IS THAT THE AGGREGATORS’ MUSIC I HEAR?!
Though the doldrums of an NBA-less Summer are finally waning off into the crisp fall air, we are still over a month away from actual NBA basketball. Despite that, the Great Content Monster must be fed. This week the Monster feasted upon what will likely be its favorite dish over the coming season: Giannis is going to Golden State!!!!!!!!!
At the Milwaukee Bucks’ Town Hall–where I assume they announced their plan for eliminating student debt, if elected–general manager Jon Horst made groundbreaking declarations like the sky is blue, cheese is delicious and
“A year from now <Giannis> will be eligible for a supermax extension. At that time, he’ll be offered a supermax extension.”Jon Horst, not running for President
This was enough reason for our minutes-filling friends over at The Jump to spend five minutes speculating on Giannis’ future. Nick Friedell’s take was so logical and measured, it seemed to disappear immediately into the mysterious ether that devours all sensible sports takes.
The Warriors-friendly writer basically said that to guarantee the MVP stays in Milwaukee, the Bucks need to win a title. Friedell said Antetokounmpo might stay without that, but a title would guarantee it. This scaldingly room-temperature take is perfectly reasonable and one I’m (mostly) prone to agree with.
Apparently though, Ramona Shelburne loves the smell of napalm in the afternoon because she proceeded to light the blogosphere on fire with blistering scoops such as:
“…the Warriors have always been the big threat to go after Giannis.”
“He’s friends with Steph Curry, they have the same agency.”
That’s basically it. Here’s the whole segment if you want it but sincerely those were the big “revelations” that sent the aggregators into violent throes of Meg Ryan in a diner. The clickbait was instantly cast across the deep blue Internet:
Let me take a prompt from my beloved Free Agents (née: The Starters) to react to this:
This is not news.
Sports love a narrative and none more than basketball. Prior to this 2019 season, the Giannis narrative has been about his somewhat unlikely ascendancy to the top of the NBA food chain. That narrative reached its logical conclusion with him winning the MVP. That chapter was closed but with his team being bounced in the Conference Finals, it opened the door for his next chapter’s narrative:
wHeRe WiLl GiAnNiS gO nExT?
That refrain will make Bucks’ fans ears bleed until summer of 2020 when Antetokounmpo can answer with a resounding:
The Great Content Monster must be fed but this is a non-story and Shelburne didn’t even present it as some big scoop. In the modern NBA nothing is a given; even my sweet, earnest, smoothie-drinking, BJ-bell ringing MVP can’t necessarily be trusted when he promises to stay here.
So there has to be a threat. The narrative demands it. And the Warriors are simply the Big Bad du jour of NBA Free Agency. Sure Giannis and Steph seem to be friends, share an agency and definitely had one of the best highlights in recent NBA All-Star game history.
Giannis has said he “loves the way” the Warriors play which literally anyone with half of a brain and even a passing affinity for basketball would likely echo. The other big piece of evidence is just the fact that the Warriors already landed a free agent white whale in the form of Kevin Durant.
I’m not going to litigate whether Durant joining the Warriors was a successful marriage but it’s become clear with recent headlines it was an imperfect one. The time ended with some mild resentment and unpleasant feelings. That doesn’t sound like footsteps Giannis would want to follow in.
The shared agency between Giannis and Steph is of little consequence. Giannis has been with Alex Saratsis for the entirety of his NBA career and only recently was Saratsis hired by Steph’s agency, headed by Jeff Austin. Giannis is with Saratsis because of the personal relationship; a large agency like Austin’s Octagon Athlete Representation won’t have any significant sway over Giannis.
This is without even mentioning all the quantum cap space physics the Warriors would have to do in order to make space for Giannis. At this point, this is a non-story. I’m sure Giannis will at least consider his options but there’s no reason to deem anyone a “threat” right now.
If I had to choose a non-Bucks team to be lead horse in the race then yeah, it’s probably the Dubs but nothing has indicated any team is ahead of Milwaukee in the Greek Freak sweepstakes. Other teams–and their stars–can make promises but Horst, Coach Bud, and The Good Land have already SHOWN Giannis how important he is to this franchise. The Bucks are Giannis and, in my opinion, Giannis is the Bucks.