Any hopes of Giannis Antetokounmpo joining the Los Angeles Lakers have been dashed for at least the foreseeable future with the news that he signed a five-year extension with the Milwaukee Bucks. As his previous contract was getting closer to expiration, there were a ton of rumors of where he might end up. The Lakers were probably always going to be a long shot but they were considered a potential destination had he decided to leave Milwaukee.
LeBron James knows a thing or two about leaving his original team and he reacted to the news that Giannis is staying put.
“I don’t know if I can relate to his situation at all,” LeBron said Tuesday. “Our situations are different. … Totally different, actually. They tried to build something great for him and obviously, they did enough to keep him there and I think it’s great he’s staying there and committed to that franchise.”
LeBron is right about the situations being different. The Bucks have done a much better job of surrounding Giannis with talent and a stable coach than the Cleveland Cavaliers did during LeBron’s first stint. Time will tell if Giannis made the right call but LeBron doesn’t seem to have a problem with the decision that he made all those years ago.
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Good for Milwaukee, Bad for Giannis’ Championship Hopes
This is certainly a great day for Milwaukee. Smaller market teams have had a really difficult time retaining superstar talent. This ensures that the Bucks will at least be relevant for the next five years. However, that doesn’t mean they’re going to get a title. This move obviously makes sense for Milwaukee. It’s highly unlikely another star like Giannis would fall on their lap if he decided to leave.
On the other hand, this makes getting a championship a lot harder for Giannis. It’s commendable that he didn’t force his way to Miami or Golden State to form a superteam but the Bucks might not even be the best team in the East. The addition of Jrue Holiday should make the team better but does it make them better than the Brooklyn Nets? Probably not if Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant gel together and don’t get hurt. Plus, the Philadelphia 76ers should be better and James Harden could still get moved to the Eastern Conference. The Bucks have a good team but it’s hard to imagine them winning a title in the next couple of years.
Bucks Aren’t Close to the Lakers
Even if the Bucks make it out of the East, they still have to go through a powerhouse Lakers team to win a championship. An argument can be made that Giannis is the best player in the world but Milwaukee’s second-best player isn’t even close to LeBron or Anthony Davis. Plus, the Lakers added some serious depth this offseason.
Until the Bucks can prove they can win in the playoffs, a championship seems unlikely. Five years from now, Giannis may just end up in a place like Los Angeles to secure a championship before he calls it a quits.