How Much Giannis’ Offseason Comments Influenced the Damian Lillard Signing

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Many in the NBA world thought that Giannis Antetokounmpo’s comments over the summer were part of an elaborate scheme to put pressure on the Buck’s front office.

It seemed as though Giannis’ loyalty was wavering for the first time when he said he may look to join another team if Milwaukee can’t give him the best chance of winning another chip.

He spoke to the New York Times and also went on a podcast, where he seemed to double down on his comments.

Was this Giannis’ way of getting the front office to sign a star like Damian Lillard? Or even get Jrue Holiday an extension?

Giannis absolutely refutes this.

“No. Zero. None of those things,” Antetokounmpo told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “It was organic. I didn’t have a strategy. Nothing. (That message) is something that I always — every year — say. I can go back and find five articles of me saying this since I was 22 years old, you know?

“The New York Times piece was not about basketball. It was a business piece, and (the reporter), like everybody else, cut to the chase and asked me a basketball question and I said what I always say. And the podcast, I went on this podcast because the (host, former Bucks assistant coach Ross Geiger) is my friend.”

Milwaukee GM Jon Hurst shared similar thoughts to Giannis on the matter and simply explained the comments were nothing new.

“I think it’s probably too dismissive to say that (Antetokounmpo’s comments) didn’t factor in at all,” Horst said. “That’s probably not honest and sincere, because I care about everything that our players say and I try to assess it and evaluate it and understand it. But (the part it played) is just a little bit above ‘not at all.’ It’s not much above ‘Not at all.’ And the reason is that it’s not new.

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“It’s nothing that he hasn’t said to me privately, that he hasn’t said publicly (before). It’s nothing different than how I believe and feel and operate, obviously, considering the things that we’ve done. We’re obviously very aligned in our approach, in our commitment to winning, to not being just OK and standing pat or accepting the status quo. So it had very little impact on what we did. What we did is because we felt like it was the best thing for us to do.”

Signing Lillard seemed to have a huge impact on Giannis and his future, because he signed a $186 million max contract with the Bucks on Monday.

Scheme or no scheme, things seems to be working out pretty well for two-time MVP Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee.