The Los Angeles Lakers lost to the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night, but Giannis Antetokounmpo was nice enough to (accidentally) give fans of the purple and gold a reminder of what the future could hold after the game when he quickly held his brother Kostas’ No. 37 Lakers jersey before giving it to his Bucks teammate (and other brother) Thanasis for a photo:
Family first pic.twitter.com/H7Zpyeq0eq— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) December 20, 2019
Yes, you saw that correctly, that was just video of Giannis holding a Lakers jersey with his last name on it. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Giannis — the league’s reigning MVP — will be a free agent in 2021, coincidentally the same summer when L.A. has no contracts on its books other than possibly the final year of LeBron James’ current deal (if he opts in), qualifying offers for Kyle Kuzma and Talen Horton-Tucker and possibly Anthony Davis’ new deal, if he re-signs with the Lakers this summer.
That commitment to financial flexibility in 2021 is something that was made obvious when the Lakers mostly signed players to two-year deals this summer, locking in their roster until the summer Giannis just happens to be a free agent. General manager Rob Pelinka has even openly alluded to adding a star around that time, even if he’s not allowed to name any names, obviously.
All of those factors combined have led to plenty of speculation that the Lakers will try to sign Giannis (as will likely every other NBA team with cap space in 2021). And while him holding up this jersey doesn’t technically mean anything, for one glorious moment, Lakers fans got a sneak preview at what that introductory press conference might look like, with Giannis holding up a Lakers jersey to show the cameras:
Hilariously, and to his credit, Giannis seemingly realized in real time what Lakers fans were going to do with this image, and passed Kostas’ jersey to Thanasis as quickly as humanly possible:
Now that’s the type of court vision that helps make him one of the best players in the league.
Still, we will always have that one second where Giannis held up that purple and gold jersey. I’m sure no one is going to overreact to it, or use this image irresponsibly. Let’s be subtle, like the Lakers themselves were before the game:
All the way from #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/F97t83j67E— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) December 20, 2019
In case the NBA is reading this, that tweet was only referring to Kostas. The Lakers surely don’t even know the names of anyone else in that photo.
Anyway, let’s all be calm about this. We definitely would not endorse you downloading the photos on this page and tweeting them at the Bucks account or their fans when they talk trash about Thursday night’s game, or at any point moving forward. We definitely should not also use it as fodder to talk about Giannis’ free agency, or use it as the featured image for every free agency story on Giannis this site runs over the next few years. Nope, we definitely, in no way should do any of that. And none of you should either.
But if you want to do those things... Here is what he’d look like with the Lakers jersey on, just for informational purposes only, obviously:
2021 pic.twitter.com/q2EL9p66Ng— Grant Goldberg (@GrantGoldberg) July 21, 2019
#soon pic.twitter.com/sFBoTM93nN— Grant Goldberg (@GrantGoldberg) December 20, 2019
For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.