Mavs’ Target Giannis On Staying With Bucks: "It Depends’

NBA trades, the draft and free agency are all happening next week, but the madness is getting a head start, as Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo seemed unsure about his future with the franchise in a recent interview. Are the Dallas Mavericks chances of pairing him with Luka Doncic rising?
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The idea of two-time reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo eventually joining Luka Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis and the Dallas Mavericks next summer is something that has been discussed and monitored at for two-and-a-half years now. It was the pipe-dream of all pipe-dreams when we were crazy enough to start talking about this just days after the Mavs acquired Doncic on draft night in 2018, and it still is to a certain extent. ... But slowly, the chances of such a thing happening have increased, with the Mavs continuing to trend in the right direction and the Bucks continuing to disappoint in the playoffs despite dominating the Eastern Conference for the last few years.

So, with the Bucks preparing to offer Antetokounmpo a super-max extension next week in hopes of keeping him off the open market next offseason, where does the 'Greek Freak' currently stand when it comes to his future in Milwaukee?

“I do not know what the plan is," said Antetokounmpo recently in an interview with the Stockholm newspaper Aftonbladet. "It depends on what decisions they make. If they make the right decision, I’ll be there for many years. If they do not, we’ll see. The NBA is business and we take it day by day. Hopefully we can succeed together.”

If you're a Milwaukee Bucks fan, those words probably aren't going to help your anxiety levels any over the course of this upcoming season. That statement from Antetokounmpo certainly doesn't sound like a guy who is going to accept that super-max offer next week, which we expected to be the case all along. In fact, it almost feels like Antetokounmpo is starting to brace Milwaukee for his potential exit, using the term 'they' instead of 'we' and throwing in the cliché 'NBA is a business' line as well.

Although the Mavs are already in 'win-now' mode - currently attempting to make significant roster upgrades next week when the league will have trades, the draft and free agency all happening within a few days of each other - this has to be music to the ears of Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson, who are sure to be 'at the front of the line' for Antetokounmpo when he becomes available, as ESPN's Brian Windhorst put it a few weeks ago.

Even if Antetokounmpo decides to leave Milwaukee next offseason, the Mavs will have a lot of competition when it comes to courting him. The Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors are believed to have a shot at him as well. Although both of those teams have a legitimate pitch to make, neither can promise the same kind of longevity that the Mavs can. That's one of the perks of having an extremely young 21-year-old First Team All-NBA and MVP candidate on your team. And Doncic's co-star, Kristaps Porzingis, is just 25-years-old. Antetokounmpo could potentially have himself a LeBron James-like run, as far as making many NBA Finals for the better part of a decade goes, if he does decide to bring his talents to Dallas.

We still have a long way to go, and there is still an entire season that has to play out before we get an even better picture of what Antetokounmpo is going to do. But for now, Antetokounmpo is non-committal to Milwaukee and taking it 'day-by-day'. The countdown clock is officially ticking for the Bucks front office.