“What the Knicks have going for them is they can return that 2025 Bucks pick to Milwaukee,” ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his “The Lowe Post” podcast, referring to the top-4 protected pick, which the Knicks acquired from the Kemba Walker-Jalen Durant 2022 Draft Day trade.
“If you’re the Bucks, you know the picks from the team that gets Giannis are not that appealing because that team is probably going to be very good because Giannis will be on it. The idea of getting picks from teams who are not that team [trading for him], from third teams, including yourself as the Bucks, is an interesting one,” Lowe explained.
Antetokounmpo, who put the Bucks on the clock in two separate interviews with the New York Times and “48 Minutes” podcast, might become available as early as next offseason if they bomb out again in the playoffs, according to Lowe.
However, Lowe doubts if the Knicks have a young blue-chip player that will interest the Bucks in a potential Antetokounmpo trade.
“The Knicks’ issue is I just don’t know what the [outgoing] blue-chip talent is, if any, that they have,” Lowe said. “If you are the Bucks, are you excited about RJ Barrett or Immanuel Quickley, who’s extension eligible right now?”
Knicks’ Potential Rivals for Giannis Antetokounmpo
The Knicks are on top of ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne’s mind, along with the Brooklyn Nets, as Antetokounmpo’s projected top suitors, with the Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors as long shots.
“The Knicks because they really do have a lot of assets, and it’s a big market, Shelburne said on “The Lowe Post” podcast. “They’ve sort of kept them after they didn’t make that Donovan Mitchell trade… They’re very well positioned.”
“Brooklyn’s very well positioned as well if they could convince [Antetokounmpo] to want to sign there long term,” Shelburne continued, “but this is where market matters, right?”
The Lakers, Warriors and the Heat, especially if they successfully trade for Damian Lillard, are handicapped with shallow draft capital to trump the Knicks and the Nets.
Lowe’s issue with the Nets is how they can keep Mikal Bridges, who the Bucks are expected to ask as the centerpiece of the outgoing package.
Dark Horse Teams
Lowe’s dark horse teams are two young teams on the rise — the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Magic.
The Thunder can pair Antetokounmpo with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, plus they have the assets that Sam Presti has accumulated over the years since the Paul George trade and blue-chip young players to entice the Bucks.
“They have three, at least three legit, very enticing prospects that a team could talk themselves into being multi-time All-Stars,” Lowe said, referring to Josh Giddey, Chet Holmgren and Jalen Williams.
The Magic also have their own draft picks, plus two more first-round selections from other teams, including a top-5 protected from Denver in 2025.