All it took was seven seemingly innocuous words to send social media into a frenzy. Whether you believe the Chicago Bulls have a shot at landing Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo or not, you have to respect the way the Bulls have gone about business since.
Antetokounmpo said he could see himself possibly playing for the Bulls. But in the same breath, he also reiterated his commitment to the Bucks.
He has become a two-time MVP and champion there.
But after previous reports linked the Bulls to one of his siblings, it appears that the Bulls are at least keeping the idea warm on the back burner. Nothing has come of their link to the other Antetokoumpo, yet the connection is growing stronger with reports of their newest hire to the staff.
Bulls Hire Greek National Sports Director
Christos Tsaltas of SDNA.gr first reported that Bulls vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas had watched Giannis’ younger brother, Kostas Antetokounmpo while the latter was playing for Greece during a friendly match ahead of the FIBA World Cup Qualifiers.
Antetokounmpo had put up an impressive 19-point, 13-rebound double-double while also displaying some nice skills leading Greece to a comeback victory.
With the Bulls still having an open two-way slot and Justin Lewis’ injury, the move made sense.
But Chicago sports reporter Daniel Greenberg announced a different move that potentially has the same endgame.
The team has yet to officially announce anything on the hire.
Still, the internet never fails and the other connection that stands out is to the two-time MVP for whose development the Bulls have had a front-row seat.
Antetokounmpo is 19-12 against the Bulls in his career averaging 22.1 points, 9.5 boards, and 4.9 assists. But most of those losses came early in his career. The Bucks have not fallen to the Bulls when the Greek Freak plays since January of the 2018 season taking the last 13 meetings.
If he were indeed to ever become available it is not hard to imagine the Bulls would be at the front of the line.
Logistics of Landing Giannis
There are two sides to this discussion. On one hand, Antetokounmpo is under contract through 2026 with a player option in the final year on a deal that will have paid him $228 million. And he has become arguably the best player in the NBA in Milwaukee.
He has every reason to stay including a sibling in Thanasis Antetokounmpo.
His statements were likely just his experience in the media showing through after nine years in the league.
He showed reverence for a rival while also remaining vague enough to keep the pressure on the organization to remain competitive but not alienate the fans. On the other hand, Giannis has always been a straight shooter.
“It was very hard, but we did. Very, very hard. I just love challenges. What’s the next challenge? The next challenge might not be here. Me and my family chose to stay in this city that we all love and has taken care of us—for now,” Giannis told Zach Baron of GQ in 2021. “In two years, that might change. I’m being totally honest with you. I’m always honest.”
Giannis Left Door Open
Again Antetokounmpo stated his commitment to the community in Milwaukee. And it’s a leap to think that the Bucks won’t do everything in their power to keep him happy.
“I love this city. I love this community. I want to help as much as possible.”
But his honesty is a beacon to all 29 other teams, perhaps some more than others, and the Bulls appear to be looking at everything once again.