The pressure on the Milwaukee Bucks organization been cranked up considerably after an early playoff exit. They are now two years removed from winning a championship and have only won one playoff series since. As we explained when the Bucks nearly lost Brook Lopez in free agency, the Bucks’ window could be closing faster than we think. The top starters around Giannis Antetokounmpo are all in their early-to-mid 30s and the team is limited in assets to significantly improve the roster around him.
Antetokounmpo seems well aware of all these factors after making a series of comments this offseason regarding his future, starting with not planning on extending with the Bucks this offseason. He is extension-eligible from September 22 through the day before the start of the regular season, but can only add up to three years by extending now. Even if he plans on getting a new deal with Milwaukee, it makes more sense to do it next season when he can add up to four years.
Antetokounmpo further fueled speculation earlier this week on his future when he said that he would be open to better opportunities to win a championship outside of Milwaukee. Whether Antetokounmpo truly has a wandering eye or not, he is finally starting to apply pressure on the Bucks’ organization. His contract situation with only one year left before he can opt out and become a free agent in 2025 should give Milwaukee a strong sense of urgency.
Although the Bucks still have time to make things work, the rest of the league is keeping an eye on the situation. ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently discussed Antetokoumpo’s comments with Ramona Shelburne and believes the Bucks actually might trade Antetokounmpo instead of playing things out through his free agency. Lowe also added that interested teams are probably holding onto their assets in anticipation of a trade request.
They went on to list teams they could see eventually getting in the mix for Antetokounmpo in a trade. Below is a ranking of those teams based on how realistic their chances are of successfully acquiring him.