Giannis initially shut down those rumors by signing a long-term deal in Milwaukee and winning a title. And there’s been no rumors about his future since signing that contract.
However, his free agency is once again closing in and, one again, the Lakers are going to be mentioned. Longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein reported as such on Monday in his latest newsletter.
The Lakers and the Knicks are already being mentioned as franchises presumed to interest Antetokounmpo down the road if he does decide to move on from Milwaukee, which just made a slew of moves (re-signing Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez and replacing Mike Budenholzer as coach with Adrian Griffin) to try to appease its face of the franchise.
You can be certain, if nothing else, that The Giannis Watch is back on and, like it or not, will thrust his future back to the forefront of the NBA discourse after just three seasons of relative quiet that must have elapsed awfully quickly for Bucks fans.
As Stein also notes, Giannis will be eligible to sign a new extension on Sep. 22. He recently told Tania Ganguli of the New York Times that he wouldn’t even consider signing a new deal until next summer at the earliest, a year before his deal would be up.
Milwaukee has tried to do its part in retaining its talent. Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez are all under contract this season and only Holiday has an option for next season. All three, though, are growing older as Holiday is 33, Middleton is 32 and Lopez is 35.
One of the factors always mentioned when discussing Giannis to the Lakers is that his wife is from Southern California. How much of that is a motivating factor for him obviously remains to be seen, but the Lakers are going to have a foot in the door.
The summer he becomes a free agent, the team will have Anthony Davis, Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura all under contract — among others — for at least the following season. LeBron James’ future plays into this, but there would be no better player to be the center of the franchise heading into the post-LeBron era than Giannis.
Darvin Ham potentially being the head coach would also positive impact that decision, too. Giannis was complimentary of the Lakers hiring him last year.
All of this, though, is very far away from reality, but it’s never too early to start talking free agency rumors, especially when it comes to Giannis.
Here we go again.
You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.