The Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat are reportedly preparing to make extremely aggressive pushes to acquire Giannis Antetokounmpo. The reigning league MVP is entering the final season of a four-year, $100 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. He becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
According to sports TV and radio host Ashley Nicole Moss, the Warriors “have prepared a very intriguing package” featuring Andrew Wiggins in hopes of acquiring Antetokounmpo. Presumably it would also involve the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and some spare parts, since Wiggins alone is unlikely to be enough to pry a back-to-back league MVP away from the Bucks. The one potential wrinkle in all this, per Moss, is that Antetokounmpo “is not prepared to sign a long deal” with the Warriors.
One team the 25-year-old is willing to sign long-term with? The Heat. Moss also reports that “despite previous reports, Tyler Herro is not an ‘untouchable’ in the team’s pursuit of Giannis Antetokounmpo.” Moreover, she also noted that Antetokounmpo “splits his offseason between Greece and Miami” and that “he’s prepared to sign a long-term deal in Miami.” According to Moss, “the Bucks are not willing to end up with nothing by letting him hit free agency in 2021” and “a deal is expected before then.”
As far as the Miami deal goes, a lot of that coincides with what Zach Harper of The Athletic has already reported. It was revealed several weeks back that the only players Riley would trade Herro for are Antetokounmpo and Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal.
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 3, 2020
“It’s just hard to see Herro being involved [in any deals] unless they’re acquiring Giannis or Beal in a potential trade,” Harper noted at the time.
He also said that Bam Adebayo was the Heat’s only real “untouchable.”
“Adebayo is pretty much off the board,” he said. “A league source [told] The Athletic that the Heat ‘would hang the phone up with F-bombs ringing through the disconnected call’ if someone demanded Adebayo in a deal.”
So that’s how she motivates Gronk. https://t.co/84SK9ScUhu
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 3, 2020
Adebayo is fresh off a career-best year this season, earning an All-Star nod while posting 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.3 blocks per game. Most importantly, he showcased the sort of adaptability on both offense and defense that is incredibly difficult to find in players his size. Herro, similarly, is coming off a strong rookie campaign. During the regular season he put up 13.5 points on 42.8 percent shooting, 4.1 rebounds and 2 assists per outing. In the postseason, those figures turned into 16.4 points on 43.8 percent shooting, 5.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Both Adebayo and Herro were essential to the Heat’s run to the NBA Finals.
That being said, Antetokounmpo is obviously one of the best players in the NBA today. There is a reason why every organization in the league wants him. If you can acquire him, even if it comes at the expense of a beloved promising talent or two, you do it.
The big question is whether Milwaukee is really willing to part ways with him. Up to this point, Antetokounmpo has vocally maintained that he has no immediate plans to leave the Bucks via free agency. Assuming the front office believes him, why trade him away? It’s not like Milwaukee is a free agent hot spot. If they lose Antetokounmpo, the franchise will be terrible for years to come. No stars will come to replace him.
Don’t try to rob the greatest UFC fighter of all time. It won’t end well. https://t.co/VtBEWH0kq3
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 2, 2020
As is usually the case this time of the year, it’s important to take all rumors with a grain of salt. Not because anyone is necessarily lying about them, but just because circumstances can change quickly.
That said – nobody thought LeBron James would leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Heat or Los Angeles Lakers. Most didn’t anticipate Kevin Durant ditching the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Warriors. These things have a tendency to happen quietly and quickly.
Is it a lock that Antetokounmpo will end up in San Francisco or Miami? Obviously not. But is there a very real possibility? Absolutely.