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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo getting MRI on left knee

Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Brewers are taking no chances on the health of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Antetokounmpo is undergoing a precautionary MRI on his left knee after a hard fall in Friday’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

It does not appear there are any serious concerns about Antetokounmpo’s health. He stayed in the game and there didn’t seem to be any real worry, but you can’t blame the Bucks for being exceptionally cautious with their star player, especially considering the potential stakes of this season.

At 53-10, the Bucks are 8.5 games ahead in the race for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. It won’t be a killer if Antetokounmpo has to sit out a game or two.

Giannis Antetokounmpo leaving Bucks if they don’t reach NBA Finals?

Giannis Antetokounmpo

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.

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.

James Harden fires back at Giannis over All-Star Game joke

James Harden reaction

Giannis Antetokounmpo has made it clear in recent weeks that he is not a big fan of James Harden, and the feeling appears to be mutual.

When Antetokounmpo was picking his All-Star Game roster earlier this month on live TV, he had a funny moment while deciding between Harden, Kemba Walker and Trae Young. The Greek Freak said he didn’t want to pick Harden because he’d rather have a teammate who is going to pass. Harden was asked about that during an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that aired on Friday, and he pointed out that he had more assists than Walker at the time Giannis made the remark. Harden also said it would be a lot easier to play basketball if he were 7 feet tall.

The tension between Harden and Giannis may have begun last year when the two players finished 1-2 in the MVP voting. Harden admitted he was annoyed the media gave the award to Antetokounmpo, which Giannis may have taken as a sign of disrespect.

Giannis also threw an elbow at Harden during the All-Star Game, which may or may not have been inadvertent. If anything happens between the two players on the court going forward, it will be hard to believe it is a coincidence.

Giannis Antetokounmpo responds to Drake trolling him with wrestling belts

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo responded after his Milwaukee Bucks’ 108-97 win in Toronto on Tuesday night to Drake trolling him.

Prior to the game, Drake, who is a Raptors ambassador, brought a couple of wrestling title belts with him to his courtside seats.

The belts seemed to have a dual meaning. For one, they could represent the title the Raptors won last season, where they came back in a playoff series to defeat Milwaukee before advancing to the NBA Finals. The other part is that Giannis enjoys wrestling as part of his pregame routine.

Giannis didn’t seem at all bothered by Drake. He had 19 points, 19 rebounds and 8 assists in the win and said after the game that he doesn’t really care about the rapper.

Drake loves trolling different NBA players as part of his fandom. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to have the negative effect on Giannis he was hoping for.

Giannis Antetokounmpo would love to team up with brothers in ‘LA, Milwaukee, whatever’

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo is currently scheduled to become a free agent following the 2020-21 season, and there has been a lot of talk about him potentially leaving the Milwaukee Bucks. The reigning NBA MVP has made it clear that loyalty is important to him, but could it be loyalty to his family that dictates Antetokounmpo’s future?

Giannis and his older brother Thanasis are currently teammates in Milwaukee. One of their younger brothers, Kostas, is under a two-way contract with the Los Angeles Lakers while their youngest brother, Alex, is an up-and-coming 18-year-old player. Giannis was asked this week what it would be like to team up with all of his brothers, and he said it would be “amazing.” He also inadvertently gave Bucks fans a scare when he said he would like to team up with his brothers in “Milwaukee, LA, whatever.”

Giannis almost certainly mentioned LA because that is where Kostas plays, but it doesn’t take much to fuel the NBA rumor mill.

Antetokounmpo has made it clear in the past that he doesn’t like talking about his contract, but he’s one of the biggest superstars in the game. The Bucks will be able to offer him a mammoth extension this summer, and it would not be a surprise if Giannis signs it and ends all the speculation about his future. While playing with all of his brothers would probably be a dream come true, it is highly unlikely to happen.

Video: Did Giannis Antetokounmpo intentionally hit James Harden with a cheap shot elbow?

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo has repeatedly taken shots at James Harden, and now some are wondering whether the Greek Freak hit Harden with a cheap shot on purpose.

Video has surfaced from Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game that shows Giannis catching Harden with an elbow under the basket.

My usual inclination would be to say it was inadvertent, or maybe just something that happened in the heat of the moment. And that may be the case. But Antetokounmpo seems to have something against Harden, and that piece of information is part of the whole picture.

The two players finished 1-2 in MVP voting last season, and Harden said he was annoyed the media gave the award to Giannis.

Fast forward to the All-Star Game, and Antetokounmpo took a shot at Harden when saying he wouldn’t pick the Rockets star for his All-Star team. Then after the game, Giannis went after Harden again, saying his strategy as captain of one of the teams was for his players to exploit Harden on defense.

Saying that Giannis took an intentional shot at Harden might be a stretch, but there is mounting evidence leading us to conclude that the Bucks star just doesn’t like Harden.

Giannis Antetokounmpo hoping new baby leads to boost in stats

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s longtime girlfriend Mariah Riddlesprigger gave birth to the couple’s first child on Monday, and the Milwaukee Bucks star is hoping to see some benefit on the court.

Antetokounmpo will be entering a world of less sleep and a bit more chaos in his home life after the birth of his son, Liam Charles Antetokounmpo. However, he’s hoping he can make like another NBA player and see his game improve after the birth.

“Look at Fred VanVleet,” Antetokounmpo said, via Eric Woodyard of ESPN. “He started making all those shots when he had his kid. Maybe that happens to me also. Who knows?”

Antetokounmpo is referring to something he saw first-hand in last year’s playoffs. Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet went on a tear following the birth of his son after Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals. After that happened, VanVleet shot 68 percent from the field and 82.4 percent from three-point range in the three games following his son’s birth as the Raptors eliminated the Bucks, and had a great quote after doing it.

The Bucks are 46-7 and don’t really appear to need the help. Imagine how much better they could be if Antetokounmpo gets some sort of post-baby bounce.