As expected, Chicago Bulls nation went nuts when Milwaukee Bucks star and two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo told Fox Chicago 32 that he would be open to playing for his current team’s Central division rivals in the future.
Antetokounmpo seemed to be speaking more hypothetically and respectfully toward the Bulls organization and the legacy of Michael Jordan. Still, his clear statement sent fans to photoshop and media members to Twitter.
Conventional wisdom tells us not to make too much out of Antetokounmpo’s comments. Still, former Bulls guard and current ESPN sports personality Jalen Rose believes there could be something to the concept.
Former Bulls Guard Jalen Rose Says the Move Would Be a Graduation
In the video below that Rose posted to his social media accounts, he calls Antetokounmpo landing in Chicago a potential “graduation,” from a smaller market team to a big one.
It seems like a lot to fathom Antetokounmpo deciding to jump ship to one of the Bucks’ biggest rivals. He’d instantly make himself the most hated man in a city where he is currently King. We saw how that worked with LeBron James, and he didn’t even land with a team in the same division as the Cleveland Cavaliers when he left initially.
Perhaps that’s why Sirius XM’s Tim Legler asked why Antetokounmpo would even consider doing such a thing.
What Kind of Team Would Giannis Be Joining in Chicago in 2025-26?
Antetokounmpo has a player option in 2025-26 for $51.9 million. It’s easy to imagine him picking that option up in what would be his age-31 season, but then again, Antetokounmpo will have already earned a fortune from his NBA career by that point.
While the Bulls would likely back up the brinks truck to secure Antetokounmpo–assuming he’s anywhere close to the player he is today at age 28–but they would not be able to pay him more than the near $52 million he’d earn from the Bucks.
It’s tough to imagine what the Bulls will look like in the 2025-26 season. You’d like to think Zach LaVine will still be playing at a high level, considering he’ll be in the fourth season of his five-year, $215 million deal. LaVine is scheduled to make $45.9 million that season. DeMar DeRozan will probably be gone by that time as he’ll be 36 years old. Even if he is still on the roster, it’s a stretch to think he’ll be anything close to the All-NBA performer he was in 2021-22.
Nikola Vucevic will almost certainly be elsewhere, even though there have been some rumblings about him getting an extension. The most likely holdovers from the upcoming season, along with LaVine, are Ayo Dosunmu (who’ll be in his prime at 27 years old), Patrick Williams (who’d better be a multi-time All-Star by that time if the Bulls hope to be a contender) and rookie Dalen Terry.
If Williams takes the steps many expect him to, Dosunmu builds on his All-Rookie second-team performance from the 2021-22 season, and Terry blossoms into an active and athletic 3-and-D guy, the Bulls might have the kind of team that would attract Antetokounmpo. By that time, Giannis may be playing the center position full time and supplying the Bulls with the kind of veteran presence in the frontcourt they need.
He’s probably more likely to remain a Buck for life, but as you can see from the social media reaction after Giannis’ comments, it’s fun for Bulls fans to dream.