Lakers Linked to 2-Time MVP Amid Recent Speculation About Future

Giannis Antetokounmpo

Getty Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has been as loyal as they come since joining the Milwaukee Bucks. He hasn’t shown any signs of wavering loyalty until just recently when The New York Times in an August 24th interview that he won’t sign an extension with the team if he doesn’t feel “everybody’s going for a championship.”

The Bucks have disappointed in the playoffs for back-to-back seasons since winning the title for the 2020-21 season. If Antetokounmpo were to become available, he’ll be the most sought-after player in the NBA when he’s able to hit free agency in 2025. There will be no shortage of teams vying for his services but according to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Los Angeles Lakers are already one of the teams that may be a fit for the two-time MVP.

“The Lakers and the Knicks are already being mentioned as franchises presumed to interest Antetokounmpo down the road if he does decide to move on from Milwaukee, which just made a slew of moves (re-signing Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez and replacing Mike Budenholzer as coach with Adrian Griffin) to try to appease its face of the franchise,” Stein wrote in an August 28 column for his Substack.

“You can be certain, if nothing else, that The Giannis Watch is back on and, like it or not, will thrust his future back to the forefront of the NBA discourse after just three seasons of relative quiet that must have elapsed awfully quickly for Bucks fans.”

A lot can happen between now and 2025 but if the Lakers can prove to Antetokounmpo that they are completely dedicated to winning championships, they could be appealing to him.

Giannis Antetokounmpo Could Be LeBron James Replacement

LeBron James decided against retirement this offseason but he’s going to turn 39 during the regular season and it would be wise for the Lakers to start thinking of potential replacement plans. James’ current contract will run him through the 2024-25 season. That’s the same year Giannis Antetokounmpo will be eligible to become a free agent. Should James decide to retire, the Lakers will have room to add another star player.

Anthony Davis is under contract at least until 2027 so they’d be able to pair him with Antetokounmpo. That would give the Lakers two of the best bigs in the NBA. There will be lots of talk about who Los Angeles might replace James with as he nears retirement and Antetokounmpo just became one of the most interesting options with his recent comments.

What if LeBron James Doesn’t Retire?

While LeBron James is getting older, he has shown few signs of slowing down and averaged 28.9 points a game last season. It’s feasible to believe that he could still be good for at least 20 points a game two years from now. Now, a 40-year-old James likely isn’t getting another max contract. Having him be the third star on a team that Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo could be serious championship contenders.

There’s a lot of time to figure out the next steps but an Antetokounmpo addition doesn’t make it impossible to keep James, as long as he’s willing to play at a discount. At the very least, the Lakers could have some contract flexibility in 2025 to work with James.