leave. He is eligible for a massive contract extension after this season, and you can believe the Bucks will be offering it. You also can believe he is open to leaving.
The Bucks have the best record in the NBA this season and are favored to reach the Finals. Maybe this will all be moot a few months from now. Otherwise, Antetokounmpo can become a free agent after next season.