LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is slated to be a free agent after the 2020-21 season, could hold the league hostage this offseason if he were to decide a new destination is in order.
“It’s not happening. That’s not happening,” Antetokounmpo told Yahoo Sports after the Bucks were eliminated in five games in the second round by the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.
“Some see a wall and go in [another direction]. I plow through it. We just have to get better as a team, individually and get right back at it next season.”
Antetokounmpo, 25, is eligible for a super-max extension this offseason that is expected to be worth around $254 million over five years.
It’s the second straight season the Bucks have entered the postseason with the NBA’s best record but failed to advance to the NBA Finals.
Rival teams have wishfully focused on this period and these set of circumstances in hopes of another Anthony Davis scenario playing out. Davis was traded to the Lakers in June 2019 after an ugly standoff with the New Orleans Pelicans.
“If winning a championship was easy, everyone would have one,” Antetokounmpo told Yahoo Sports. “We lost. Everyone saw that we lost. It’s disappointing, but what are we going to do? We’re going to keep working. I’ve got confidence in my teammates.”
Last year’s MVP and this season’s Defensive Player of the Year didn’t play in the 103-94 Game 5 loss because of a right ankle sprain.
But the 6-foot-11 forward was actively engaged on the bench and at halftime with his team down six. He rebounded for his teammates during the break and zipped passes to his shooters for approximately five minutes.
“Everyone has a role to play,” the four-time All-Star told Yahoo Sports. “You see my brother, Thanasis, he’s always up cheering and doing whatever he can when he’s not playing. I’m no different. This is a team and I’m going to do whatever I can to help our team win games.”
General manager Jon Horst has proven that he’s willing to push the envelope transactionally to prevent the roster from becoming stagnant. The Bucks will explore all avenues to find personnel to upgraded the roster.
Oklahoma City Thunder star Chris Paul could be a potential target, Marc Stein of the New York Times reported Tuesday night.
Until then, Antetokounmpo says it’s about getting back to work.
“I trust my teammates,” he told Yahoo Sports. “It’s supposed to be hard.”
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