The Giannis Antetokounmpo rumors are in full swing and two suitors that have emerged are the Lakers and Knicks but NBA executives aren’t buying into the hype.
Veteran NBA insider Marc Stein reported on Monday that LA and New York “are already being mentioned as franchises presumed to interest Antetokounmpo down the road if he does decide to move on from Milwaukee.”
This was following Giannis’ admission to the The New York Times if he doesn’t feel like “everybody’s going for a championship” then he won’t re-sign with the franchise.
One anonymous Eastern Conference General Manager has pointed out that even if the Knicks do interest The Greek Freak, that the franchise simply don’t have have assets to acquire him.
“They will need to get lucky somewhere along the line if there is going to be a trade, and the fact is, it’s always a trade now, it’s never really free agency,” the GM told Heavy Sports. “But everyone talks like the Knicks have this giant pile of picks. They don’t. They have three heavily protected picks and probably none of them get you in the Top 10. Those are nice, but that kind of protection is not going to get you Giannis.”
As for the purple and gold, they can’t trade any first round picks until the 2029 NBA Draft, so if they wanted Giannis it would likely have to be during free agency – which would be a feeding frenzy if Antetokounmpo was to hit the market.
Some are even touting that Giannis could act as LeBron’s replacement in LA but the GM says not to count James out yet.
“If LeBron decides to stay with the Lakers and he’s there past 2025–which is probably going to happen–you really can’t get Giannis to the Lakers in that situation,” the GM said. “It’d be tough.”
A Western Conference executive also weighed on the situation and believes that the two-time MVP doesn’t have the same attraction to big franchises and markets as other NBA players.
“Another executive, with a Western Conference team, pointed out that Antetokounmpo is less enamored of big markets than other major stars, and that the teams poised to make a trade for him – if it comes to that point – are not in places NBA fans might normally expect a star trade,” Deveney wrote.