Giannis Antetokounmpo Raises Knicks’ Hopes After Revealing Future Plan

Mitchell Robinson, New York Knicks

Getty Mitchell Robinson of the New York Knicks defends Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo left the door open for a potential move to the New York Knicks or to any other big market with his recent comments.

According to a New York Times report, Antetokounmpo is unsure to sign an extension with the Bucks beyond next season.

“The real question’s not going to be this year — numbers-wise it doesn’t make sense,” Antetokounmpo told New York Times’ Tania Ganguli. “But next year, next summer it would make more sense for both parties. Even then, I don’t know.”

Antetokounmpo will be eligible to sign a three-year extension worth about $173 million later this offseason. But he’s taking a wait-and-see approach.

“I would not be the best version of myself if I don’t know that everybody’s on the same page, everybody’s going for a championship, everybody’s going to sacrifice time away from their family like I do. And if I don’t feel that, I’m not signing,” Antetokounmpo added.

It’s an ultimatum to the Bucks, which brought back their aging 2021 championship core, to continue to extend their title window.

Wait-and-See Approach With Ex-Tom Thibodeau Assistant

The Bucks surprisingly hired a rookie head coach, Adrian Griffin, to replace NBA champion coach Mike Budenholzer after their first-round flameout.

The 49-year-old Griffin served as Tom Thibodeau‘s assistant coach in Chicago for five seasons. Griffin is under pressure to deliver in his first year as head coach with Antetokounmpo’s extension on the line.

“You’ve got to see the dynamics,” the two-time MVP told the New York Times. “How the coach is going to be, how we’re going to be together. At the end of the day, I feel like all my teammates know and the organization knows that I want to win a championship. As long as we’re on the same page with that and you show me and we go together to win a championship, I’m all for it. The moment I feel like, oh, yeah, we’re trying to rebuild —”

“There will never be hard feelings with the Milwaukee Bucks,” he continued. “I believe that we’ve had 10 unbelievable years, and there’s no doubt I gave everything for the city of Milwaukee. Everything. Every single night, even when I’m hurt. I am a Milwaukee Buck. I bleed green. I know this.”

Knicks Saving Their Chips for Superstar

The Knicks have been patiently building a playoff contender. Last season, they made a leap, pushing eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat to six games in the second round.

This summer, they have resisted going all-in for B-level stars, saving their draft capital for top-tier superstars such as Joel Embiid and Antetokounmpo. They even tried to sign Antetokounmpo’s brother, Thanasis, to plant the seeds of a potential Giannis chase. But the Bucks ultimately brought Thanasis back to be reunited with Giannis.

“This is my team, and it’s going to forever be my team. I don’t forget people that were there for me and allowed me to be great and to showcase who I am to the world and gave me the platform. But we have to win another one,” Antetokounmpo told the New York Times.

And if they don’t, his eyes would start to wander, especially with Antetokounmpo motivated to grow his business outside basketball to produce more generational wealth to take care of his family, which came into focus at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As much as he wants to play in Milwaukee for the rest of his career, he wants to maximize his prime years.

“But at the end of the day, being a winner, it’s over that goal,” he said. “Winning a championship comes first. I don’t want to be 20 years on the same team and don’t win another championship.”

Winning in New York, the biggest media market, will cement his NBA legacy and, at the same time, grow his business portfolio exponentially.

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