As the NBA awaits on whether or not Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo will leave the team in the near future, the New York Knicks remain a top landing spot for the superstar forward. More information regarding his future surfaced Wednesday, potentially linking Antetokounmpo to the Knicks.
Giannis Antetokounmpo leaves the door open for a change of scenery
“If there is a better situation for me to win the Larry O’Brien [trophy], I have to take that better situation,” Antetokounmpo said via 48 Minutes.
This comes as the 28-year-old superstar indicated earlier this offseason that he will not sign an extension with the Bucks unless they are fully committed to winning a title. The Knicks are one of the quickest-emerging teams in the early sweepstakes.
Antetokounmpo has a $51 million player option in 2025 before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2026. Rather than waiting until he hits the market, the Knicks have the resources to execute a trade that would make them a true championship contender immediately. If the superstar forces his way out of Milwaukee, New York could swoop in and snatch the bait.
- Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau on Evan Fournier: ‘Be a pro, and see how it unfolds’
- Knicks’ Tom Thibodeau hints at starting unit ahead of training camp
- Knicks: Tom Thibodeau gives vague response on impending shooting guard battle
Mock Trade: Knicks give up haul of talent and pick for Giannis
A trade for Antetokounmpo would force the Knicks to part ways with a slew of core players. This mock trade would see RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson go to Milwaukee along with two first-round picks and one second-rounder for Antetokounmpo.
- Bucks receive: F RJ Barrett, C Mitchell Robinson, 2024 first-round pick, 2025 first-round pick, 2024 second-round pick
- Knicks receive: F Giannis Antetokounmpo
Inserting Antetokounmpo into a lineup with Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle would make them one of the most feared trios in the NBA. The move would create a dynamic offense full of explosiveness and pure scoring at all three levels of the court. A valuable player like Antetokounmpo will come at a high price tag, however.
Moving on from young talent
Barrett was expected to take a big step forward in 2022, but instead, his season was littered with inconsistencies, leaving his role on the Knicks in question. He still has tremendous upside, however, thanks to his age (23) and league experience. Barrett would be a valuable trade piece in a deal with Milwaukee.
Robinson’s game continues to develop in the right direction, leading the league in offensive rebounds last season with 4.5 and averaging nearly two blocks per game. Milwaukee has an aging center room, with 35-year-old Brook Lopez as their starting big. Adding Robinson would give the Bucks some youth with Defensive Player of The Year potential, a valuable asset in addition to Barrett to secure a deal.
New York has plenty of draft capital to help match the mountain-high value Antetokounmpo has. In this trade, three or four first-round picks could suffice, keeping the Knicks’ draft inventory intact and letting the Bucks continue a youth movement building for the future.
Acquiring a perennial MVP candidate is going to cost a truckload of assets. With how expensive the league market is becoming, any trade for a star comes with massive risk. The Knicks need to carefully assess who is a part of their future plans before making rash decisions.
Follow this writer on X/Twitter: @DylanBacker_